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How to make one’s parents proud?
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
9 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): Abhishek asks—and it’s very cute of him to ask—he says that “I am not at all interested, yet I want to make my parents proud.”

I am trying to see how you will make your parents proud when you are not into it and what would they be proud of?

And what is this thing called pride?

What is this entire thing that is cooking?

No interest! Still pride! And a desire to fulfil your obligations. Is there any clarity in all of this?

I am sure it is not only him, there are many others. Should I take it that when you say, that when you want to make your parents proud of you, you essentially mean that they should be happy? Can I take that?

Questioner (Q): Yes, yes!

AP: There is a basic law of existence that, you can only give what you have. And what you have, will inevitably spread to others as well. If you have conflict and confusion, you spread conflict and confusion. If you have joy, you will radiate joy. If you are violent, you spread more and more violence. In fact, others will become violent in your presence. If you are peaceful, others will also become peaceful in your presence. And hence, you are spreading peace. Now, if you are not interested, if you are dull, bored, irritated; what will you spread? Dullness, boredom and irritation. Hence what will you give to your parents? Dullness, boredom and irritation.

For you to make your parents happy, first requirement is that; you must be happy. If you are not happy, how will you give happiness to your parents? How can you suffer and yet make others happy?

But then, such has been your up-bringing and education. You have been told that one can suffer and yet give joy to others- which is impossible in life.

No! That’s not at all how existence works. A suffering man will only spread more and more sufferings. An angry man will only spread more and more anger. A free man will make others free. A slave will try to enslave others as well.

Please, get rid of this notion that you can compromise on your life and make others happy. No! You keep compromising, you’ll only have a conflict laden relationship in which there would be tension and frustration. You’ll not be of use to anybody. That’s the first part. That’s the first part.

Second part is; first part was on your faiths. Second part is about your studies. You say that ‘I’m not really interested in this course of study’, and that would be the case with many others as well. Right?

You’re not really interested in this, let me ask you then, would you be happier if you are admitted in an M.B.B.S course or B.B.A course or B.A. or a B.Sc. or a B.Com or anything?

I keep meeting students and I meet students of various disciplines; Engineering, Management, Architecture, Computer Applications, Pharmacy and it’s a consistent thing. We are not happy with what we are spreading right now. So, I ask them, “Alright! If I pick you up and put you in another campus, would you like it there?” No, you will not be happy anywhere because wherever you will go, you will carry your mind with yourself, or will you leave it behind?

Unhappiness, restlessness, boredom; they are sitting here (pointing to head) . You will leave this campus, you go to other campus, will you leave your head behind? You will carry it with you. Wherever you would go, you would still be dis-interested and restless. You would still be asking the same question, that ‘I’m not really, you know’.

Let me ask you, is there anything in life in which you are fully immersed? Is it only about the B.Tech course? Is there anything that takes you in fully? Tell me about it; sports, swimming, fine arts, creative writing, dancing, anything, anything; kite flying, ironing your clothes, polishing your shoes, anything. Nothing will be able to take you in fully. Because these are all mere activities, external activities. External activities. You’ll not be satisfied by changing the activity. You’ll not be satisfied by changing your branch or your institute or your course of study. Could that happen, you would have done that far back. You get what you deserve. Being what you are, you will remain here and being what you are, you will remain restless. If you want to get rid of your restlessness, change this (pointing to head) and how do you change this? By understanding your restlessness.

Even at this moment, some of you are fidgeting. It’s the mind that’s going about. It’s this (pointing to head) . How can you ever find interest in anything, if you do not attend to it fully? Nothing will be fully interesting to you, if you do not give yourself to it fully; if you do not come in complete contact with it.

You come to your book only when you are afraid that you will fail in the exam; only when the date-sheet is put up. How is it possible then, to attend to your book fully? You come to the institute only because there is an attendance requirement. Now, how is it possible then, to be completely present through what is going on? And then, we complain that, ‘You know- life is boring or uninteresting’ and we need fun. Life will remain boring and dull till the time you avoid coming in contact with it.

Even at this moment, I can see on the faces of many of us that we are present; they are erect and attentive, and they are giving it everything. But there are few others who are just vibrating. Obviously, they will not find this interesting. The interest lies less in that and more in this (pointing to head) . When you are completely present to something, you forget the concept of interest also. You forget whether this is interesting or not. You are so deeply immersed into it!

Tell me! When you are in the middle of solving a problem in mathematics, and you are deeply immersed into that problem and you are in the middle of the problem, are you even thinking whether it is interesting or uninteresting? Even the thought does not come. There is only the problem and there is you and there is no separation between the two. You are the problem; the problem is you. There is nothing else present. You are not thinking about lunch or dinner or friends or movie in the evening or the cricket match that’s going on the TV. The thing is there! There is only the question and you and complete contact. Then you won’t even say that ‘I’m interested’. Interest goes away because interest is just a thought, no value in it. Be fully available to life. Do not hold yourself back and life is, right now! Whatsoever is happening, it’s life!

Don’t be in thoughts and ideas about something else that will happen at some time in the future. Come in complete contact with life. But how can you come in complete contact, if you are always motivated by the desire of a result. How can you attend to that book, if you read it so that you may get marks? Now, marks are important, that book is not important. The book will remain uninteresting because the interesting thing is marks.

Look at the quality of this (pointing to head) and then you will understand. Our life is boring! Life is boring because you are living somewhere else. You are coming to the book and still thinking about the parents, that, ‘I am doing all of this, so that my parents can be proud of me’. Now, when the parents are filling up your mind, then how can that book be anything to you? How can that book mean anything? And I don’t mean that the book is important. I ask you: is there anything, any activity that you are fully available to? Just about anything. Now, if you are fully there in anything; the result would be a great excellence. I am not talking of skill; a great intrinsic excellence. You excel in music, in sports and in a thousand of those fields that society may or not value. It’s not necessary that you will be called talented, but you would know that- ‘I am excellent’.

That does not come to us because all our efforts were in search of a particular result. And the result assumes all importance. A fifty shears result, some hope in distant future and we give ourselves totally to it and lose; right now-what is real. Try living a little differently. Observe, what is going on; observe, what is going on. Would you do that? Attempt it! Would you try looking at this (pointing to head) ?


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