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Mind invents dummy problems to escape looking at itself the real problem || Acharya Prashant (2014)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
21 min
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Question : I fear a student who would fully surrender and dislike a student not attentive. If both the states and anything in between are only reaffirming my ego, can the session be of any use to the student?

Acharya Prashant: Who is facing this problem? Is the student asking this question?

Right now whatever he is saying is a concept of his own mind. When he says can the session be of any use to the student, the definition of use is coming from…?

Listener : Teacher.

AP : From the mind of the teacher, right? You would regard one particular thing as useful to the student and she (addressing another listener) would regard another thing as useful to the student. You might regard that if I could get the student to laugh, it indicates that the session was useful. She might regard that if I could get the students to silence, then the session was useful.

So, when we say that my session is useful to the students then what do we mean? Whatever we will mean will be an indicator of my own life. What I think of as useful for myself that I’ll think of as useful…

L : To the student.

AP: I live in one room, which would be hardly 7 feet by 15 feet. You come to me and say, “Sir, you know what I wanted to buy a 3,500 sq feet thing. But instead of that, I could get only a 2,500 sq feet thing.” Now, will I say that you have met with a great calamity? When I am living in something which is 100 sq feet, will I feel great sympathy for you if you had to live in just 2500 sq feet?

I find money very very useful to me. All the time I am thinking of that, it features in all my mental activity and the mind is all the time calculating. So, a student comes to me and says, “Sir, you know what I could not get that higher paying job, instead I had to settle down with this average one.” Will I feel that the student has lost out on a great deal?

You do not give money a great regard and a student comes to you and says, “Sir, I cannot attend your session today because I have to prepare for that particular interview and that company pays me so much. So, that preparation is very useful to me.” You will surely allow the student to be absent from your HIDP if you yourself are money minded. If you are money minded then you will immediately feel the need to allow the student to be absent. Do you see this?

You are standing and the student says, “You know sir, they are paying so much. I need to go and prepare.” And impulsively you say, “Yes yes, go and prepare. It’s a great opportunity. Yes.” No, you do not see why you allowed him away from your class. Why did you allow him? Because to you money is important, forget about the student. Money is important to you so the moment the student says that a high paying company is coming, you immediately let the student go.

All of these are purely your own concepts. Even the problem that you have mentioned “I fear a student who would totally surrender” I am not asking whether one must fear, I am asking, do we know what is FEAR? Have we really known what is Fear, just as you don’t know what is USE? Had we really known what is fear, how could we have said that I fear surrender? We don’t know USE, we don’t know FEAR and we also don’t know SURRENDER.

And if I am afraid, will I be able to know whether there is a surrendered mind or not in front of me? What am I to do?

Forget about the student. First thing, because only in forgetting about the student can you do the student the best you can. You see, the best method that the mind finds to escape looking at its own fact is that it… Yes, complete the sentence. What is the best way to avoid looking at myself?

L : Look at someone else.

AP : Find somebody else to be occupied with. I have a student; I have a very important task; somebody’s ill in my house; something to achieve. You don’t even realize that all of these are only shrewd escapes of the mind.

See, I am asking you a question, please look at this. Answer each one of you.

“Can the false declare itself to be false?”

Will the false ever come and say, “I am false?”

Listeners : No.

AP : What is the only method for the false to survive?

L: Not to say that it is false.

AP : So, it will say that I am real, I am important, I am the Truth. Will it say “I am false, yet be attached to me?” Will it say “I am false, yet keep thinking of me?” What will it say, “I am important.”

So, all of us have something important in our life, something important. And you think that this is genuinely important. You have to think that way, otherwise, how can it remain important in your life? Are you getting it?

How can the false remain important to you, without telling you, of course falsely that I am important? Can you come up to me and say, “Sir, I am not coming to the session because I have something unimportant at home?” Will you come and say that? What will you say?

L: I have something important.

AP : So, that is the game of Maya. To give you something IMPORTANT in life. And, of course, whatever is important is false but it will not declare itself to be false. It will declare itself to be very real. It will demand all your concentration. It will say, “I am the object at which the mind should be centered, I am important. I have something important in life. There is something important, I must take care of it.” And you’ll say, “I am genuine. I am sincere about this; there is something important.” Is it important? Don’t be too sure that this is important. Is it really important ?

Nobody is wicked. Nobody is evil. It’s just that we don’t summon up our power for attention. Attention has to be called. You have to decide to be attentive. You don’t decide to be attentive because you are already sure that I know what is important in life. When you already know what is important in life then…

You are asking a question, please check your assumptions. You know what is an assumption? That which is already taken as proven. When something is already taken as proven, that becomes the foundation of all further perception. If I ask Dhavan ji (pointing to the wall) Dhavan ji what is this? What will he say?

L: Wall.

Speaker : He’ll say this is a wall. But will he say “This is a wall in my frame of reference? This is a wall because I am Mr. Dhavan?” Will he say that? No, he’ll not say that. He’ll say that this is a wall. And there is a great underlying assumption which he will not even talk of. What is that assumption?

If this is a wall, for this wall to be there something has to be there. What?

L: Eye.

AP : The perceiving personality. But, that personality is already been taken as a conclusion, as a foregone conclusion. So, he’ll not talk of this. And that is the game of Maya . You make assumptions and then you believe they are real. So, what are your assumptions in this question? What is it that you are assuming as the Truth? What is it that you are not talking of? What is it that you are not writing, just assuming and conveniently believing in it? What is the belief? Ask that. What is the belief, hidden belief?

“I fear a student who would totally surrender and dislike a student not attentive. If both the states and anything in between are only reaffirming my ego, can the session be of any use to the student?”

What are the assumptions?

L: When I am doing a class it should be, some use to the students. They should get something from it.

AP : And I know what is to be called as USE.

L: Yes, and I should be able to do that.

AP : The central point you are making is “If both the states and anything in between are only reaffirming my ego,” you are assuming that you know this. You are assuming that you are in control of this. You are assuming that you know that these are reaffirming your ego.

May I postulate something? I’ll say more than that, THIS is reaffirming the ego. That I know that these two are…

You know what? There are these dictators in countries and everybody wants to kill them just as in this room everybody becomes a sharpshooter and wants to kill the ego. The dictators in various countries — there was Saddam Hussain, there was Gaddafi — all these people are on the hit list of organizations, countries as well as the individuals they might have harmed, so they want to kill them. They are always under threat. So what do they do? The dictator, so that he may not be killed would create look-alikes. So, one Saddam Husain would have 20 Saddam Hussains walking across Iraq. And that dummy is often targeted and killed. Tha\t is a beautiful way, a very successful way of defending yourself. Create a dummy and let the dummy be targeted.

Now you know what I am going to ask.

How would the ego want to defend itself?

Name some small thing as ego and kill it and believe that ego has been killed. Now the dummy has been killed. The real thing is hiding somewhere, but you are happy. What have I done? I have killed EGO.

“You know Sir, I am greatly egoistic.”


“Sir, you know I did not use to talk properly to my driver.”

Ah! Here you are. You have identified ego and you have also confessed. So, now you are a saint. Now, today you go and share a meal with your driver and then you are free from ego.

Now, the bugger is greedy, obnoxious, vicious, hateful, insecure, accumulative, he cannot look at all these monsters in his mind. What did he find as his ego? “You know I don’t talk properly to my driver.” A dummy ego has been identified. Now, this can be easily shot down. I am such a big sinner and what is my sin? I do not talk properly to my driver.

“Ay! Talk properly to your driver and then you will be eligible for the kingdom of heaven.”

Dummy has been shot and the real one is laughing. Dummy has been conveniently shot.

*“ Sir, I am such a sinner .”*

Why? What have you done?

*“*Sir, I eat non-veg.

Ah! Great sin. Thou must repent. So what will you do from today? You will not eat any flesh.

Now this bugger drinks the blood of so many people around him. He is an exploitative employer. But he has become ego-free by giving up on animal flesh. The dummy has been shot.

*“*Sir, there is nothing in my life. It is so dry. I am living a wretched existence.


*“*Sir, I do not talk properly to my wife.

Yes! Son, you figured it out. Today evening you’ll gift a black rose to your wife and take her out for dinner. And that way you have dissolved your ego.

Now this bugger is corrupt in all ways. He is violent towards the entire world. He hoards, he kills, he terrifies. But he has identified his biggest problem as… not having dinner with the wife. Now if the problem is this, then it can be easily rectified. The dummy can be easily shot. Is this the real problem? Where are the real ones hiding? Why don’t you bring them out?

It’s like going to a brain surgeon and saying “Sir, you know there is some problem with my nail.” And he says, “Here is a nail cutter and we will trim your nails. Yes! Now the tumor in your brain has been cured. Go!” And he comes back with very nice nails. Where is the real problem? Don’t you see that by presenting dummy problems, you are only hiding the real ones?

And that is the reason why we need to have small-small-small-small problems in our life. “Today the milkman didn’t come, you know the electricity fluctuates too much, my son has got only 74%. These small problems are important, very very important.” They are important so that you never look at the REAL issue. So, that your mind is always filled with this little stuff, with these petty problems. This pettiness is needed.

“The car needs to be serviced, existential problem. One of my teeth is aching, it’s raining, my son’s diapers are still wet, how can I go to the clarity session?” These problems are so important. “Today she didn’t wish me. Oh my god! I am heartbroken.” Call the ambulance. “I haven’t shave today, great problem, what will be the result of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections? Existential crisis for me!”

But all these things are important, very important. Why? So that, that, which is deeply sick in our lives, the central rottenness that can be defended. To secure that, we create all these dummies. That is hidden like an assumption. Just as the assumption is never seen, only the words are seen. Similarly, that is never seen. So this is nothing. Identify the real question. The real problem.

Isn’t it a good tactic to fill up your mind with so much of trivia that there is no space for anything else? And you are busy and you can also get a feeling of a conqueror because if it is trivia you can probably do something about it easily. Even without any change, you can do something about the trivia.

The milkman didn’t come, you can call him up and rough him up. So, what do you feel like? “I am strong and I can solve the great problems of life. The milkman has been admonished. Yes! I am Caesar, the admonisher of all milkmen. I have solved a great problem.”

The mobile is not working. Solve this problem and feel like a winner.

I am not getting an auto. Feel deeply terrified, “Oh! there is no auto.” Feel terrified. And there is great use in feeling terrified. “I am not getting an auto” and you feel a great sense of fear. Work yourself up, psyche yourself up, auto psyching, “The heavens are about to crash down. I am not getting an auto.” And then you get an auto. How do you feel? “Yes! The great existential mystery has been solved. I have hired an auto.”

You need all these problems. Such trivia is needed, so that you may overcome it and feel like a winner. So that there is some meaning in life so that you don’t feel absolutely wretched. This is very important so that there is some meaning in life. The more you’ll be afraid, the more the occasions on which you’ll be afraid, the more will be the occasions on which you’ll be able to do something about that fear. The more will be the chance that you will feel like a full man.

*“*You know what, yesterday there was a disaster.

What was the disaster?

*“*One monkey came and he was eating my tomato. Now I bought ammunition and targeted that monkey and the monkey is gone. Now give me a Padma-Shri for that. How great I feel.

Let me give you an example, just for two hours your mobile signal is unreachable. Kundan was mentioning to me when it is said that please switch off your mobiles, many of you first message your loved ones, so-called loved ones that “You know I am switching off my mobile darling, please don’t feel insecure. After all, it’s night time and you know…”

Now for two hours, your darling is unreachable and what does it become? A great problem! And then how does it feel when you are again able to contact him after two hours? How does it feel? Great relief… Darlu is still within reach. I can still lay my hands on him. He hasn’t escaped.

Now to feel this sense of relief, what is important? What is needed? That you first must be terribly worried, there must be a problem. What is the problem? Darlu is unreachable.

So, first create a problem out of nothing and then solve it and feel good. Life is worthy. That is the mantra of living. Spend the first half of the day creating the problem, spend the second half of the day solving it. And do not see that this mind that wants to live in this escape is itself the biggest problem. Hide that like an assumption. Keep that buried. The real dictator is hiding and all the time creating dummies so that you can keep shooting the dummies and feel like a winner.

Look at that which really bothers you. Look at the core of your fear. Go to your innermost pain point. See what is it that makes you cry out without any apparent reason. Touch your innermost suffering. Only that can be true relief. Not that I am greatly happy because I got 2% discount on my new sweater. Touch your innermost suffering, not surface trivia that these days I am suffering greatly because the temperature is in the range of 15 to 19 degrees. Whenever the temperature is in this range I suffer.

This is not suffering. This is an escape.

What is the problem of problems? What is the mother problem? Can we find that out? What is the soil on which all these problems germinate, can we find that out? Or, will we keep ourselves occupied with rubbish? Yes? What is the problem of problems? Let’s go ahead, what is the problem of problems? Look at that, what is the real dictator? Not the dummy ones. Yes?

L: Our fear.

AP : Of what? What is that one mystery, which when dissolved will dissolve everything? What is that one question of consequence?

L: Ego.

AP : Then why not look at that directly? Instead of this and that, here and there and several diverse questions, why not go into that?

Mudit Ji (addressing one of the listeners), what is that? THE PROBLEM OF PROBLEMS what is that?

L: Maya . Like “I am what I am”.

AP : The person that I consider myself to be. That is the problem of problems. “The person that I consider myself to be”

L: And want to remain like that.

AP : that person will want to remain like that, not you. That person wants to remain like that. That’s his basic property.

What is the problem of problems?

Something is hiding.

What is the problem?

L: We got to be ourselves.

L2: The identities which we want to have with us all the time.

AP : And who wants to have that identity? The ataman? Who wants to have that identity?

L: The outer self.

AP : Which is itself an identity. So, an identity wants to have identity. Then what is the problem?

L: It is creating the problem, the attachment.

AP : Whose?

L: Of the identity.

AP: To the identity. Identity is attached to identity. But what is your problem?

L: We want to come out of it, but we…

AP : Who wants to come out of it? The identity?

L: I myself, the capital self.

AP : Another dummy, the capital self. This one is called the Atman Saddam (laughing) and whenever the actual Saddam is under threat the Atman Saddam says “That is the Saddam with small ‘S’. I am the Saddam with capital ‘S’. Kill me!”

What is the mother problem?

L: I think I am the mother problem. The ‘I’.

AP : Isn’t it a good funny game? Everybody is happy. You have shot down 10 dummies so that you are happy. You are happy thinking what?

L: I have done it!

AP : And Maya is also happy, why?

L: (laughing) she has also done it.

AP : Everybody is happy. It’s a good game. Win-win situation, you think you know so you are happy. Maya knows that you don’t know, so she is happy. Good game, keep feeling nice about yourself and your life.

“I was unemployed, I got a job. Yes! I solved the problem. I felt lonely, I got a wife. Yes! Solved the problem.”

Keep feeling good. You are happy, she is happy, everybody is happy. That’s why the world is like this. That’s why there is no or little possibility of change. When everybody is happy, why should there be a change? Every day you are solving problems. Every moment you are solving problems. So, everybody is happy. And the bigger a solver you are the more pride you take in yourself.

“You know there were so many challenges, I conquered them. I married off 11 daughters.” The bugger first produced 11 daughters, and then he is taking great pride in… “I am somebody who has done something in life, ask me. 11 daughters.” First of all, you are doing all the time so you get 11 daughters, then you arrange… and he’ll not say that in case of 11 sons.

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