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So, life is sorted? || Acharya Prashant, with BITS Pilani (2022)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
7 min
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Questioner (Q): When we were studying for IIT, we used to think that everything would be sorted after getting into IIT or BITS. But it didn’t happen. Can such a thing actually happen at some point in life? Can I come to a point in my life where I can say that now my life is sorted? What are your views on this?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Forget my views. Do you want to take the truth?

Q: Yeah, I want to know the truth.

AP: The truth, as in the proverb, is bitter. The truth is that life can never be ultimately sorted. And if you can live with this realization, then you are realized. At no point does life become sorted. If you are too fond of being sorted, then you belong to the grave. That is where there are no matters, no affairs, no quandaries, no tussles, and no suffering. As long as you are breathing, there still remains a job to be done. The thing is, the job will still remain to be done even after you are not breathing.

Life is never going to be finally sorted. Don’t ever try to fool yourself or console yourself—that is what we call as the fool’s paradise, no? 'Finally I have arrived. Finally everything is sorted. And if my life is not sorted, I want to convince myself that there have been others at least who have been fully sorted, and their example emboldens me to think that, on their lines, I too might become totally sorted one day.'

There has never, ever been anybody hundred percent sorted. There are always challenges, and those challenges arise from the body itself. Yes, you can continue to be a winner against yourself, but the battle will never be conclusively won. Your enemy is within you. As long as you are alive, the enemy is alive. How can you say you have had a final victory?

And the enemy feeds on your own energy, so the enemy will find new and newer ways to raise its head. That is called Maya . You can never be a definite winner. You can continue dodging her, you can continue beating her, you can have a favorable score line, but you can never say, 'I have blanked her out.'

Now, learn to revel in this situation. The situation is called life. In this situation, you would continuously be living against adversity. Learn to flourish in this situation. Learn to smile in your pain. Learn to not surrender even in your defeats—and defeats there will be plenty. Let no utopia make a fool of you. That cherished day, that golden day is never going to come. But the day you can make the most of is today. You may never have a final victory, but you can have a good battle every day, and that is not a bad deal at all.

So, instead of asking for a final victory, shift your desire. Start asking for a good battle, battles that allow you to say, even in your pain, even as you are wincing, even when you are in your blood, 'This one was good!' It just gave you a big nasty one right under your ear, right on your cheek, and you are able to say, 'This one was good!'—that is the maximum you can ask for. No victory will ever be final.

Yeah, you are right. When you were writing the JEE, you thought that was the ultimate thing. When you laid your hands on her for the first time, you thought that was the ultimate thing—or things, rather. All that evaporates in no time. You know that, right?

Q: What kind of skills should we possess to be able to still smile in that situation?

AP: No skill will allow you to smile even in defeat. What you need is a heart. In fact, the more skills you have, the more deflated you are likely to feel when defeated: 'I had so many skills but I still lost.' So, skills won’t help; the heart will help. And the heart is not defeated if it is in love. Life can be lived only in the purest kind of love; otherwise, it is unbearable. Those battles, those bloody defeats, all of those can be tolerated only if you are in love; otherwise, you will quit. You will just quit.

And quitting does not mean, by the way, physical death. Quitting means living the life of a loser, and internally you know that. Externally, you might walk around with your head held high, with money and all those things; they come cheap. They are very easy to have. Internally, you would be broken, finished. No point living like that.

Have a love, I repeat, worth dying for. Have something so tremendous to love that you remain invigorated even if you do not reach that thing, that point, that spot. In the cheap kind of love, you want attainment.

Q: So, that love could be with our parents or with God, but that love should be strong enough? Can we have that kind of love for our parents?

AP: You will know all of that if you allow me to, you know… And I lost it. That is how subtle that love is; it doesn’t tolerate nonsense. And I will now take a few minutes to go back to that point from where it comes. I am, in one way, displaying to you the nature of that thing. That thing is extremely subtle, and that is the only thing you can live for.

I heard you saying 'can we have that kind of love for parents' and all that. I don’t want to falsely encourage you. No, that kind of love is not something you have for your parents or somebody. Parents are just too small to be worthy recipients of that love. It is something else.

I do not expect you to get all of it right now. You are a second or third year student; I really do not expect you to just absorb all of it right now. It won’t happen. But still, I am very consciously saying these things to you. Let them remain with you even if you do not fully understand them today. Just their presence with you, just these words, will mean something. And slowly the words will have effect, and it will take several years before you come to even partially realize what is happening right now. But still, in the course of these years, you will find yourself helped.

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