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The importance of going against nature || Acharya Prashant, at SPIT Mumbai (2022)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
13 min
85 reads

Questioner(Q): Hello, sir. Today's session is on Fearless Living. So, with respect to this topic, I would like to ask you, aren't we going against nature if we try to be fearless? Because in the course of evolution, the emotion of fear has never been eliminated. Also, it helps many species in the race for survival. It also plays a huge role in avoiding wars and conflicts, not only among humans but also other among other species. So, it's nature which favors, which has planted the emotion of fear in all of us. So, in some sense, we are going against nature.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Very, very good question, lovely! A great one to begin with. What's your name?

Q: Lokesh.

AP: Lokesh. Good. Lokesh, you said fear is an evolutionary tool embedded within us. So, you're talking about the self. You're saying within me - nature, mother nature, Prakṛti has embedded this thing called fear to help us in some way.

Who are you? Who's being talked of here? Remember you are not one but two. One of you two is the body, right? The body and whatsoever Prakṛti or mother nature has given you pertains to the body, the other you is consciousness. The body as birthed by, as controlled and programmed and conditioned by Prakṛti demands survival, demands security, demands pleasure, and demands reproduction that's what the body wants.

The body of the human being as well as the body of the animal irrespective of whose body it is, the bodily needs are the same. The animal wants to sleep, you too want sleep. The animal wants food, you too want food. We are talking at the level of the body. The animal wants bodily security and comfort, you too want that and the animal's body reproduces, and your body too reproduces. So, whatsoever is there as a bodily mechanism is something animalistic. It helps but it helps only one of you two. Who are the two? First of all, I said, we are two - one is the body and the other is consciousness.

So, fear helps but helps only the body. Only the? You’ll have to be with me. (the audience in unison says “the Body”)

AP: Only the body. Fear is indeed great but for whom? for the body. So, that's the reason why all these things we find shared amongst humans and the other sentient beings animals - flies, mosquitoes, birds, and fish all experience fear. Fear is something animalistic and that does not take away from the fact that fear helps. Fear helps, but it helps the survival of the body.

But who are you? For example, if I tell you, Lokesh, right? Lokesh if I tell you, you look ugly and if I tell you - you simply mad. Which of these two is a bigger insult? If I say you are dumb or stupid, and if I say you look ugly? Which of these two is a bigger insult? Stupid, right? If I say your looks are outright bad and I say your IQ is 8.8 which of these two is a bigger humiliation? The IQ part. So, what are you? Consciousness or body? Consciousness.

Anything that relates to the body is important but far less important than anything that relates to your consciousness. So, even you make this choice without any teaching, without any guidance. Even you daily make this choice between the body and consciousness, you are actually the consciousness, not the body. So, we said, first of all, we are not one but two - the body and the consciousness.

Next, we have said that between the body and the consciousness all human beings prefer to be the consciousness. What does an animal prefer? The body. In animals, consciousness is not that greatly developed and when you go down to plants, their consciousness is even more limited. Are you getting it?

So, who are we? We are the consciousness, of course, and we are the body as well, but between these two, which one is more important? Consciousness is more important. Now so, we are two, out of these one is higher. Now, can we allow the lower one to dominate the higher one? Please tell me. If something helps the lower one but hurts the higher one, would you allow it? Please tell me.

Okay, let’s take an example. You have exams tomorrow morning, and you set up the alarm for 5 AM. The consciousness is saying, “You must get up and study”, and the body is saying, “You must keep sleeping.” Which one do you prefer? The consciousness. And If you side with the body, you regret it, right? You don't feel good. You said, “Oh! something bad I have done, the alarm rang and I still put it down” and then you wake up an hour later and you say, “Why did I do that?”

Good for the body and bad for the consciousness. You don't like it. Do you agree? Something good for the body and bad for the consciousness. You don't like it, though it is good for the body. You got an extra hour of sleep, the body is happy, very happy, had you actually woken up at 5 am? The face would have been a bit swollen and the eyes would have been a bit red and people would have asked you “Oh! Are you short of sleep?” It shows on the face, right? So, the body would have felt bad, had you woken up in time but the consciousness would have felt great and that would have shown up on your mark sheet.

So, what is good for the body but bad for consciousness is not acceptable. Do you get this? What is good for the body but bad for consciousness is not acceptable. Fear is that. Fear is something that is good for your physical survival.

Fear is an evolutionary tool that helps you live a longer life but it is not good for your consciousness. What's the point in living a long life if life is full of fear? Please tell me. What would you prefer? Living for a hundred years all afraid and insecure, doubtful, shivering, or living for just let's say, like Bhagat Singh only 23 years but bravely, stoutly like a man. What would you prefer? (Audience replies)

That’s what; because we are not animals. No animal ever prefers to be martyred. No animal would ever say “I want a short but meaningful life”. For animal body is everything.

You are a human being precisely because, for you, the body is not everything. You can overrule your body, you can dictate your body. For you, the body is just an instrument, you can use your body towards a higher purpose that's why you're a human being.

And that's why fear is such an obnoxious thing. Fear lowers consciousness and protects just the body. Fear says the body is everything, Please, please, please save yourself, save yourself. That's the reason why courage is such high quality. Because courage enables you to go against your physical nature. Remember again and again we are not animals.

So, we should not do the stuff that Prakṛti designs us to do. If that stuff lowers our consciousness. You say you know that we are products of nature. So we should follow what nature tells us. Does nature tell you to wear clothes? Does nature tell you to wear these specs or use Twitter or use a mobile phone or study engineering?

Does nature tell you any of these things? Nature will be very happy if you just go and roam about in a jungle nature is very happy and finds a mate there and procreate like animals that's all that nature wants from you, live and produce more beings that would live that's all that Prakṛti wants from you.

Prakṛti does not want you to know, be enlightened, be liberated. Prakṛti has no such objective for you. In fact, when you try for realization, knowledge, for freedom, Prakṛti is not very happy then. Don't you see how your body rebels against you when you sit down to do something important? Have you seen that? You are okay, the moment you sit down to study you start feeling drowsy. How many of you have experienced that? There was no sleepiness at all but the moment you open the book you feel like crashing on the bed, experienced that? That’s what Prakṛti wants you to do is just sleep and protect the body and keep the body happy.

Prakṛti has no intention to have you as a great one, as I realized one, as an elevated one, a free one, a liberated one. No, Prakṛti does not want any of that. That does not mean that Prakṛti is our enemy, and that does not mean that we have to assault the body. That only means that we do not have to be ruled by our bodies.

We cannot allow the body to dictate to us, to gain control over us. We cannot allow that and what do we mean by the body - you know most of the emotions that you experience are simply physical; most of the thoughts that we have are just biochemical things. If some additional chemical is injected in your body your thoughts will change. Angry people will get placated, peaceful people will suddenly erupt in anger. One injection and you can suddenly start feeling extremely violent or lustful but you will say “Oh! these are my emotions”. No, these are not your emotions, these are things of the body and we are not supposed to be slaves of the body.

So, we are not supposed to be slaves of our foolish emotions and desires because they are all bodily. Remember that what appears as desire or emotion is just a bodily thing. It is arising from your body certain emotions, for example, do not arise in you before the age of 12 or 14. Don’t you know that? Where do they come from? They are coming from chemicals and if there is an under-secretion or overproduction of those chemicals then your emotions will change accordingly. You can be made to fall in love just using one injection or one pill, you will be head over heels in love, madly in love. Why?

Some chemical affecting the? Body. Body. Body. So, these are all bodily things we are not supposed to give them too much importance, because for us among the two things, which one is more important? Consciousness. Remember, remember you are born to be liberated, you are not born to follow the commands of the body. That's not the purpose.

The body will tell you to get a lot of money, earn security for a bigger house. Don't you know? What a bigger house in the city corresponds to in the jungle. In the jungle all animals, what do they build? They have a territorial occupation, they occupy dens, they build nests and the equivalent of that is that you spend all your life trying to get a good, bigger home for yourself that is just bodily, that is not the purpose of life to have a great house.

Look at all the animals in the jungle they are all running after mates. Males are fighting for the female and females are fighting for the males, the same thing is happening among human beings also. What is this? Does this relate to consciousness or just the body? The body. Are we supposed to do that? No, that's not the purpose of life. That's not the purpose of life.

You have to be very cautious and never defend your attitudes or behaviors by saying, “Oh! these are natural.” You are not supposed to be natural. Animals are supposed to be natural. You're not supposed to be natural. Is this Auditorium a natural place, is this a cave, is this a treetop? What is it then? Ahh, it is a product of human consciousness.

So, don't keep parroting the argument but this is not natural. If this is not natural, nothing is natural. Animals don't get haircuts. Do they? Pedicures, manicures, saloons, and airports? Do animals have any of these? language? Do animals have language? Do animals brush their teeth? Then why do you keep repeating the natural argument? “Oh! this is natural. Animals do this so, we will also do this.This is natural. Animals do this.”

No animal ever washed his face, no animal ever cared for a degree, no animal ever cleared an entrance examination. Why do you keep saying I have to do what is natural? Are you an animal or what? I repeat that does not mean that you have to be anti-natural. Be careful we are not saying we have to be anti-natural, we are saying we have to rise above our physical nature. We have to utilize our thoughts and emotions and body in a way that is conducive to consciousness.

The body is not something to be beaten down. You don't have to exploit your body or torture it. That's not what we are saying, we are saying let consciousness decide the purpose, the destination. Let the Body be the tool or the vehicle. That's what you're saying is that clear? Lokesh, where are you? Is that clear? We are not animals. So, the nature argument does not work for us.

Remember you are always two. Whenever you are behaving in a certain way ask yourself, is it the animal within me or is it my consciousness? Ask. Whenever you are to make a major decision ask, what am I deciding as the animal or as a conscious entity? Who am I? That’s the most fundamental question - Am I the animal or am I consciousness? Will you remember this? Good.

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