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Truth is not for those who want pleasure || Acharya Prashant, on Ashtavakra Gita (2019)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
10 min
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वाग्मिप्राज्ञामहोद्योगं जनं मूकजडालसम् । करोति तत्त्वबोधोऽयमतस्त्यक्तो बुभुक्षभिः ॥ १५-३॥

vāgmiprājñāmahodyogaṃ janaṃ mūkajaḍālasam । karoti tattvabodho’yamatastyakto bubhukṣabhiḥ ॥ 15-3॥

This awareness of the Truth makes an eloquent, clever and energetic man dumb, stupid and lazy, and therefore Truth is avoided by those whose aim is pleasure. || 15.3 ||

Question: Acharaya Ji, Pranaam! Please help he understand the given verse from Ashtavakra Gita.

Acharya Prashant Ji: “Truth makes the eloquent man dumb.”

Ashtavakra is saying, “Truth makes the eloquent man dumb, the clever man stupid, and the energetic man lazy. And therefore those whose aim is happiness in life, they avoid the Truth.”

If you have been eloquent, you talk too much, then Truth puts a lid on your mouth because you start seeing the foolishness of your words. You used to yak so much, and a little touch of the Truth – awestruck! What to say? The words have been stolen away. It feels stupid to express the non-sense within.

Similarly, if you have been clever, Truth makes you see how stupid your cleverness is. So you give up on cleverness. Giving up on cleverness is not stupidity. But in the eyes of the world only two states exist – cleverness, and the opposite of cleverness, the absence of cleverness, which the world calls as ‘stupidity’.

The spiritual one is certainly not clever. The Saints have said and repeated, and repeatedly emphasised that even a moron can reach there, but not a clever mind. The ones who have beliefs in their tricks, and methods, and personal wisdom, and intellectual strength are never-never going to reach there. Truth is for the innocent ones.

Similarly the one who keeps running about here and there starts seeing the futility of his effort, incessant movement ceases. In the eyes of the world, the energetic man has become lazy. He has not become lazy, he has actually become just restful. But the world does not know rest, the world will call rest as ‘laziness’, which does not mean that rest and laziness are one.

There is laziness that is very-very restless, and there is rest that looks like laziness. These two should not be conflated, they are not one.

But if you do not have discretion, then you may conflate these two. You may start talking of the relaxed person as ‘lazy’.

So when the world looks at the disappearance of eloquence, the disappearance of cleverness, and the disappearance of running around, the world says, “O, terrible! Spirituality has left this fellow totally useless. Earlier he was in fine condition. He was an impressive speaker, he was a sharp thinker, and a high achiever. Surely in fine fettle! We looked up to him.”

“But this thing called ‘Spiritual Realization’ has made him totally worthless, useless. Now he doesn’t talk too much, now he doesn’t come up with clever ideas to win the world, or gain pleasure, or prestige, or riches. And now he is not seen making frantic efforts to rise up the social ladder. He has become absolutely worthless.”

And having seen and concluded that Spirituality turns a fellow worthless, the worshippers of pleasure and happiness start abhorring spirituality even more. They were already scared of the Scriptures and the Teachers, now they may actively start hating the Scriptures and the Teachers.

They will say, “Don’t talk of Ashtavakra. I know what he did to my brother. My brother was such a nice man, and now he is of no use to anybody.”

Do you see what society wants? That you remain useful. You remain useful to?

Listeners: Society.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

And Spirituality liberates you from being a useful slave to others. Therefore the others will really dislike it when you turn spiritual.

The spiritual man is not of much worldly use to others. The fact is, that now he becomes really useful to others. But the real use is not what the world wants from you, the world wants from you a worldly use.

And the worldly use you will now refuse to provide, therefore, the world will get angry.

Questioner 1: Does it mean that he is incapable of enjoying the pleasures of life?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Yes, he is now incapable of committing himself to stupid pleasures. He now has deep and high pleasures. He now has deep and high pleasures.

Questioner 2: So, is that why Bible says, “Only those will enter the kingdom of God who are innocent like children”?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Yes.

Don’t be scared. There are pleasures beyond the pleasures. I did not speak on this to scare you away.


If the spiritual man no more cares for happiness or regular pleasures, it is now because he has a deeper and higher pleasure – a pleasure that abides, a pleasure that does not come along with displeasure, a pleasure that does not come along with sorrow.

What do you want – a small pleasure that comes along with displeasure, or a huge pleasure that comes only with itself?

What do you want – a plus one that comes with minus one, or a plus hundred that does not come with minus hundred?

Questioner 1: If it is so, then bring it on!


Question 2: Acharya Ji, I have received a lot of things, and I am grateful for them. At the same time I feel indebted because I keep on receiving. What about this ‘indebtedness’?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Settle the debt.

Questioner 2: It is like an ever increasing debt.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Settle as much as you can.

Question 3: What is the meaning of ‘real innocence’? Jesus mentioned very clearly that only those will enter the Lord’s land who are innocent like children. What kind of innocence does Jesus talk about?

Acharya Prashant Ji: You know of one guilt from the Bible. What was the guilt of Adam and Eve?

Questioner 3: They ate the apple.

Acharya Prashant Ji: If guilt is to do what Adam and Eve did, what is ‘guilt’?

Questioner 3: To take away the apple which was of no use.

Acharya Prashant Ji: To take away the apple which was of no use, and not following the instructions. So now you know what is ‘innocence’?

‘Innocence’ and ‘guilt’ are related words, right? Innocence is freedom from guilt. So, the same source from where you are quoting about ‘innocence’, also gives you the definition of ‘guilt’.

What was the guilt? To not to listen to the One, who is your father. To not to follow his instructions. To be tempted by the apple. To give more credence to the words of the snake.

And then you know what happened after the guilt? They started getting civilised. Eve demanded some designer dresses, and God came and asked, “Who taught you to wear all these clothes? I left you naked.” And then He said, “O! You have knowledge now. Now you know what is guilt.”

Avoid guilt – that is innocence. Innocent, you remain with Him. Guilty, you consider yourself as earthly beings.

They were subjected to the Earth, banished from Heaven. The innocent ones continue to remain in Heaven, the guilty ones are banished to Earth, and they think of themselves as ‘earthly beings’.

Question 4: Acharya Ji, I do not see myself as very attached to pleasures. But if they come in my way, I do not see any resistance in enjoying them. So, if I am living in a five-star hotel, it’s fine. I won’t have any resistance to it. And if I am living in a hut or something, with some other amenities, that too is perfectly fine for me.

Acharya Prashant Ji: You don’t accidentally stray into a five star hotel, do you? You are saying, “If providence brings me to a five star hotel, it is okay. And if I have to live in some rag-tag place, even then it is okay.”

Are these acts of providence, or you book your hotel two months in advance?

You choose where you would stay, and you would actually pay up for it. Is that the best use of your money? No. But you are devoting your resources to pleasure. It’s a choice, it’s not an accident.

Providence didn’t bring pleasure to you, you arranged for pleasure. But you present it as if pleasure accidentally came your way. It didn’t accidentally, you paid up for it.

Questioner 4: But I can afford it, that’s why.

Acharya Prashant Ji: The thing is that you have limited resources, and we have talked of the best use of resources.

What is the best use of one’s resources in life? Liberation.

Now, have your resources gone towards Liberation? No. You found something more appealing than Liberation, that is pleasure.

Questioner 4: I am obviously choosing.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Obviously it’s a choice. But your question, see how deceptively it presents a situation.

Questioner 4: I am just trying to understand myself.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Where could the same money have gone?

Listeners: In Liberation.

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Pleasures are hardly ever accidental. And if accidental pleasures do come to you, fine. But there are pleasures that we pay for with our life, these are very-very costly pleasures. Very costly.

The chirping of the bird is an accidental pleasure. Unexpected rain might be an accidental pleasure.

Questioner 4: So, the ‘I tendency ‘ is still attached to pleasure.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Obviously it is.

It is not merely attached to pleasure, it is also not accepting something higher in life.

That higher thing is more pleasurable than pleasure.

Come to it.

It’s an invitation!

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