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Unconditional Freedom || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
12 min
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Speaker: The reason why people get in love with their conditioning, they get totally attached to their slavery; the reasons are simple, they have developed an identification with that; family, society, nation, I have developed such a deep identification with that, that today if someone comes and shows their falseness, the ego gets hurt. Ego is my accumulated identities. It gets hurt, it feels bad.

“Have I been a fool all my life?”

How does it matter, may be you have been, but you have a life to live. As I said, you are young. You see, this happens to everyone. When you are born, you are pretty helpless, you are given a religion and you never asked for it. And, do you see how much your religion shapes your life? You have been given a set of beliefs, you didn’t ask for it, and what can you do. You are sure being exploited. To fill a child’s mind with beliefs is the greatest exploitation that can be done to the child but every society does that, every family does that. And then you go into a school and you are very small. You cannot do much. You do not decide the content of your text books, what do they tell you. Your brain is still not ripe, you are still small, so, you can’t discriminate. The brain is the seed of intelligence, because the brain is not yet physically mature so, the capability to be fully intelligent is not there with you. And so many things are inserted in your mind, which was alright. It is with everybody as I said. It happens with everybody, but today, you are not a small kid. Today, you can wake up, open your eyes and look at all that in your own intelligence. The hindrance to that is, you may have developed identifications. You may have been told that the false is true. You may have found that the basis of your relationships itself is false and you can’t bear that. That happens, with some people. But a deep slavery only means that the need to be free is even more. A deep disease means that you need even greater treatment. It does not mean that you should avoid treatment. Are you getting it?

Student: Sir, can someone be attentive? Is there a way?

Speaker: Yes, there is a way. We said intelligence is the capacity to observe. All of us surely have the capacity to observe our thoughts. When random thoughts come, they can be observed. The moment you observe them, this observation itself opens the door of attention. Attention is something available to you. You need not run after it. You just observe the opposite of that when it is happening. Catch yourself when you are gossiping, catch yourself when your mind is randomly wandering. This act of catching itself is attention. So, saying how can I get attention is not a good way of putting a question. A better way is, how can I get rid of the enemies of attention. Now, is that clear?

Look at the situation that creates disturbance in your mind, that creates repulse in your mind. You at your friend circle for an example. Does that facilitate attention or are they enemies of your attention? In their presence are you able to look at things more clearly or they make you all the more unconscious? Are you getting it? Look at your daily routine and identify the elements that have a disquieting effect on the mind. If you know that in a particular situation your mind loses its calmness then you know that this situation is to be avoided. Till the time I gain so much depth that no situation is able to dominate me. Then its alright. You see you look at a man who is not very strong, whose immunity is not very strong. What does he need to do? He needs to scrupulously avoid every single germ. But after he has gained health he need not avoid. Then, whatever attacks him, his immunity is strong enough to take care of it. Today you are in a situation where you need to avoid situations. Slowly you will find that your attention has gained such a depth that it does not matter whether you are in the market place or on the sports ground or anywhere. You are able to retain your understanding. Then roam around freely. Then you do not need to bother about where to go and what not to do. But to start with, this is what you need to take care of. See what you are reading, see what you are visiting on the net, see whether it gives you calmness, whether it takes you inwards, whether it helps you understand your mind or it takes away your mind all the more. We said all conditioning comes from outside, right? And if the mind is constantly been attracted to the outside it only means, invitation to more conditioning. Freedom from conditioning comes from the mind looking at its own process, very sharply, very attentively. The more the mind is attracted to any object outside, the more it is susceptible to being conditioned. In other words, those objects that pull the mind towards themselves are the ones that are going to condition it, are the ones that are going to make it further unconscious.

Are you getting it?

See what is it that keeps pulling your mind. And when it is and under what circumstances the mind becomes introspective, reflective, goes inwards, within. Whenever you come across a person who helps you go within then realise that this fellow deserves to be a friend. Whenever you come across someone who constantly takes you outside to some object or the other; a place, a time, a person, a movie, a thought, a desire of the future, if you are surrounded by such people then they really are your enemies. Get rid of them. For your own sake. You do not have to go and beg for intelligence. It is there with you, you are that. You just find out, what is it that prevents your attention, blocks your attention. Intelligence is not a skill that you will acquire. It is not knowledge that you will read of in some book. You already have it. It is just that there are some barriers that you have developed. Identify those barriers and get rid of them.

Now, that will initially hurt a little because you have developed attachments with those barriers. You have started liking poison. You could not have remained conditioned, had you not grown fond of conditioning. Isn’t it obvious? So, initially it may be a little painful. Just initially. And then you will fly. Scary? Difficult? Unachievable? Or, just simple, obvious? Just there, effortless. Someone said:

“You have nothing to lose except your chains.”

Do not behave as if something great has been taken away from you. You have nothing to lose except your slavery. And, if you continue to be slave, it doesn’t matter whether you are a 9 pointer or a 10 pointer. In the eyes of existence, you are a loser. In the eyes of existence you are a big wastage. Doesn’t matter whether you settle in Bangalore or California, life will laugh at you. Doesn’t matter how big your bank balance would be, in the eyes of life you will be a beggar who wasted 60-80 years of his life. You may have a few certificates with you, this degree from here, this from there, but all that will be of no avail.

You are living in a super charged atmosphere. I know this campus. Everyone is talking of achievement, all the time all the sounds from all around are talking of getting, getting & getting. So its difficult. There is a great wave and you are carried along with it. And you do not know what to do. You do not even realise that you are carried along. You think that this is the norm of life. Everyone is carried along, everyone is behaving like this, everyone is holding these thoughts; so this must be the truth, this must be the only way possible of living.

No, even if a million people claim rubbish to be the truth, it can not become the truth. The truth is something you find out in your own intelligence. And it is visible, it is obvious.

If it makes you jealous and competitive, it can not be the truth.If it makes you insecure, it can not be the truth.If it makes you lost in the future, it can not be the truth.If it doesn’t give a love for the present moment, it can not be the truth.If you are distracted, it can’t be the truth.If you are scared, it can’t be the truth.If you are hiding, it can’t be the truth.

Why spend your life in lies? Look at the people around, look at the environment around. What do you find?

If you find a race to be achieved, it can’t be the truth.

Because what does a race for happiness mean; that you are deeply unhappy. Of course, it can’t be the truth. Just because everyone is doing it, don’t fall prey to it.

Solving a problem of simple harmonic motion doesn’t mean you are intelligent. The ability to look at your own life, the world around you and understand it without prejudices; that is what is intelligence.

But you will be afraid. You will be afraid because that would mean being an individual, not being a part of the crowd. Crowd is mad; absolutely mad. And you are afraid to be an individual. You want to hide away somewhere. The crowd is behaving in a particular way, they are all rushing and racing and this and that. Likes and interests, what we started with, is what the crowd chasing, and I am terrified, how can I not be a part of the crowd? Today I have an identity, I am a part of this crowd. How dare I be an individual? Of course, initially there will be a little bit of fear but soon the fear will vapourise. People may start calling you a little mad, your friends may not be very happy with you, your parents may say what’s wrong with my son, but you will know within that this is the way it is ought to be.

You will see the truth and you will see the falseness around. You will not be carried away by what the newspapers write, by what the TV channels show you, by all the drums that the society keeps beating, you will not be influenced by whether people respect you or don’t respect you. You will not be a slave to their opinions. You will not be slave to their respect either.

Dangerous, too dangerous!

And you will be pulled back to your ways. Those who were your masters will not allow the slave to escape away so easily. What does a master do when the slave runs away? The master does everything possible to pull the slave back. So, the moment your masters see that you are escaping from their grip, they will do everything to pull you back. Tears and sentiments will flow. You will be accused of being irresponsible. Even physical force may be applied. Financial aid may be cut off, respectability may be taken away. And you will be under a lot of pressure. But that pressure will tell you that you are right.

That pressure will tell you that “I am right”.

This is their true face. They indeed were acting like my masters. Otherwise they wouldn’t have really tried to keep me chained. Those of you who want to test whether you are living as free individuals, do this. Try to escape from your masters, and just see what your masters will do. And everybody is your master. Anybody who can influence you is your master. All your friends are your masters, your family members are your masters.

Try to escape. Let’s see what happens. See how the masters behave. Such a useful slave, he is running away. Catch him!

Freedom from conditioning is freedom from masters.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

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