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What I say to you depends upon who you are || Acharya Prashant (2015)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
4 min
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Questioner: Sir, sometimes you say that we are completely conditioned, and sometimes you say that I am much more than my conditioning. Why do you say both of these?

Acharya Prashant: I do not say both of these. To you, I say only one statement. Which one? Depends on who you are!

To Joe, I gave what must be given to Joe. To Jim, I give what must be given to Jim. Now, why is Joe looking at what Jim has been given? I am not giving two at all; I am giving just one depending on whether you are Joe or Jim.

If you are the conditioned one, I am saying you are nothing but conditioning; and if you are not the conditioned one, I am saying you are much more than your conditioning.

But if you are gathering both the statements then it only means that you are a collector of statements. You do not even know whether you are Joe or Jim. If you are Joe, you would simply take what Joe must take and forget. If you are Jim, you will take what is right for Jim to take and forget. How do you remember both of these? Are you accumulating knowledge?

You must have done a bit of laundry at some point, right? Maybe you do it regularly, right? You know how to clean clothes. So, you take a cloth and you put detergent over it, and you put water, and you put the entire thing into the washing machine, and then when it comes out, you dry it. Now what is this?

Firstly, you are wetting it, and then you are drying it. What is this contradiction? I do not like this contradiction. So, what I’ll do is, all these clothes that have come out of your laundry, I’ll take them, and I’ll put them back into water, and when you will come and shout, and then I’ll say, ‘Why? Just two hours back, I saw you putting a lot of clothes in water. In fact, I saw you putting these same clothes in water. Now don't be a hypocrite. You put clothes in water, it is alright, and then you do the stupidity of firstly wetting them and then drying them. Now additionally, you are cursing me when I am just repeating your action.’

It is not the same cloth. Joe has changed to Jim. How can you give Jim what was Joe’s? Or is it the same cloth? It looks like the same cloth.

If you have a running nose and you can't get the stink, it smells like the same cloth. So, go close and smell; Joe is not the same as Jim. Our man was sleeping till half an hour back, now is he the same man who was sleeping? Now when you are sleeping, I said nothing to him, now he is wide awake, and I am saying all these things.

This, he can claim stupidity: you said nothing to me when I am asleep; now that I am awake, you are saying lot of things. But what must be told to Joe should be told to Joe only; Jim is the one who is asleep. The one who is asleep, how will he listen to my words?

We make the fundamental mistake of forgetting that we are Joe and Jim together, and never together. You are both Joe and Jim, but never both at the same point in time. So, my behaviour with you and my words to you vary accordingly.

I have the greatest respect for you when you are Joe. I salute you; you are Krishna; I bow down and touch your feet. But when you are Jim, then I only have contempt for you, pure unadulterated contempt. But don't accuse me of double standards, don't say that I am inconsistent; you will get the highest respect from me and the most damning humiliation as well. It depends on who you are!

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