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With your thousand other priorities, the Truth will continue to elude you || Acharya Prashant (2014)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
11 min
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Speaker: Wanting something is a question of values, right? But where do your values come from? Who has taught you what to want? And don’t we have that basic intelligence through which we can enquire whether there is any substance in that which we are wanting?

You will say something. You will say, “We have been taught since childhood that there are one thousand things more valuable than Truth, so we are wanting those things. We do not want the Truth. I have time, but I have my priorities. I will invest my time somewhere else. I cannot come to you, I cannot read, I will not write emails, I cannot write commentaries, or reports.”

“Yes, time is the same for everybody. Everybody has the same amount of time, but my priority is to invest that time somewhere else because that is what I value.” Right? It’s the direct question of values. “What do I value more? What are my priorities? What are my priorities?”

Don’t we have the basic intelligence to see that where do these priorities lead me? Where have these priorities come from? And those who follow the path of these priorities, where do they land? We all are educated – this degree, that degree – still you have other priorities? Still, you have other and more important work that you would rather want to do?

The only logic, the only excuse you have is – “I have my other priorities.” Right? Is that not so? Correct me if I am wrong. “I had other and more important work. I had other and more important obligations to keep. Something else is more valuable.”

If something else is more valuable than Truth , then better look at your values. Examine them closely. Examine them very, very closely. From where are these values coming? Who has told you what to value, and what not to?

(Referring to a group of volunteers and seekers made on WhatsApp) You see, you send me a message on that WhatsApp group, and except for the time that I am so deeply asleep that the sound of the mobile does not wake me up, you will get a reply. Not that I am jobless, not that I do not have work to do. But when I send a message, you have other and more important priorities.

Between 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. I sent three messages, and a total of three people replied. What are the other fifteen doing? They are busy with other and more important works. That’s their value system.

When buying vegetables is more important than liberation, when gossiping with the neighbour is more important than liberation, when just being caught in mental maze is more important than liberation, when watching the television is more important than replying to the shloka (verse), then you see what you are prioritising. It is your priority.

Not that somebody has more time, not that somebody’s day is longer than twenty-four hours. Everybody has exactly twenty-four hours; how you spend it is a matter of your value system. What do you value? What do you value?

When you will value Truth and Freedom as the utter Highest, then you will get them. Right now if you are not getting them, it is only because you do not value them. You are getting exactly what you value. You value gossip, you are getting a lot of gossip. You value confusion, you are getting a lot of confusion. You value suffering, you are getting a lot of that.

The day you will ‘value’ Truth, you will get it. And when you value Truth, it must show up in your being. It must show up in every action, it must show up in every decision. You cannot just go ahead and proclaim, “I value Truth more than anybody else, and then be busy with your general, daily rubbish.

“जो तू चाहे मुक्त को, छोड़ दे सब आस,

मुक्त जैसा ही हो रहे, सब कुछ तेरे पास”

(Translation: If you want liberation, then leave all desires)

Live like a liberated man, and you will have everything.

Leave everything else; know that IT is the most important thing. Commit yourself. But you will not commit yourself because you have several other more important works. You will not commit yourself.

(Referring to the HIDP sessions) One member who was with us for two, three, four years, I do not remember the exact number, said, “This semester I will not be able to take classes. I have found some other association and they are asking me to commit on Saturdays as well.” This is the depth of your commitment. What can you get? What can you get?

It’s good that this happened. The students have been given a reprieve, because if this kind of mind had gone to the classroom, it would not have been good for the students anyway.

But look at the mind, some other thing, some ‘other’ thing. Something that is more important than Kabir, something that is more important than Ashtavakra, there is something ‘else’ that is always more important. A headache is more important.

Listener 1: Sir, it feels so weird. You are saying that giving up ego will make me more blissful. But when these ‘other’ things are in front of me, they look so real, that whatever I am reading or listening to you, that all is not that real, as compared to these ‘other’ things.

For example, I was thinking that why am I dependent on other people’s opinion. And all that feels so real, that what I am reading or listening, does not feel that real. Other’s opinion seems more real than reading or listening you. There is always a fear that whatever I am understanding, whatever change is happening in me, whether it is right or not.

Speaker: What is the maximum you can lose, if you go wrong? Let us begin this way.

What is the bottom line? What is the maximum damage that can be inflicted?

Listener 1: Nervous breakdown, which is my fear.

Speaker: Have you ever had one?

Listener 1: No.

Speaker: From where has this imagination come?

Listener 1: I have seen a lot of people going through it?

Speaker: What percentage of world’s population gets a nervous breakdown?

Listener 1: I have no idea.

Speaker: Then find it out on internet. It is less than a percent. Now, you are giving so much weight-age to that one percent who get a nervous breakdown, and you are ignoring the ninety-nine percent, who never get a nervous breakdown. Why are you having such a biased attitude?

Listener 1: I have no idea.

Speaker: You need to ask yourself, instead of saying, “I have no idea.”

I was at a university, I was about to leave for one of the Learning Camps, (referring to Advait Learning Camps) I asked them to come along. And I told them that if you are prepared to come, then we will leave today itself. They did not agree at all. Why? “Sir, we may die.” Wonderful reason.

“How will you die?”

“Sir, on the hills anything can happen.” I said, “Of thousands of people, who go to the hills, how many of them do not return?”

“Sir, five hundred.”


“Are the hills so full of graveyards? First of all, go and find out the facts. What is the probability of going wrong, and so horribly wrong?”

Then they understood. Out of every one thousand people who go there, maybe one does not return. So I said, “Only point one percent probability. Now tell me that why are you aligning yourself with this point one percent probability, and ignoring the ninety-nine percent probability that you will come back. Why are you ignoring it?”

Listener 1: Why take the risk?

Speaker: What is the risk? You know, some two-three days back, we had a rainstorm in Delhi, and around twenty people died in Delhi. At the same time you were travelling to come at Advait BodhSthal to attend the Shabd-Yoga session. What do you ride, bike or what?

Listener 1: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: Half of them would have been bike-riders, and young males. Death can strike anywhere, anytime.

Listener 1: Sir, but this is not the point of logic.

Speaker: I am talking logic. I am talking probability to you – very mathematical. I am talking Mathematics to you, you are talking emotions. I am talking pure Mathematics: numbers, percentages. You are talking emotions – “What if I die? What if I die?”

We are not even reasonable. Forget about going beyond reason, we are not even reasonable. Forget about going beyond the intellect, we don’t even use the intellect properly. Forget about going beyond the logic, we do not use even logic properly.

There are some very basic questions that I ask, logical questions, to young people like you, and I do not get answers. One – What is the purpose of ‘saving’? It’s a logical question. Tell me. And when I keep bare, cold mathematical facts in front of you, then you do not have an answer. All you have is an emotional response, that – “You know, having something in the bank gives me security.” And how much exactly? I am not talking spirituality, I am talking logic and reason. And even there, you don’t have an answer.

When people talk of salaries, I again try to engage them by talking numbers. Alright, now see that how much you get. Now let us see that how much is the cost that you are paying for getting this much. Let’s monetize all your costs. Let’s look at the cost of mental engagement. Let’s look at the cost of lost life. Let’s look at the cost of getting all this rubbish into heads, by your office colleagues. Let’s look at the cost of spending two or three hours in the peak traffic. Let’s monetize all these costs, and then let’s calculate what is your effective payout.

You don’t want to talk now. I am talking logic, sense. Let’s talk. But you know, you will find a false sense of pride in claiming, that – “I earn seventy thousand.” And the fact is, that you do not even earn two thousand. The fact is that you are paying the company. The fact is – you do not earn anything. Let’s talk numbers, let’s talk logic.

And is that so difficult? Some of you are engineers, trained in mathematics at least. Apply Mathematics, if nothing else. Apply Mathematics. Why must you work? How much do you earn at the end of the day? And how much do you spend, just to maintain that job? Have you not seen that? But no one tries to calculate fairly.

You all have important priorities. No, it is nothing. It is just that we all have been so damn terrified since our childhood, that even when reason is staring at us, we dare not think. I am not talking of going beyond thought, or nirvichar (thoughtlessness), I am talking of ‘thinking’. We can’t even think straight. We are so afraid, we are all the time shivering. And that is the reason we can’t even think straight. We all are deeply, deeply afraid. Deeply afraid.

As J.Krishnamurti says, “Our minds have been tortured so much, that they have become deformed.” Since childhood, we have been tortured so much, that our minds have become permanently deformed. We do not have healthy and supple minds. We cannot see straight, we cannot think straight. The minds have been severely traumatised. That is why even the obvious is not obvious.

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