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You are surely the Best || (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
53 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): Abhay said that there is a feeling, a strange feeling, he does not probably know the origin of it. But the feeling nevertheless is, and the feeling says, ‘I am the best, Abhay is the best’, that's what the feeling says. And because of what the feeling says, he feels entitled. For if I'm the best, must I not expect respect and special treatment from others? That's the situation Abhay has brought to us, let’s look into it.

Abhay, one is indeed the best, there is no doubt about it. But the dimension in which you are the best is the dimension of non-duality. In that realm, in that dimension, you are the best without a second. Unarguably, indubitably, you are the best. But you are the best, without a second.

Eko-aham-dvitiyo-naasti (एको अहं द्वितीयो नास्ति)

When you are the only one in that dimension and there is nobody else, there is no question of you being inferior. So, you are the best. But you are the best one who is incomparably best and if he's incomparably best, it actually means that there is nobody to compare the best one with. There is only the one, so the one is the best one. Why call anything less than the best, for there is only, the one?

In that realm, there exists no meanness, no scope for improvement, no imperfection. And as we said, you are second to no one in that realm. Nobody can show you down. And you don't need to look up to anybody, for there is nobody to look up to.

You are fully entitled and authorized to take yourself as the best if you are abiding in the non-dual realm. Now my question to you is, honestly, is it in that realm that you abide?

If that's where you live, go ahead and declare to everybody that you are the best. But that declaration will be difficult because there is nobody except you. In that realm, there is nobody except you. See, you will find, announcing it to the world, a little difficult. Why? Because a world will be difficult to find. There's only the Truth. Getting it?

Each of us is manifestly brilliant, each of us is not only the best, it would be an understatement to say that we are just marginally better than the second-best, we are incomparably better.

But the use of the word 'better' brings in comparison, that's where there is a bit of a problem because to compare you must have two, in that realm, there is no two-ness. So, how would you compare? So, the word incomparable assumes a totally new meaning in that dimension.

In this universe of ours, when we say something, or somebody is incomparable. What do we mean? That he is greatly better than the next one or the rest of all. But in that dimension, when we say that the one is incomparable, then it has a tricky meaning. What does that mean? There is no one, so, how would you compare, hence, you are incomparable. Go ahead, do reside there, for that is your real home anyway. Live there and then you are incomparable.

Live there and then say, "I need not look at anybody else. There is no black, no white; no high, no low; no day, no night; no teacher, no student. No change is needed, for no change is possible. How can the total change into something else?"

But to say all these things, you first need to have a passport of that country, that country in which the sun never sets because the sun never rises. It’s a strange country. That country in which the sun is never clouded because there is no sky.

Kabir Saheb sings so vividly of that country, sometimes he calls that country as Amarpur. Sometimes he calls that country as his des (country), his own native land. But that is the place.

Questioner (Q): Sometimes he says, ‘ Sai ki nigari, param ati sundar ’...

AP: ...‘ Jaha koi avey na javey

Sai ki Nagarī, param ati sundar, Jaha koi avey na javey.

Nobody comes there and nobody goes from there, nobody leaves, because there is nobody there. That land is our motherland. We are actually residents of that country alone. It is a trick of times. It is a ploy of Māyā that we have come to hold passports of various nationalities. Otherwise only that is the true land. If you really can say that you belong there, then you can unflinchingly say that you are already the best and incomparably the best.

But ask yourself, do you live there? Most of us live in the world of relatives. We do not live in the world, absolute. We live in the dualistic world, where everything is in comparison to everything else. Where everything depends on everything else. Where everything has an opposite. Where everything has a limit or boundary. Where everything is prone to the vagaries of time.

In this world, Abhay, first of all, best-ness is not possible and secondly, best-ness is not meaningful, I'll explain both. In our world best-ness is not possible because you can never have knowledge of the entire world. How do you know that you are the best? How do you know that somewhere in space is not somebody better than you?

And if at this moment of time, there is nobody better than you. How do you know, that in the unending stretch of time nobody is going to arise to be better than you or that nobody whose name has been erased by the passage of time has not already been better than you? You cannot be sure.

After all, in the world of relatives, everything is limited and therefore quantifiable. You can express it in numbers, everything that is measurable can be expressed in numbers. And it doesn't take much to exceed a number, or does it? Just say plus one. You might be standing at a thousand and calling yourself the best. All that is needed is a plus one and you are no more the best.

In fact, you cannot even be sure that your current and assumed best-ness will not be exceeded by nobody other than you in the future. What is the point in calling yourself best? It is very difficult to factually ascertain it. In fact, if you will go to the facts, you will find that the facts are screaming again and again that you are not the best. The facts are yelling out loudly in your face that you are not the best.

In the world of duality, comparison is always possible. The world of duality is the world in which you only have balances. Measure one thing against the other. In fact, nothing can have a measure if it is not balanced against something else. So, your best-ness or your assumed and claimed best-ness, does not hold much factual ground. Upon rigorous questioning, upon any kind of serious investigation, it would be demonstrated that your claim is hollow.

And now I come to why the kind of best-ness you talk of, is insignificant as well, meaningless as well. Look at those who are accepted in history as the best. They might have been based in a particular field, so what? Did they get what they wanted to get? Did they get what they set out to get?

The richest man in history, to you he looks big, standing from a distance, you say, he is big and the best. But go and ask him, does he have what he wants to have? He probably has what you want to have. He has what you want to have, a lot of money. But does he have what he wants to have? So even if you are the best, how does it matter? In your own eyes in your own world, you are still poor and starving.

We all know of that oft-repeated fable concerning Diogenes and Alexander, right? So, Alexander is setting out on another project to add to his riches, another expedition, invasion on lands unconquered so far. And he meets Diogenes. And Diogenes, the naked, eccentric Saint is coolly relaxing by the riverside, and it’s winter, so he's enjoying the sun. Alexander, it is said, had a lot of respect for Diogenes. And he's proceeding for an important mission.

He sees Diogenes, he comes to Diogenes and says, “Now I am going to conquer new lands. Do you want me to bring anything for you from there?” Diogenes says, “What can you give me, poor man? I have the river, the land, and the sun, and I'm enjoying. By the way, move aside a little, you are blocking the sun."

Alexander already knew that this man is a bit off center, and that's why he respected him. Alexander says, “But don’t you think it is important to conquer, to experience, to improve, to add?” Diogenes asks, “What would all that give you?” Alexander gives a long winding reply at the end of which comes the word, peace.

Diogenes asks, “What would all your conquest give you?” Alexander gives a long reply, and at the end of the reply he says, "It would give me peace." Diogenes lets out a huge roar, the laughter of a Saint, and says, “That peace I already have. And you will go and conquer Persia and India and then you have that peace.”

Alexander says, “I know what you're saying and something within me fully agrees and admits. But nevertheless, I must go. But I promise you one thing once I'm done with this contest, I'll meet you. Not only will I meet you. I will relax by you, by this riverside. I envy the way you are, carefree, relaxed, light, innocent, and playful as a child. Let me just return from my expedition, I'll be by your side.”

History has it that Alexander could not return alive from his expedition. By the time he reached his native place, he was very-very sick. I don't know whether he actually said this, but the fable says that, Alexander ordered, that when his dead body passes through the city, then its hands should remain exposed to the public, the arms that is. The arms are exposed, and the hands are open.

Hands open, fingers spread out like that of a beggar. Where is Diogenes? Diogenes is in Kabir Saheb’s Amarpur. He is already there. He's already the best. And even Alexander accepts that.

All your efforts cannot take you there, but you can simply reach there. In the world, in which you have confined yourself. The world that you are identified with. Firstly, it will not give you great opportunities to be even relatively best. And secondly, even if you are proven to be relatively best, for a period of time, in a particular space, in a particular land, your best-ness amounts to nothing.

Where are the best of Kings? Where are even the best of Saints? Every walk of human life has had its outstanding performers, so what? We know of brilliant poets who committed suicide. For you they are brilliant, in their own world, they are miserable.

We know of millionaires and billionaires, who led stinking lives. In fact, most of them do. So it is not about being the best in your personal dimension. Here we said, firstly, it requires a lot to be even a shallow best, even lay a claim to being the best. And secondly, even if, let’s admit that you are the best, that doesn't get you much. Instead, change the game, change the very dimension in which you live.

Living in the right dimension brings you a great benefit. The benefit is that you will not be inferior to anybody anymore. But that benefit is also the reason why people do not want to go to that dimension. Please understand, if you are not inferior to somebody. You also cannot say that you are superior to somebody and the Ego lives in such an inferiority complex that it always wants to claim superiority.

In the Amarpur dimension, surely inferiority does not exist, but then superiority too does not exist. So one does not like that dimension. One says, "What is the point? I cannot boast off here. I cannot tell anybody, 'You're the small one, I'm the big one'."

And if the Ego is bigger than somebody, it takes pride. If the Ego feels smaller than somebody, it takes that as a project, as a challenge, as a purpose and the Ego needs both pride and purpose.

By moving into the dimension of no comparison. You are robbing the Ego of both ‒ pride of superiority and purpose of improvement.

The Ego can't even get hurt there, and the Ego loves hurt. When there is nobody else, how do you get hurt? And when you are already the best, what you get hurt about, there is nothing to get hurt about. Are you getting this?

In the zone of the body and the mind, everything is measurable. And therefore, everything is prone to inferiority. If you live in this zone, you would constantly be swinging between inferiority and superiority, hurt and pride, purpose, and failure. Because after all, in our dimension, as we had said a while back, everything is a number. And there are numbers smaller than every number and there are numbers bigger than every number. You can never reach a number that is the smallest and you can never reach a number that is the biggest. Show me which is the biggest number, all I need is a plus one to defeat you.

And life loves having hearty laughs at our expense. Whenever you come up with something big, all that life does is, plus one. Do whatever you want to do, there would be a plus one somewhere. Getting it?

You can't even be the worst, you know, forget about being the best. Even the luxury and pride of being the worst is not granted to you. Life can also do a minus one. So you cannot say that you are a topper in any extreme. Why unnecessarily move around all puffed up in this zone, it is nonsensical. You spend your life comparing and comparing. And trying to reach the absolute best-ness, which is not possible in this zone.

Q2: Acharya Ji, I have a question, we are all living in a world where we are just in this zone. People don’t have the choice to be in that other world.

AP: That choice is always there. Right now, as you are listening to me, are you comparing yourself against him? Don’t you have a choice? And we might have some fiercely competitive spirit here, very eager to know whether her retention of my words is higher or lower than the neighbour’s retention. You have a choice; you have a choice to either listen to me absolutely or listen to me in a relative way.

"Listening to Acharya Ji, I gathered 50 MB of data!" Everything is numerical, you see. "And my neighbour gathered 48 MB, so I am superior. And if I can prove that 50MB is the largest number that anybody in this gathering has managed, then I am the best." It’s possible a little rat might be gathering 52 MB.

Q2: But it’s a personal relationship between the teacher and the student here.

AP: Yes.

Q2: If you look at it from my perspective right now, these people are non-existent because I have come to listen to you.

AP: But aren’t they present?

Q2: And you are not imposing any expectation on me to gather their entire data and measure it, how much of your words I am gathering. You are not imposing any pressure. But in a society when a child is born, immediately the parents start imposing pressure because they want the child to fit in the society.

AP: Why do they do it, why? Is that necessary?

Q2: It is unnecessary from my perspective. But,

AP: So, there is a choice.

Q2: But, I will be a misfit then.

AP: You have a choice to start fitting in again.

Q2: But I am not enjoying that process.

AP: If you're not enjoying, you have a choice to opt-out. Don't you have a choice to opt-out of a process you are not enjoying? Don't you have a choice? You are wearing clothes that are just too tight on you, misfitting clothes. Don't you have a choice to give them up? Don't you have a choice to get out? For the sake of social obligation, would you keep wearing 34 when you are 38? If that be the social norm, would you abide by it? I'm asking, please, if the social norm happens to be 34 and you are 38, would you keep obliging the norms?

Q2: We are trying to do that in this world.

AP: You have a choice. We said, yesterday. Didn't we? Helplessness. What did we say about helplessness yesterday? Helplessness is a fraud, nobody is helpless, we all have a choice. “Majburi ka bhana nhi bnana” .

Helplessness does not exist. In fact, you have a choice even in accepting helplessness. You accept that you are helpless now. So deep and so innate is your freedom that you can never cease to have a choice. You can never cease to have a choice. So never say that you are helpless or in bondage or poor or miserable or powerless. If you are all that then it's no point talking.

The fan is truly helpless, this camera is truly helpless. The moment I switch something off here, it will have to oblige, it will have to obey my command. Let's try, let's see whether with all its might, can it refuse to be switched off. I hope this is the right button. We don’t want the experiment to fail. (Pressing the switch on his side. The fan turns off.)

Fixed match but nevertheless, the experiment has succeeded. (Pointing to the fan) This is called helplessness. Somebody outside of it pushed a button and it had no choice but to oblige and obey and confirm. This is helplessness, you are not helpless.

Even when you obey, you do it out of your free will. It's just that your free will is often a misdirected will. The freedom that we are blessed with is often misused. But freedom is our innate nature, your freedom can never go away. Never say that you're so deep in slavery that you cannot even conceive of Freedom, it is impossible. You don't even need to conceive Freedom; you and Freedom are synonymous.

Q2: But there is something called living up to the expectation of loved ones.

AP: Yes, there is something called foolishness as well, so?

Q2: But, if you love that person, you live up to the expectations.

AP: Would your lover impose expectations upon you? What kind of lover is that? We talked of love at length yesterday, didn't we? We said we are perpetual lovers, but we are loving the wrong ones. Lovers we all are, but we are blind lovers. Love is a continuity, love always exists. It's an unending stream in the heart. But the mind has to direct that stream and the mind is a fool. The mind often misdirects it. Love that should flow only towards the one, Truth, often starts flowing towards undeserving objects, and then one suffers. Love that puts you in chains is no love at all. It is rather the opposite of love.

Know your lover by the freedom he or she accords you. The one who says, "I love you" and yet puts you in chains is your enemy. And if your enemy breaks your chains and rids you of your slavery, then that enemy is your lover. I must say that because often our lovers appear like the greatest enemies; such is our great intellect.

The true lover often appears like a great enemy. So, it's not about the nomenclature. It's about the effect that the company of that person has upon you. In the company of that person, are you truer? Are you freer? In the company of that person, are you more of the Truth? Are you more free? Or does the company of that person bind you, chain you? What does that company do? When you return from here, there is one thing that you must not return with, and that is the feeling of being disempowered.

I consider suicide mostly a cowardly thing. But as the most extreme step, I even ask sometimes, if life is so very harsh upon you, as you are describing, don't you have a choice to at least commit suicide? If you say that, you are continuing to live a harsh life, then it is a deliberate choice. You want to bear the harshness.

Chandra Shekhar Azad was very clear, "I do not want to bear being imprisoned by the British." He's in Allahabad and he has been besieged, the central power, and there is firing. And he finds that all his ammunition is now exhausted. He is left with but one bullet. He has a choice; he has a choice, and remember that he is a young man; young, handsome, powerful, smart, intelligent man. He's really had a life to live, really. He was a very beautiful person. But he says, "I don’t choose captivity." It's a choice. I don't choose captivity. What do I rather choose? He fought till the last bullet and reserved the last one for himself.

And then I meet people, who keep on saying, "What do I do? Life is bad and we don't have any control over situations and destiny is too harsh upon me!"

Q3: Sir, the way we have been brought up, the conditioning, we have gone through this and we have a direct fear and greed system brought in. Now that we are able to see that and like I am feeling a bit uncomfortable with the system, even when I am drawing it as I do it consciously, but many times I get stuck, like for example, where I was working earlier it was the reward system that, you know, somehow I have to complete this in the scheduled time. It should not be washed over time and was making me run. But now the moment I move the whole fear and greed, sometimes I feel lost in the system. There are a set of people who are highly political.

AP: But you have just said that you have removed fear and greed.

Q3: Still it has not gone completely.

AP: So it has not gone. So you are afraid of being lost, it’s not that you have removed fear and greed. If upon the removal of fear and greed you feel lost, and you do not like to feel lost, that means you feel afraid when you feel lost.

You see, you might have been brought up in any particular way, but the way man's consciousness operates is like this: every moment we make an assessment of what is good or bad for us, that assessment is continuous and subliminal. We do not consciously know that assessment is happening.

Sometimes the assessment is in the zone of the illumined consciousness. You sit down and do the appraisal, the calculations. Mostly that calculation happens below the surface, subliminally. We do not know that we are making a calculation, but we are always calculating. Either the superficial consciousness calculates, or the subconscious calculates. But a decision-making process is always going on. The decision-making process ultimately asks for just two final variables to compare - a plus and a minus.

Plus indicates what will I get. Minus indicates what will I lose. And then there are various choices available. One sees the plus and minus attached to each of them. And wherever the plus is the highest or the minus is the lowest, one moves towards that.

Problems in this process of calculation happen in many ways, the first problem is, one does not know what is plus and what is minus. Do we really know what is in our true self-interest? In other words, we are not truly selfish. We do not know what is a plus.

Go and ask a drunkard and he is likely to tell you that alcohol is a plus. Go and ask a truant school kid running, absconding from the classes, and he will say, the classes are a minus. So we do not know what is truly plus and truly minus. And on top of that, each of us considers himself smart enough and assumes that he knows what is plus and minus. The alcoholic and the absconding school guy, both will remain confident that they really know what is plus and what is minus for them. Aren’t they confident?

Each of us lives like a king or queen of his or her personal universe. We believe that we know what is good or bad for us. We have great confidence in our assessments of ourselves, is that not true? So plus and minus are not known. Why are they not known? Because we do not know who we are.

If the cow considers itself a lion, she will say that flesh is a big plus. But the fact is that if the cow gets some meat to eat, she will develop the mad cow disease. The cow does not know who she is, so the cow is saying - grass is minus and meat is plus. Do we know who we are? Because we do not know who we are, so our pluses and minuses are all very confused.

The jaundice patient is running towards the pickle. Ask him, "Why do you want a pickle?" And he says, "Because pickle is a big plus." Right now, we can scoff at these things. Right now, we can look at them as aberrations. Right now, we can consider the subjects of our stories as fools, but the fact is that it is happening in everybody's life. Each of us is his or her own Guru. Each of us believes that we are our own best friend. In short, each of us thinks that we know.

Man's biggest assumption is, 'I know'. Whereas the fact is, that man does not know. Because we do not know ourselves, how will we know what is good or bad for us? What is a plus or a minus for us? Secondly, pluses and minuses are a long trail, they are a long trail. It's like getting the house today but paying the EMI for 20 years. And man is biologically conditioned to give much more weightage to that which is recent. Even in the management jargon, it is called the recency effect.

If there are certain gratifications that are immediate and the price to be paid for them is far removed in the future then you will give disproportionate weightage to immediate gratification. You will say, "Be gratified today, consume today, be happy today, we will see about the price when we come to it." Does that not happen?

Like credit cards and EMIs, so many things. So our calculations are way off the mark. Do not say that we do not choose, we do choose. Instead, it would be better to say that we choose badly, we are bad decision-makers. We are bad decision-makers because firstly, we do not know who we are. The cow is thinking of herself as the lion and is therefore chasing the elephant to kill it and have the meat.

The little rat has been told that it is the cat. And now, what is it trying? It is chasing big mice to kill and eat them. We all are pretenders. Rats, little rats chasing big mice because they think that they are cats, burly cats.

Q4: If I try to find who I am, it will take years to find.

AP: No, why should it take so long?

Q: How to assess? It’s like an internal assessment.

AP: Doesn't your daily life tell you who you are? You are what you are right now, simple. Who am I, is the easiest question to answer, provided, you don't want to pretend. And when I say, who am I is the easiest question to answer but the answer is not Atman. The answer is not true self or Truth.

All the time if you are behaving like a woman, then who are you? A woman, full stop. All the time if you're living in greed, then who are you? A greedy person, full stop. All the time if you are fearful, then who are you? The afraid one, full stop.

Why is it such a greatly difficult and mystical question to answer, "Who am I?" Living as you are, do you have any right to claim that you are the pristine, untouched, uncorrupted Truth? But we like to do that, don't we?

Q5: I feel many things. As a woman I...

AP: Whenever you are feeling one thing you are that thing, your identity changes the next moment. That is another thing about us, we are not one thing, we are many things, and we keep changing with the climate.

The weather changes and so do we. Right now, it's sunny, and I am irritated because I am sweating. So, who am I? The irritated one. And then, in comes a cloud and covers the sun and a gentle breeze starts blowing and now I am happy; who am I? Happy one. Such are we. Everything affects and changes us; our identities are not stable at all.

In front of the husband, we are the wife. In front of the boss, we are the employee. Or are you a wife in front of the boss also? Could be a bit scandalous. Our identities have no base, no grounding, they have no roots. They are extremely fickle. Because we do not know who we are, so like a chameleon we keep becoming whatever the world tells us to become.

And that’s such deep slavery. And isn't that going to happen, if you constantly keep saying that you do not know your name? She comes to us and says, "I do not know who I am, I do not know who I am", soon what is going to happen? We will give her a name. "Fine, if you do not have a name, we will give you a name."

So, if you do not know your pristine and original identity, then the world will soon supply you with an identity. And the world is not one thing, the world is itself very impermanent, continuously a flux, continuously changing, and hence, the world will keep providing you with changing identities.

In front of the shopkeeper, who are you? A Negotiator, a bargainer. There you are not a mother, are you? But in front of the kids, you quickly become a mother. And in front of only your personal kids, you become a mother. Similar kids of similar age mean very little to you, there you're not a mother.

We do not live in Amarpur, we do not live in our one non-dual identity. Therefore, our punishment is that we have to live in various, passing, fluctuating, punishing identities. We are not one. Outside this door, we would be somebody and inside this door, we would be somebody else. In the session, we are one, after the session we are somebody else.

Q6: Acharya Ji, like she asked, due to social obligations we follow the process. We have a choice; we still have to follow.

AP: No, no. You don't still have to follow; you have a choice.

Q3: That is actually my question, if we don't want to follow social obligations, but we want to get the fruit of the results. Like we want just respect?

AP: You know what you are asking and probably you also know what I would say. Greed and slavery go together, don't they? It's a choice to be tempted. You have all these attractive billboards and hoardings and mannequins, does everybody get tempted? You go to the shopping streets, the big malls.

Q: Each person has his own temptations.

AP: But there is a choice, right? And you don't always get tempted by the same thing? When you are more centered, when you are peaceful, when you are your better version, then you have it in your power to make better decisions, right? When you look at a temptation, it occurs to you as a big plus. And a big plus so very blinds our eyes, blindfolds us, that we stop looking at the minus, so the equation becomes bad. The equation goes false.

Now, the equation will not deliver you the right result. Why will it not deliver the right result? Because you have not supplied it with the right inputs. It's alright to be tempted, but you must at the same time, in that same very moment, also recall the price you are paying, don't be taken in by the recency effect. Don't say, "Afterall the gratification is immediate and the price is in the distant future." That's a very bad argument.

I will tell you why it is a bad argument, not because the price will ultimately have to be paid in the future. The future may never come. You may not really have to pay all the EMIs. You may expire before that. So that is not the argument that I'll make, I am saying something different, the minus does not really abide in the future, the minus too is right now, spontaneous.

It’s just that the plus, the benefit, the gratification is gross, apparent, perceptible and the minus is hidden. It is not a long way off, it is just hidden, though it is instantaneous, right now. I’ll tell you why it is right now. That you fell to the greed is in itself a big minus. And when did the fall happen? Right now. So the minus is right now.

You are a mind that is susceptible to greed. And when are you that mind, in the future or right now? So when has the minus really happened? Right now. Somebody tempted you. And the temptation obviously offered pleasure, gratification, you fell to the temptation and gratification appeared like a big plus, a benefit.

And you are factoring in only the positive, the benefit. What is it that you are not factoring in? What is it that you are totally discounting? The negative. You are discounting the negative probably because you think that the negative is far ahead in the future and when we will come to the negative, we will somehow manage it. We all start depending on God in front of temptation, you know, let's enjoy the temptation right now and when it will come to paying the price, then somehow God will help us. As if God is there to help you with your follies.

No, the temptation does not extract a price from you in the future, the temptation has extracted the price from you right now. What is the price? The price is that you fell to the temptation. And falling to that temptation means a mind of poor quality. You have already lost it. You will not lose it somewhere, some other day, you have already lost it. What is the proof that you have already lost it? You fell to the temptation and that shows that you already lost it, it’s such a big minus, factor in that minus, included in your calculations, and then the equation will be more truthful.

Q7: Now, there are some things which are already done. I haven't factored in the minuses. I got gratified at that instance right away, with the first course. Now, the minuses are hitting me hard.

AP: You will need to bear that. You need to bear them.

Q7: Can I walk away?

AP: You see, the best that you can do at any moment, is to not create more punishments for you. Every bad decision, every bad choice is a creator of punishment, please understand this. And a choice we always have that is what we have been repeatedly emphasizing on today. We always have a choice, and every bad choice is a generator of punishment, that punishment is called Karmafal(Result or Output) . And we are saying that punishment is subtly instantaneous, though it's fruits may become visible only in the future. The fruits may appear in the future, the fruits may just become visible in the future, but the punishment is actually being served immediately, right now.

The scriptures say that the actions that have already been done are like an arrow that has left the bow, the arrow has left the bow. Now you realize that you made a mistake, but the arrow cannot be stopped now. The arrow will hit the target, maybe it is hitting the wrong target, but now the arrow will hit the target.

So, you will have to go through the results of what you have done. It is like settling an old debt. You cannot just walk out of a debt. You had your pleasures; you had your gratifications and now the bill is a debt. You ate sumptuously, you filled yourself up, and now that the bill has arrived, can you say, "I'm walking out of the restaurant. I don't like this game. As long as you're serving the meals, it was wonderful. Now why are you serving the bill? I'm walking out"? You cannot just walk out like this. But there is one way to walk out. And then, the hotel will not charge you, the restaurant it is.

Q: Grace.

AP: What does that really mean? If you fall dead. If you fall dead, then do not have to clear any bills. What does that mean in the physical sense? What does spiritual death mean in the physical sense?

Q: Dissolution.

AP: Only the kartā (doer) remains the bhogta (consumer). As long as you are the one who did the consumption, you will have to remain the one who pays the bills. If you totally change, if you totally die to your old self, if you change so much that the old self has been totally, totally dissolved, then you are no more the old kartā , the old doer. And if you're not the old doer, then you can also no more remain the bhogta .

Who is the bhogta ? The one who bears the fruits of actions. The one who has to pay the price. As long as you are the same one who made the mistake, you'll also have to remain the one who bears the punishment. But if that old one dies, then this new one will not have to bear any punishment, and then she can walk out. What does that mean? That means that walking out is not easy.

Walking out means total death. If you are the one who walked in, how can you walk out the remaining the same one? Walking out is easy just as a phrase, a metaphor, a topic of discussion, an idea, but to materialize that idea will not be easy.

You walked into a house because you are somebody, the walking in was not random. The walking in was caused by the one who you are, by your patterns, by your set of conditioning, by all these things, right? You were that way and therefore you walked into something. You walked into a house, you walked into a relationship, into a job, into something. Now how will you walk out, if you are still the same person who walked in? In fact, if you are still the same person who walked in, you will keep walking in yet deeper into the same trap.

You know of the story of the monkey and the pitcher, right? The pitcher that has a narrow neck and a narrow mouth, it is a small pitcher. And in the pitcher are kept a few peanuts. And what does the monkey do? The monkey sends in its hand, to grab the peanuts. Now, why did the hand go in in the first place? Because the monkey is a monkey. So he sends his hand in. What does it mean to be a monkey? You are both greedy and foolish. So, what do you do?

Now, he gets a fistful of peanuts and now the hand cannot come out. Why can't it come out? Because the monkey is still a monkey. Because the monkey is a monkey, so the hand goes in and because the monkey is still a monkey, so the hand cannot come out.

How will you walk out? If you're still the same one who sent in his hand, how will you walk out? You'll have to totally transform; the monkey will have to turn into a Buddha and drop. It is impossible for a monkey to drop the peanuts. The monkey will have to die. And in the place of the monkey, the Buddha will have to reappear. And then the monkey can gain Liberation. Then the monkey can walk out, get out. But the monkey says, "No, I'm a monkey and now you tell me, how to...?" Not possible!

Getting it? You can walk out but that would mean spiritual death. You will have to erase your entire past. You'll have to clearly see how patterns were governing your life and you need to be driven by a great desire for liberation. That great desire is called total death and that total death means total life, new life, real life. And then, you can pull out your hand.

Q8: You gave the example of the restaurant having the food and paying the bill, that is the cost. But when I was lunging into temptation, I was not told what the cost or what will be the punishment in the future. So I want to understand…

AP: That's dishonest. That's very dishonest. You cannot order something without having acquired the price of it. And if you do that in a restaurant, then you do not get any exemption, or do you? Let's say, the menu is shown to you, this is the menu and in front of a particular food item, the price appears blurred, for some reason, the price appears blurred. And you order that thing and it gets served to you and you consume it and when the bill is served you say, "But the price is not mentioned." No, you do not get any exemption. It was your responsibility to check the price before you order. You knew the price, come on. I will tell you, the more tempting a thing is, the higher…

Q8: Today I know this...

AP: We always know that, we always know that, aren’t you prepared to pay a high price for a thing that tempts you a lot? So you know that. You know that even a little kid is prepared to pay a higher price for a higher temptation. So you already know that if you are tempted big time into something, then you'll have to pay big time for it.

Q: It was my choice to overlook the minus.

AP: Of course, and it's not only a choice, it is a deliberate act of ignorance. "Oh, I can’t read the price. So, instead of 600, I assume it must be only 60." And when 600 plus 28% GST comes, then you let out a big shriek, "Oh my God! The world is so full of injustice."

Q9: Sir, can the world of Amarpur and monkey coexist?

AP: It does. We are the proof.

Q10: I think I might have just postponed that, "Let's not do studies now. Let's do some entertainment first and then we do some studies." I might have just prioritized the entertainment, that I agree but that doesn't tell me the cost involved.

AP: You'll not be able to convince anybody of your innocence.

Q10: No, I want to understand so that I don't consider myself a victim.

AP: That’s better. That’s far better. Just remember that one principle, if you are consuming something, paying for it is your responsibility. This one principle will settle everything. And if you have consumed something and not paid for it explicitly, then you will be paying an even higher price implicitly, because if you pay for something then and there, then you at least don't pay the interest. If you pay for it five years later, then not only do you pay the principle, but also the interest. There are no free lunches.

In this world, nothing comes for free. If there is one who gives you everything for free, it is Him. Except for Him, do not expect that anybody would give you anything for free. Nothing comes for free in this world.

Q10: So, I chose this sometime...

AP: Of course, it's a choice. Of course, of course, of course, everything is a choice.

Q11: So, is the choice of prioritizing your gratification over whatever your responsibility is, like for my son, for example, if I ask him to do two things, he will choose what he likes and do that first, and then he will think about it, and he will postpone the thing that he does not like. This is our nature.

AP: That tells us, that tells us, how we are born. Your son must not be very old or is he? He is what five, ten?

Q11: He is eight.

AP: Even at eight, we do not really know where our real welfare lies and there is a great dissonance between what we like and what is really good for us. We are pleased by all the things that are not quite good for us. Look at the world. Is that not how an animal is trapped? How do you trap an animal? You please him, don't you? How do you trap a lion? You offer a goat. How do you trap a mouse? You offer some bread or cheese.

Q11: I have been trying to tell him that postponing will not help him.

AP: You will have to help him see. He has to see that what he likes is not really good for him. The scriptures put this as the difference between śrēya (good) and Priyā (dear).

śrēya relates to Sri, that which is really good for you, and Priyā relates to that which gives pleasure to you, that which gives pleasure to you is not that which is good for you. Rarely do they coincide, rarely.

Q11: So, I am always wrong if I'm trying to...

AP: Pursue the path of pleasure, that should be the default conclusion. If it is pleasure that is driving me. I am 99.9% wrong, I'm wrong.

Q12: But what if the brain gets wired to pursue the pleasure?

AP: Brain is wired to pursue pleasure. It's such a strange thing. And that is why Liberation consists of going against oneself. You are really right, the brain is hardwired to pursue pleasure. For example, our senses are hard-wired to pursue sweetness, glucose, sugar, why? Because in the past, there was no certainty of the regularity of food. Do you get this?

Man was either a food-gatherer or a hunter. And it was not assured that he would get food the next day. Sugar was great because sugar gets stored in the system and keeps supplying energy for a relatively longer time. So now we are hard-wired to pursue sugar, sweetness.

But what does sweetness do to you? Today, the supply of food is assured, guaranteed. And yet, we are behaving like that same old food-gatherer, the hunter, and we are chasing sugar and ice-cream and pastry. You have to realize this, you have to go against yourself.

Q12: So, is it like training the brain to help it understand what is really needed?

AP: Yes, yes, and it is not pleasant. Going against yourself is rarely pleasant, that is why it is called Tapasya (produced by heat). You have to heat yourself up, Tap (heat), Tapasya and Sādhana (practice), what does Sādhana mean? You have to regulate yourself. You have to turn yourself straight; Sādhana . Inside it's all very crooked.

Q13: It’s painful?

AP: That’s painful, but you have to then choose, do you want that small pain or the bigger pain of bondage?

Q14: Mind is wrongly wired. We are not taught about this in school. We don't get Acharya Prashant at the age of five, that is so unfair sir.

AP: What to do? The first and unfair act was that you were born.

Q14: Yes, we have set up a figure.

AP: But not everybody fails. You have a choice.

Q15: So, is it best to train the mind to suffer pain?

AP: Yes, yes, all great athletes, leaders, artists, scientists do that. They have a great capacity to resist gratification. If not actively suffer pain, at least they have a capacity to resist gratification, and the ordinary mortal, the ordinary slave is known by his proclivity to fall for temptation, pleasure. The moment he is tempted, he falls for it.

Q11: Tomorrow, if I have to tell my son to prioritize his homework over his game, a computer game, then I should be training him to prioritize his homework. Even though it is painful for him.

AP: You have to talk to him a lot. You have to help him come to his own conclusions. Otherwise, he'll take you as some kind of autocrat or Hitler. You have to enable him to see this thing with his own eyes. For example, when he sees the fat man with this big belly, you should ask him, "Son, stop here." What's his name?

Q11: Sughosh.

AP: "Sughosh, stop here and tell me, how is it that he has such a big belly?" And kids love making fun of tummies. "How did that happen? From where did that big globe come?" And now he's wondering, "What did he do?" This much he knows, "Mama, he probably ate a lot."

"So, how was he feeling when he was eating?"

"He should have been feeling quite good, cool."

"Sughosh, let’s guess what he might have been eating?"

Now Sughosh will tell you.

Q11: Pizza, burger.

AP: "So Sughosh, this means that when you are eating those things, it is quite nice, but later on you can get a tummy", and you stop here. Sughosh has come to a good point on its own. Stop here. Next, you can show him an athlete’s body. Does he love watching any particular sport?

Q11: He watches football.

AP: You show him a body of a Messy or a Ronaldo or Ronaldinho, and you ask him, "How did he get that body?" Maybe it's difficult to get in their personal lives. But if you show him some of the sports movies where they show the transformation, the physical transformation of a very ordinary body into a chiseled body of an athlete, then he will know how much labor is involved in getting that fantastic body and getting that gold medal.

He should see these things and he should see how the athlete cringes during his training. We only see them wearing their medals, we do not know how they have been broken and how they have cried out and how they have paid for their training. They get up at 4 AM in the morning and continuously it’s a workout.

Q15: Suppose if I have a choice between instant gratification and choosing something in the long run. So, what is the surety that the long run is my choice and it's not the choice imposed on me due to some other factors?

AP: Just look out for fear, probe for fear, "Am I afraid?" You see, often this decision will not need to be taken this way. Resisting temptation is itself sufficient. Often, it's not about this or that. It's just about this or not this.

Please get this, what is tempting me? This (Picking up the basket of flowers kept at the table in front). This basket, this bucket of flowers is tempting me. I don't have a choice between this and that. The choice consists of deciding whether I fall for this or not. Just whenever you are tempted by flowers like these, you must know you are getting into trouble. And flowers are, especially if you are young. Look at them, even now they are very attractive. And they have been set in front of me right here to keep on reminding me.

Q16: So, we see that when we keep repeating different things, then it becomes a strong habit. And in my case, for example, where I have quit the education system and other professional work, I am hard-wired in a certain way. Even though I am understanding that some things are not good, but it is creating a lot of hampering where you fight against your own will...

AP: You'll have to. Get yourself a good coach. Get yourself a good ecosystem. Get yourself a good friend circle, they will help you to stay afloat. Otherwise, it's very easy to sink.

You look at couples, if you see a fat man, usually 95% times, he will have an equally fat wife. Because both of them consume the burger together. You need a good ecosystem. If your partner is a fatty, it will be very difficult for you to be athletic.

Go to one of those places where they serve all the junk food and watch couples and you will find a great correlation, slim man, slim wife, and rotund man, and rotund wife.

Q17: So, sir, what you are saying is that it is possible to rewire the brain?

AP: It is definitely possible. It is not only possible to rewire the brain, it is possible to un-wire the brain. If that is not possible, then we should not be discussing all this and we should simply go away as machines, then we are that (pointing to the fan overhead). Then it's no point talking of any of them, you know, Krishna, Ashtavakra, and Kabir. Don't make any sense.

Q18: Sir, I am facing a problem that I don't feel like talking to my family, my friends, my cousins and instead my love for them is growing actually. And I regret all the bad things which I have done to them. It's a one-way communication, whenever I feel like calling them, I call them. But whenever they call me, I never pick the call. I don't feel comfortable with the people. Similarly, now it's like, when I go out for lunch, I have the same routine, like I don't feel like friends, going to them, but it is coming in a very innovative sense that people are misinterpreting.

AP: It's okay. This is an intermediate period of solitude. It is needed, it is a buffer zone, you need it. Don't be alarmed by it. It's nothing very extraordinary or dangerous.

Q: But people around him should also be cooperative.

AP: They may or may not be cooperative. We have no control over them. But he should know that it's no point hankering for others' approval all the time. It's okay.

You see, the man of Truth has Truth as his support. He does not really need too much external support. You have the greatest support here (pointing to the heart). Why do you need too much support here and there (pointing to the outside world)? In fact, if you have your support residing here (pointing to the heart), then you will become a provider of support, not a seeker of support.

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