“The sage has no connection with action since he has no idea of accepting or giving up. Therefore through constant engrossment on Brahman alone, do away with thy superimposition.”
- Vivekachundamani (verse 282)
Questioner (Q): Dearest Acharya Ji, Pranam. How does one go about a stage where one has no connection with one’s action? And what does it mean to apply that to my daily life?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Before we delve into not being connected with one’s actions, first let’s understand what is it that we call as ‘remaining connected with one’s actions’. What kind of connections do we have with our actions? You do something and then what is your relation with that action? You want something from that, right? You do something which must protect that which you take as valuable. It must get more of which you think as valuable. It must do away with something. There is always an expectation attached with action. That is one’s connection with action. You see, as I am speaking my limbs are moving, maybe the legs not so much but certainly the hands. Action is happening, right? What if I have an idea of what right action is like? What would happen to the quality of my movement? And how would that make me feel? How would that affect my consciousness? If I have an idea of what the right gestures are or what the right words are or what is the right way of looking at the audience, if I have that relation with my action, that connection with my action, what would happen to this being? How would I feel?
Q: Obviously we will feel good.
AP: If you have an idea about what the right way of speaking at this very instance is, what is the effect it would have upon you?
Q: We won’t be able to express.
AP: Why won’t you be able to express? What if you knew in advance the right way of making your limbs act? And who will be holding the responsibility to make it perfect? You. How would you feel under that responsibility? Crushed. And what if you have no responsibility to take care of what is happening, to come up with perfect words or perfect movement of limbs? Then what is your relation with the hands and speech?
They are free and you are free.
Now let the limbs do what they want to do and let the speech do what it wants to do. I remain distant.
Q: But still we have the fear of failure and society.
AP: What is failure? So if the hand goes this way, this is success and if it goes that way, that is failure, right? So success and failure are nothing but preprogrammed connections with the action. If the action happens in one way, I call it a success, and if it happens the other way I call it a failure. What is the verse saying? The sage has no connection whatever be the action. Action belongs to the actor. The actor is always the one who can move. And who has no option but to move, to act? The heart, the bloodstream, the limbs. Do they have an option to not move? They would necessarily move. Is there an atom in the entire universe that does not move? How many atoms are there in the universe? If you count the number of atoms, you will get the taste of infinity. You will know then that Brahm, is not merely a fiction, something call infinity does exist. Out of all these atoms, show me one that is still.
Physics would tell you that perfect stillness comes to an atom at 0 degrees Kelvin or -273 degrees Celsius. Elementary physics tells you that 0 degrees Kelvin have never been reached. Even to an atom stillness never comes. Everything is always acting and it requires no consciousness. Things just move because it is their Prakriti to move. There is nothing that can ever be still. Now, why are you attributing that movement to yourself? Even dead men move, they belch and fart. Even after you are dead, the body keeps moving. Even when the doer consciousness is no more, the body is still moving, no atom of the body is going to lie still, ever.
What is your role there and why are you needed there and why do you think it is your responsibility to control that action? By taking that responsibility upon yourself, you have taken a massive load on your head. You are saying, “I must dictate the action.” Doership is not about doing. Doership is about assuming that you are the doer. Please differentiate between these two. It’s not as if you give up doership and doing ceases. Doing is the Prakriti of the universe. Rather action is the Prakriti of the universe. But the stupid self starts assuming that he holds the responsibility to do and to do rightly. The fact of the matter is otherwise. The more you try to take the matter to your hands the more you trouble yourself. Without you, things are so very right. It’s not as if some great intervention on your part is needed. Somebody asked me, “How can man save the Earth? Poor Earth is withering away!" I said, “By not doing anything for the next ten years.” You don’t need to save the Earth, you just need to stop doing. Don’t do anything for the next ten years and Earth will be back to the pink of health. And if you want absolute health back, then let there be no intelligent activity for the next fifty years. Keep your intelligence aside and everything will be alright again. And by the way, the Earth is not sick. The Earth is just adjusting itself in a way that would eliminate human beings. The earth would go nowhere; Man would disappear. And once man is not there, the earth is back to fine fettle. And several species who would just go into hiding if they remain at all, would again sprout forth. It’s man, the weakest of all species that would be eliminated.
It’s not your doing that is needed. Hands know what to do, speech knows what to do. You are an unnecessary intermediary. The speech knows from where to directly take orders, this hand knows from where to directly take orders. Who are you? Who is talking about doing the action, being the actor? The heart knows to take orders from Prakriti . Is your consciousness needed to make the heart beat? It knows to take orders from the Prakriti . Because it is material, it knows where to take orders from. What if you start giving orders to the heart? All the organs know where to take orders from. They take orders directly from Prakriti . And it’s best when they take orders from Prakriti . If you have a pacemaker, then your heart is taking orders from man. What would you prefer; a heart that takes orders from Prakriti or a heart that takes orders from a pacemaker? But you are pleased when you announce that now you have invented a pacemaker that can take the place of a heart. It’s not the body that is pleased really. The body loves the Prakritik heart, not the pacemaker.
Similarly, the voice knows from where to take orders, it will not take orders from Prakriti . The intellect knows from where to take orders. The entire Antahkarana knows from where to take orders. And they don’t take orders from Prakriti . Who are you; the one who is talking of being the doer? You are neither Prakriti nor Paramatma . Who are you?
This system can take orders either from Prakriti or from Paramatma . Who are you? You are not Prakriti for sure because you are not material. You are not Paramatma either because you are also not totally immaterial. You are some intermediary. Show your face, from where have you come? Neither are you just baby-like or animal-like, totally prakritik (natural/material) nor are you totally divine. You are some needless middle man. The ego is that middle man. To take care of the body, Prakriti is sufficient. To take of your worldly movements, basic worldly existence, Prakriti is sufficient. The nose knows how to breathe; the eyes know how to blink. You don’t need to teach them. Doership is not needed. The mouth knows how to salivate, stomach knows how to digest. And they take their orders directly from Prakriti . And the Heart—I am not talking about the physical heart, I am talking about your essence—it knows love; it knows the right action; it knows devotion. It knows freedom; it does not have to be taught the value of freedom. It takes order directly from God, not from Prakriti .
Prakriti has nothing for freedom. Let the physical heart obey Prakriti and let the spiritual heart obey Paramatma . Your interventions are not needed. As I am speaking, I am breathing - for namesake - am I the doer of the breathing act? I am not. Who is the doer? It’s the Prakriti . And my job is to let Prakriti remain the doer. If I try to regulate my breath, I will only distort it. And as I am speaking, these words are being regulated by Him. Am I the doer? My job is to firmly stand aside as an attendant. My job is not to interfere when the master is speaking. Just as you are listening to AP, I too am listening to AP. He is my master as well. My job is not to interfere when he speaks. My job is not to interfere with Prakriti ; not to try to be the doer when somebody is speaking. Needlessly one tries to be the doer. One is unnecessary. That which is necessary would anyway never go away. Have the guts to go away; to acknowledge that you are not needed. You are so afraid and you are such a sucker for importance that you keep hanging around. You don’t go away. You feel you are important. You feel that if you go away so many bad things will happen. No calamities are going to befall. In fact, if you go away, the real doer would find it far more easy and smooth to act. You are just a hindrance.