Can you honestly, seriously, bring yourself to find out whether you are free from authority? It needs tremendous enquiry into yourself, great awareness.
From that clarity comes a totally different kind of action, an action that is not fragmentary, that is not divided politically or religiously – it is a total action.
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Question: Dear Acharya Ji, Pranaam! Having read chapters and watched a few videos of videos of Jiddu Krishnamurti it is clearly seen how conditioned, dependent I have been.
Acharya Ji, is being in attention and living simply enough? What do I do to enquire now, and simply relax?
Acharya Prashant Ji: You know Parmeshwari (the questioner), in the Mathematics books in school, in university, there used to be chapters. Obviously the books have chapter, and the chapters have theories, theorems, proofs, illustrations, examples to begin with. And one goes through the chapters, one dwells on the theorems, one reads the proofs, one looks at the solved examples, and one feels that one has totally grasped the subject. Right?
“I have totally understood, how the thing is beginning, and how one is coming to the various formulae, and what are the various forms and versions of the same formula. And the chapter has also told me what are the applications of the formula”
And one feels reasonably confident that one is now the master of the subject, right? And then after all the theory and the illustrations are the unsolved problems, the questions. Is that not the regular format in Mathematics, Physics, rather in most of the subjects?
So when you go through the description, the detailing, you start feeling as if you have fully comprehended, till you come to the unsolved questions. Now you will be tested. And now the unsolved questions too are in four sections – A,B,C and D. And section A contains the easiest ones. B – slightly tougher. C – quite tough. And D – unsolvable.
Questioner: D is out of syllabus.
Acharya Prashant Ji: D contains questions that do not pertain directly to the chapter. D contains questions that are coming from the knowledge that you have accumulated, from various chapters, from various books. The questions might even involve inter-disciplinary understanding.
So get down to the questions, and then you will know whether Understanding and Peace are really there.
I pray that they are there. I would be most delighted if you say that you have cracked all the problems. It is easier to mug up theory, right? The application is what tests you really. In my time there used to be the Board examinations, and the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) . And both would be based on nearly the same syllabus. The Class 12th Board exams syllabus, let us say in Mathematics and Physics would be almost the same as Class 12th IIT JEE syllabus.
But the board Examinations would involve a lot of theory. So the question paper would ask you about a lot of concepts. The question paper would say, “Describe the following experiment and what does it prove.” And you could mug up the experiment and explain, and write down stuff.
For example, what does double-slit experiment in Physics prove? Or the Newton’s Rings experiment? And you could mug up the entire thing and reproduce what you have mugged up on the answer sheet. And you would get almost full marks. You could score ninety-seven marks out of hundred in the Board examinations.
And then comes the IIT JEE. Nobody will ask you any bit of concept or theory. Nobody will ask you the derivation of the formula. They will give you a real-life problem. JEE used to be a really tough examination. I am talking of mid-nineties. I hear that it has been greatly diluted now, but those days were different.
Now in the JEE nobody asks for theory. They say, “Solve the problem. If you can solve it then you have understood. If you cannot solve it., then all your theory, and all your concepts, and all your learning is useless.”
And many of those problems were unthinkable. It would appear as if all those problems have been unnecessarily constructed. They were not daily, or real-life problems. Problematic situations were discovered and presented to the student to examine and answer.
Are you getting it?
Easy problems were not present in the IIT JEE paper. Tough problems were digged out, unearthed from somewhere, and were kept in front of the students. And that’s what tested his understanding.
So, beneath the misleading simplicity of the so-called daily life, lie the unsolved problems and unanswered questions.
Most people do not even face those problems because those problems lie deep down in the psyche.
On the surface are only trivial issues, and with even the superficial understanding you can answer those superficial issues like in the Board exams. You can crack the board Physics or Mathematics paper even if your understanding is not really sharp.
If you really want to test yourself, then go deep into your psyche and the collective psyche of mankind, and see what real issues lie hidden there.
Face them, try answering them.
I would be glad if you can answer them, I would be equally glad if you cannot answer them.
Because if you cannot answer them, you will discover that a lot more needs to be learned.
And that would be helpful.
The genuine student looks for the tougher and the toughest questions because he wants to ensure that his understanding is complete. If he has solved all the problems from one book, then he actively looks around for another unexplored book which has more difficult problems. And he wants to try newer kind of problems, more difficult problems.
He says, “If my understanding has any depth then I should be able to tackle any problem.” And if you want to test your understanding that is what you should do.
I am not asking you to create problems. I am asking you too unearth problems. Because burying problems, is what makes them long-lasting. So dig them out, and tackle them. That would be annoying if the problem is lying hidden and buried.
Why should one unnecessarily dig it up? As they say, “Why are you digging old graves?” It appears that one is not merely digging out problems, one feels as if one is really creating problems.
No, that is necessary.
Whatsoever lies unresolved in your life is an opportunity to grow.
Do not discard or hide it, even if it remains to your conscious view.
Actively explore it, look for it, and then wrestle with it.
Let’s see who wins. Either way, you win.
If you win, you win. Even if you lose, it’s you who wins.
So do fight that battle.
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Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More