Pranaam Acharya Ji,
I have lived life in images. In past I have kept myself away from experiences with the excuse of not being sufficiently prepared. I realize now that all this is a myth. How can I be prepared without practice?
But I’m still afraid, afraid of losing, afraid of not having the proper logic to debate my opponents. My competitor is winning with walkovers, I’m losing respect, people, chances of a good life. I have the opportunity to save myself but instead I’m asking you what to do. Seems, I want to surrender and live like a slave. Why am I letting somebody steal an edge over me?
Is my self image so low that I’m not standing up for myself?
Acharya Prashant: Abhay, this is a classical case of, ‘duvidha mein dono gaye, maya mili na Ram’ (In doubt, both are lost: the material and the Truth).
It’s a phase of transition, it’s an intermediate stage, and right now you belong neither here nor there. When somebody is in this kind of situation, I advise him to keep moving forward with greater speed, and greater determination. Don’t just stop there. And if someone repeatedly tells me that he can’t move forward, then I advise him to turn back.
There’s a city of maya, it’s a beautiful city, enchanting, appealing, bewitching but it survives on your life-blood. It gives you a few good moments but at the cost of the essence of your life. It gives you pleasure at the cost of the essential. And then there is the city of the Beyond, that city when looked at from the city of maya is not very attractive. It’s a calm, serene place but it does not have too many flashy attractions. It is the city of bliss and the city of maya is the city of bling, the city of blitz. Most of us care for blitz than for bliss.
In between these two cities is a great jungle. The city of maya does not teach you how to cross the jungle, it does not even give you the required strength to be prepared to cross this jungle. As we said, that city survives on your life-energy. And if you’re living in that city you won’t have the energy required to cross that jungle, it’s going to be terminally tough.
But somehow, sometimes, magically the impossible happens, a few chosen ones are struck with the desire to cross over. When they will start, they will start with their feeble steps because they too, after all, for long have been the residents of the city of maya, so they don’t have too much of strength, but they have a certain heart-felt inspiration, so they set off.
How would they feel upon entering the jungle?
Weird and terrible!
But even as they are entering the jungle, silently, unnoticeably, something healthy is happening. What is happening? Their life-blood is no more being sucked out by the maya city.
The dangers are obvious, the benefit is hidden.
The jungle is full of huge elephants, and leopards and tigers and what not. So the dangers are all very loud and apparent. In the din of those dangers it is easy not to see that your health is being slowly restored. Your blood that was being diverted, extracted, is now healthily flowing in your veins. But you won’t sense that because that’s a very silent phenomenon, and the bears and the lions are all roaring loudly. That’s easy to hear. The difficulties that you face will be very noticeable, hence very daunting. But the benefits that you are getting will be very imperceptible, and therefore, under-valued.
From there you call out to me and ask, ‘What do I do? I’m afraid and I’m losing out. There were so many pleasures to be had in the maya city. I’m no more having those pleasures, not only that, I have news that my competitors in that city are all prospering. They have taken over my house, they have taken a lead over my business, and they have stolen a march over me in all possible ways. And here I am losing in every sense.’
And of course, you do appear to be losing in every sense because your legs have been enfeebled by the city you have lived in. You are no more capable of crossing over, or so it seems. But slowly vigour is being restored to your legs.
Because your blood is no more being sucked out. So your legs are slowly gaining their natural strength. But it will take time, you have been for so long a prisoner of delusion, that restoration, total restoration of health will take time, and till then, it will be a bad situation to be in.
Therefore, I say, if you are in that jungle, then keep moving. If you are in darkness, then keep moving ahead in darkness, move through darkness, move in darkness. As you move ahead, as you get more and more away from the city of maya, you find that your competitors and the happenings in the maya city are mattering less and less to you. The news themselves stop reaching you. The news of the maya city can reach only the fringes of the jungle, as you get deeper into the jungle what is happening in the maya city matters less and less to you. Your consciousness now does not receive the news from that city, they become immaterial.
So, many good things start happening.
One, what is happening in the city of delusion does not matter to you.
Secondly, you now know the jungle.
Thirdly, your legs now are regaining their power, because your blood is now flowing in the right place.
So you can surge ahead with greater vigour, and greater determination, and more speed. But the initial few steps, the initial few days are going to be very, very difficult and that is why the city of delusion is immortal. Even if people want to leave that city, they enter the jungle, find it too much to cross and return. It is, I repeat, the first few steps which are going to be the most daunting, the most deterring.
Don’t fail then, and the battle is mostly won. Just don’t fail then. And if people come to me and they say, they repeatedly say, it is too much for them to bear separation from their beloved city of delusion and the jungle appears so dark and desolate in comparison and if they stubbornly refuse to press ahead, then I advise them, you turn back, you go back to the maya city, you stay there. You stay there till you get fed up. Maybe your time has still not come.
Nobody can just get up and beat maya, it requires a lot of Grace and a lot of determination from the person’s side. If that determination is missing, then you better lse more blood. The bloodletting should continue till you see the bloody affair for what it is. That may require centuries. Fine! Keep paying with your blood, that’s the price that you pay. That’s the price that you pay for not making your way through the jungle.
Choose carefully, and I know it’s going to be a difficult choice.
On one side are the glamorous, enamouring lights, on the other side is the anonymity and bleakness of the jungle.
But you must enter that jungle. The city of delusion is not your home.
You must cross over.
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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