If suffer you must, suffer rightly || IIT Bombay (2022)

May 29, 2022 | Acharya Prashant

Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, painful thoughts are common to us all. Sometimes, even though we might be aware of them, we are not able to overcome them. What kind of benefit does the mind see in these painful thoughts? Is it a tactic of the ego to keep itself alive? Is it seeking the pleasure of being alive even in the pain?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Yes, obviously. The thing with pain is that you cannot have pain if you don’t exist. So, even pain ratifies your existence.

The ego is such an insecure thing that to prove to itself that it exists, it can even put itself in pain. And it says, “Because I can experience pain, so I exist. Don’t tell me that I am fake. Don’t tell me I am a myth.” Because, you see, ultimately the ego is a myth, and therefore it is always scared that somebody will call the bluff and say, “Oh, you are such a fool. You don’t even exist!” So, it keeps trying all kinds of tricks. That is the first thing.

Next, you remember only the pain that comes with thoughts. What you don’t remember is something more important. Let’s say you remember that you lost rupees hundred in the past, and that pains you. Let’s say you are in the thought process right now; you are repeatedly thinking about those hundred rupees you lost in the past and experiencing pain. At this moment, if I tell you that right now you are about to lose rupees ten thousand, what will you do, or what will happen to you rather?

Q: I will come out of that previous thought and take action.

AP: Exactly. The past is of very little value compared to the present. Equally, the loss you might have suffered in the past is of very little value compared to the loss you are about to suffer right now, and are in fact suffering every passing moment. And why exactly are you suffering the loss every passing moment? Because you are too busy and lost experiencing the pain of the past. You are so focused on the past losses that you have just no cognizance of what you are currently and continuously losing on.

The loss right now is tremendous. You can express that loss in various ways. It is an opportunity loss, much better could have been done; you wasted that time in self-pity


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