Vedanta – Fire and Light

Acharya Prashant (AP): The first question comes from an MBA 2nd year student from IIT Kanpur named Prashant. He says:

“I have been reading Krishnamurti and Vivekanand since the past three years having learned from them, I genuinely feel that the teachings of such great teachers should be at the core of our education system. I personally feel that my decisions regarding my career and life would not have been emotionally driven had I studied these. But Sir, unfortunately, we do not find the teachings of our saints in our mainstream education system; either at school or at professional level – at most there might be a few books tucked away at some corner of the library. And I want to add that even in the premier institutions of this country, one would find a complete negligence by the student community with respect to the Vedantic teachings and the sayings of the saints. The students are preoccupied with their pre-decided career paths and don’t pay heed to these teachings. Sir, why are even so-called intelligent students ignoring these valuable teachings?”

Prashant, there are two reasons. The first reason is eternal and the second is contemporary. Let’s look at both.

The way man is, he is not designed to prioritize learning, wisdom or realization over his more basic, primary, animalistic needs and instincts. It’s a bodily thing; it’s an evolutionary thing. It’s there in entire mankind irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, gender, age; irrespective of what kind of identity you carry. We are not programmed to be naturally drawn towards the teachings of somebody like J. Krishnamurti or Swami Vivekanand. And there is ample reason why we would ignore their teachings, or at times even be hostile to them.

You see, when you look at a person and you say, “here comes a human being; a man or a woman”, what is the defining characteristic of the human being? It’s the body, right? It’s the body you look at. Everything else comes later. So, no body, no human being. And that’s the primary identity we all are carrying. We are bodies. And around that identity and from that identity all else is built. See, remove your body from your life and what is left of your life? The moment you remove your body you’re called as a dead man. And your world comes to an end.

So, it is our bodily presence, it is our body-identification that marks our very existence. Remove the body and we cease to exist, right? And as we said, from that body-identification, all our actions, thoughts, emotions, ways of the intellect, information gathering by the senses, and then analysis and codification of that information, its structuring into knowledge, all that happens. Remove the body, you don’t have any senses to even gather information; remove the body, you don’t have any brains to interpret the information; remove the body, you don’t have any science. Right? No language, nothing.