Imagination is not creativity || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Question: Is imagination more important or knowledge?

Speaker: There are two words and we will understand the difference between them. One is imagination, the other is creativity.

Imagination means that I am living confined by my past knowledge.

Anybody here who knows Russian?


(Pointing towards a student) Imagine yourself to be speaking in Russian language. Can you imagine?

No, you can’t imagine. Imagination is a very small thing. Imagination is limited by your past knowledge and experience. Of that which you have zero experience and zero knowledge, you can’t even imagine. For example, you cannot imagine a fourth dimension of space. Try as hard as you may, you can’t even imagine a fourth dimension of space but, you can safely imagine many other things that you have already experienced in the past. You can’t even dream of things that you have no previous experience of. It is funny that even our dreams are repetitive. You sometimes say that you know I had such a special dream but even that dream is nothing but recycling of the past experience. Bits and pieces of past experiences come together and they appear like a new dream but, it is not a new dream at all. All imaginations are limited by individual experiences. So, imagination is a pity thing, a small thing.
Contrasted to imagination is creativity. Creativity is when something arises from nothing. Creativity is not bound by the past. Creativity is not a function of thought.

In imagination there is thought, in creativity there is just a meditative silence and from that something happens. So, creativity is of great value, imagination is of no value.

When you are silent and then there is a sudden realization that is called creativity. When you are absolutely still and from that stillness there is an explosion of movement, that is called creativity. You suddenly draw something, write something down, you paint something or you sing something; that is of great value because it is creative.

Imagination is repetition, creativity is freshness.

So, if you are asking that imagination is important, then no. Use the right word. Creativity is important, not imagination.

Listener 2: Do the word right and wrong exist?

Speaker: No, not at all. See right and wrong are all standards set by people according to their convenience. What is right today will be wrong tomorrow. Even today what is right at one place is wrong at another place.

Listener 3: Opinions?

Speaker: Opinions. In United States, homosexuality is legitimate in few states and in few other states it is illegal. There you have the option that every state can have its own laws. Tomorrow it will not be so. In the same United States slavery based on race and color used to be alright and we all know Lincoln had to fight a great battle for it. What is right today will be wrong tomorrow. What is right in one house, in one religion is wrong in another house, in another religion. So, these are dependent on time and space. They have no value.

Listener 4: Sir, is this line not materialistic “Everything what I move through would be temporary”? Is it so?

Speaker: Were you thinking that your previous questions were materialistic?

Listener 4: Yes

Speaker: No, they were not.

Listener 5: Everything what I go through is temporary. If I learn something today and I don’t revise it, it will go away. Is there anything eternal in my life?

Speaker: In ‘your’ life nothing is eternal but in life, everything is eternal. What you call as ‘your’ life began at a particular day. When you say that you are born and what you call as ‘your’ life, that will end on a particular day but, life is eternal, life goes on. There are oceans, the waves are not eternal. One particular wave rise and fall but, the ocean is eternal. ‘My life’ is like one particular wave. It rises from the ocean and it goes back to ocean but, the ocean is eternal. My life has a particular life span but, life is eternal.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Imagination is not creativity || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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