Why must you put in so much effort? || Acharya Prashant (2014)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.

Listener 1:  Sir you would have said that very few among us would say, ‘I don’t know.’ But the fact of we even trying is much appreciated sometimes.

Speaker: Yes.

Listener 1: Why is it?

Speaker: You’re right that trying is wonderful. But even in trying there are two types. Two very-very distinct types.

One is that I want to go to Jaipur and I am trying to know the road that goes to Jaipur. So I am asking four, five people about it. ‘How to go to Jaipur? Will this highway take me there? Do I have to take this kind of turn, that kind of turn?’; that is one kind of effort. ‘Trying’ means effort. Now, what I am trying to know? I have already decided that I will go to Jaipur. All I am trying to know is the route. ‘Where do I get to the next gas station? Is the road alright?’ That kind of stuff. Now, is this information that I am trying to gather important at all? When I have already decided that Jaipur is my destination, everything else is insignificant. Is it or is it not?

Listener 2: Yes.

Speaker: I have already decided that I need to murder somebody. Now, all that I am trying to determine now is the means of murder. ‘Should I use a long knife? Should I use an axe? Should I use an AK-47? Should I drop a nuclear bomb?’

(Listeners chuckle).

Now is this question important at all? The motive of murder has already been decided, the rest of the effort is just to substantiate the motive. Are you getting it? Now this effort is what ninety-nine percent of us engage in. We have already deeply frozen our concepts of life and all our effort is just to achieve the goals that we have already frozen for ourselves. This effort is of very little worth because this is not an effort to know the Truth, This is just an effort to achieve what you already have opinionated to be important. ‘My opinions must remain secure.’

There is another kind of effort. That is a far more challenging effort. Only the really courageous ones make that effort. That effort says, ‘I am alright even if the last one, each single one of my beliefs is devastated.’ And that hurts, that really hurts. At least in the beginning it hurts. Ego
thrives on beliefs. Ego thrives on opinions. And it requires tremendous energy to let your core beliefs be challenged, to put your core assumptions to scrutiny. Assumptions about relationships, assumptions about life itself. ‘Is this the way life ought to be lived?’; this is what I call ‘real effort.’ And this kind of effort is praise worthy.

You look at the common man on the streets. You look at the kind of effort he actually makes and the poor fellow is actually struggling day-in and day-out. I was coming to your place. It took me more than two hours twenty minutes to reach here from Noida. Look at it. ‘I have already told myself that Types of effortI must have a good corporate, respectable, traditional job. And that is what I am doing. Every day I
take two hours, one way to commute. Every day I take two hours, to come back.’ This is soul-sapping effort, of no use, no avail. But we will keep on doing it because that is our notion. ‘That is what I did my B.Tech. for. That is what I did my MBA for, to have that kind of a job. Now I have bought this car on E.M.I and I feel so good that I am going to my office driving my car.’ ‘My own car’, which by the way is owned by the bank.

And it is actually a lot of effort. It is a lot of effort! Believe me. But this effort is a wasteful effort, of no use at all. You are struggling for nothing. You are struggling just to maintain your assumptions, so that the world can be agreeable to you, so that your parents can feel proud of you, so that you can have a good wife or husband. ‘Good’, according to your opinions, which obviously is not your opinion but the society’s opinion which you have assimilated. Why struggle so much? What is the point of this trying? We actually spend a lot of energy. But where does all that energy go? What is the point of all that energy?

I had people from my batch who were topper. They dedicated all the energy of their life to being a ‘topper.’ Now the fellow is burning the midnight oil losing weight every night in cramming a subject that he has no affinity for. He gets a C.G.P.A. of 9.5, and then he goes on to do his MBA. I mean the chap could have lived. Right? The C.G.P.A. instead of being 9.5 could have been 8.5 and he could have saved a lot of time and energy to really ‘live.’ But he spent four years doing this and that after doing his B. Tech., the fellow did his MBA.

(Sarcastically) What is the point? All that energy was spent just because you are a ‘good’ boy who has been the class topper, the board topper and now you must be the department topper in IIT as well. When he was in class his mother told him, ‘You must always be the topper.’ So, the fellow is spending all his energy in being a ‘topper.’ But why? What is the point? Chill, relax, sleep. Will not that be far better? And the result of this is that when we are faced with occasions that really require energy, we find ourselves short of energy. Then we can’t do anything because a lot of our effort and energy is being dissipated in meaningless tasks, just to please everybody around. Only to please everybody around you are spending so many hours, so many Kilo Joules. What are you left with?

So let us be all for effort, but let that effort come out of our individuality. We must know what is worth striving for. Effort is wonderful but we must first know where to put our energy. Or is energy so cheap that you will keep wasting it? Mind it, it is your energy, it is your life. Is it so cheap that you will keep wasting it?

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

Watch the session video: Why must you put in so much effort? || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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    1. There are various opportunities to connect to and meet Acharya Prashant. These are:

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