The root cause of all problems || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Questioner: Sir, we have so many problems in life. Only the small problems keep us occupied. We concentrate on them and forget about the major issues of our life.

Acharya Prashant: Not really. Major or minor that does not matter. What is major for one will be minor for the other. Even for the same person, a problem that appears minor today will start appearing major tomorrow and vice-versa. That will happen. We are not talking about major and minor problems. We are not saying that we are concentrating only on the minor problems and forgetting the major problems.

I repeat: we are not saying that we are concentrating only on the minor problems and forgetting the major problems.

We are saying that the root of all problems whether major or minor is one.

We are saying that the root of all problems whether major or minor or whatever nature; is one. And we do not look at that root. Instead we occupy ourselves finding solutions to the secondary and tertiary problems. The primary is one and we do not look at that. In some sense we do not want to look at that because as you said, ‘Problems keep us occupied.’

Mind wants something to be busy with. For the mind it is a nightmare if all the problems are resolved. The mind will say, ‘What will I do then? How will I remain alive? I remain alive only when I am struggling. I remain alive only when I am in conflicts.’ So problems are like toys for the mind. Problems are the mind’s fodder.

If problems are not there mind starts feeling suffocated. It in fact, creates problems for its own survival.  Mind would create problems for its own survival. Have you not seen people who start feeling uneasy if there is nothing to be tensed about? There are many such people. In some sense we all are like that. That is the major problem.

What is the major problem?

That we need problems. That is the mother problem; that is the primary problem, and we do not look at that.

See, everybody has some pain points or other. Right? In fact, multiple pain points. Everybody has some confusion or the other. We all have strife and conflicts in life. Don’t we have that? Where does all that come from? Why do we need that? Let me put it this way. Is that necessary? All the stuff that we have filled our life with, is that really necessary? Can’t we do without that? It is not necessary actually. We can still do without it, yet we ask for it.

There is nobody to whom problems come. We ask for the problems. And when I say, ‘We’, I mean the mind; the ego specifically. We ask for problems. Otherwise, how is it possible that every single living being is besotted with some or the other set of problems? How is it possible? It is only possible because we want problems. We beg for problems. We beg for suffering and pain.

I meet people from eighty years old to eighteen years old. And people have their own dilemmas, doubts, conflicts, sufferings and problems. Till date I have not met even one person who himself is not responsible for his problems. If you claim that I am suffering deeply, it only means that you deeply want to suffer otherwise, suffering is not possible. We invite suffering. We ask for it. We beg for it. We beg for it and that is the central problem. And we don’t look at that.

In fact, trying to solve a problem is like justifying its existence. There is no need to solve the problem. One only needs to ask that does it need to be here. You uninvite the problem, and then there is no need to solve it.

How has the problem come to you? Because you have invited it. You don’t need to solve it.

You don’t need to solve the problem, you need to solve the mind that attracts the problem.

The mind is the central problem and we don’t look at that. We find great pleasure, great satisfaction and great doer-ship in solving problems. We praise somebody when we say that he is a great problem solver. If somebody is a good problem solver, it only means that he is opening himself up, to receive more and more problems.

No problem comes to you without your consent. Problems come to you because you need problems to maintain your identity.

What does the ego say, ‘I am somebody.’ That’s the statement of ego. I am somebody. How can I be somebody if I don’t do anything? Who am I? An achiever. What does an achiever do? He achieves against all odds. Now what will the achiever have to do? He will have to have odds in order to be an achiever. You understand odds? Problems.

Life is not a problem. Will you remember this? Life is not a problem. In fact, there is nothing in life which is a problem. Situations are there, circumstances are there, problems are never there. You make something into a problem for the sake of your own petty ego.

Tell me, what is the primary problem?

We want problems; that is the primary problem. Solve that.

Listener : Sir, sometimes there are some situations in which we do not know what to do.

AP : Yes, we don’t know what to do because there is something that we want to get. How to get it is what we don’t know.

But when I am complete, then nothing is a problem. Everything is happening all around me, but it cannot take away anything from me. My basic existence is not at stake. I will not be shivering. I know that there is something valuable that I already have with me and it can’t be taken away. So the situations are there of this and that nature, but that’s alright.

I don’t have a job. It’s alright. That does not reduce anything from my worthiness. Somebody has rejected me, it’s not a problem because no rejection can make me feel bad about myself. I don’t have money, it is alright. I emerged from the soil, and existence will provide enough to feed me at least.

Nothing is a problem.

 -Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: The root cause of all problems | YouTube

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