Why does one get trapped in false spirituality? || Acharya Prashant, on ‘The Fountainhead’ (2019)

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Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! People’s faces and vocal tonality show what they mean in actuality. But people like Toohey (one of the principal characters in Ayn Rand’s novel ‘The Fountainhead’) have control on their emotions like an actor. They dumb down our intellect using emotions.

How to recognise such people and their intentions? They make my logic feel so low with their wordplay that sometimes even I start doubting my logic. I may be able to counter them sitting at home, but in social situations it gets much more difficult.

In groups they will turn everyone against me if I speak against them. They are not saints, so there has to be some fundamental defects in their ways.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Ankit(the questioner), it surprises me as to how most of you are unable to see through Toohey’s mischief and all the adulterations in his sentences. In fact it would be a good exercise. Pick up anything from Toohey, and you should be able to clearly underscore those parts of his speech where he has played the trick, where he has performed the sleight of hand.

Your inability to call him out, or spot the exact trick is coming from your lack of familiarity with the Scriptures.

What Toohey is using is scriptural language to justify his petty ends, but if you are conversant really with the Scriptures, then you will see where he is deviating from the Scriptures.

It’s very easy to figure out. You will be able to pinpoint the exact words in those little sentences where he plays his deft trick.

He is going alright, alright, alright, and now……here, here. Here he has pulled a fast one, like the magicians do on stage. They keep demonstrating everything to you, as if the entire procedure is quite transparent.

“So this is the table, and the box. And now I am putting the girl in the box.” In fact he will call somebody from the crowd to verify. “See she is the real girl. Touch her, hold her, she is real.”

“Is this the real girl?”

“It’s a real girl.”

“Is this is the real box?”

“It’s a real box.”

“Is this the real axe?”

“It’s a real axe.”

Now the girl goes into the box and then the magician chops off the box with the axe.

And you say, “Oh my god! The girl is gone.”

And the next moment the girl re-appears along with four rabbits. And you say, “Wow! How did it happen?” You must read the book of sorcery. That’s the way to beat the magician- read his book.

Just as I said that we do not know much about Roark’s (the protagonist in Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountainhead’) past, but he surely had some training in Spirituality. Similarly Ayn Rand has very neatly hidden the fact that Toohey too must have had some training in Scriptures.

He must have gone to some Teacher, stayed there for a while, then run away, or kicked out. These people are called as “Yogabhrasht.” So they learn something from the Teacher but not the Real thing. But they manage to learn just about enough to hoodwink the commoners. Then they can talk very-very convincingly, because at least they have learnt the words. Now they can go out and fool the commoners.

Toohey has managed to hoodwink you because Toohey has gone deeper into the Scriptures than you have. See Scriptures are helping even Toohey.

If you want to beat Toohey, then go into the Scriptures deeper than Toohey has.

Just as one is to write the ‘Making of Howard Roark’, if one were to compose the ‘Making of Ellesworth Toohey’, it would definitely-definitely include a shady Toohey running away in the dead of the night from the Teacher’s place. Or being kicked out.

Such people become very dangerous, because they know something and that makes them convincing to the outsiders. They will say, “I know the inside -story. I have been there. I will tell you the real thing. I know. I was with the Teacher for five years.”

Or sometimes they may say, “No, no. I was never with the Teacher. It’s my own download from the skies. It’s all original.”

Toohey anyway does not believe in any Teacher-like authority, he only believes in mass commonality. If you ask him, he will say, “All men are products of their times and spaces. No one is special. Let nobody try to act unique or awakened. There is nothing called ‘individuality’.”

The man who speaks in Scriptural parlance, the moment you come across him, be very alert.

He would either be of great benefit to you, or he poses a great danger to you.

If he is Real, then he will enable your Liberation.

But if he is not Real, then he will himself become your greatest bondage.

So if you want to see through Toohey, go deeper into the Scriptures. That’s the only way.

If you want to see through your inner Toohey, go deeper into the Scriptures. That’s the only way.

Otherwise you will keep getting ruled by your inner Toohey.

Watch the session video: Why does one get trapped in false spirituality? || Acharya Prashant, on ‘The Fountainhead’ (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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