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How to deal with social pressure? || Acharya Prashant (2015)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
10 min
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Question: Sometimes when I try to do the work which I really want to do, society opposes me. How can I get rid of all that?

Speaker: When you will really want to do something, then all opposition will be your fuel, the force that will be against you, will become your helper. Circumstances are just that, circumstances; thing that are on the outside. The decision to allow them to become all important is always yours. And remember you will never be found in circumstances that have nothing to do with your being. The louder you cry and complain about your circumstances, the louder rings the question, “Why are you in these circumstances”? The more you say that people around you are horrible, the more I want to ask you, “Why you are living with horrible people?” That makes you appear more horrible than those horrible people. Those people may be horrible because they do not even know that they are horrible. But you claim to be the wise one, why are you still found with them? And then you make a big show of it. And then you raise a hue and cry. You sing aloud of your providence. ( pause ) Why?

The more clearly you state to me that such and such people are inhibiting your freedom , hampering your growth, stealing your joy; the more obliged you become to answer the question then, “Why are you with them”? “If you know things so clearly, then why are you with them”?

I will tell you, why are you with them. You are with them because it helps you create that show. It helps you give your self-esteem a boost. Because you are so corrupted that you want all the benefits that come from their company and parallelly you also want to insult and humiliate them. You take all that can be taken from them and then you sing to the world that they are exploiting you. Who is exploiting whom?

One feels sympathetic with those fellows. Either say clearly that I still do not see anything clearly and I am confused and I do not understand; or if you profess that society, friends and family are weighing you down and you know that clearly. Now you know that they are your enemies really and that is what you are saying. Right? “They are millstone round my neck or the albatross that I am carrying, the monkey on my back”. If that is how you see them, then drop them right now! ( emphatically ) It is a great injustice to them. To be with them when you know that you should not be with them, do not spend a second more there. But you would spend not only seconds but months and years. Because you are the one who is exploiting them and it is such great indecency to be dependent on somebody and to proclaim to the entire world that he is an idiot. Really! You are in debt, first repay the debt.

You have eaten out of his hands and that is the only reason why he can do what he is doing with you. And that is the only reason why you keep tolerating what he is doing with you. But now you have some spiritual spices with you, some wise words, some mental techniques and the poor fellow, the other fellow is just an ordinary man. He does not understand all this but what he knows is that you have been dependent, what he knows is that your actions are still fundamentally the same. So just because now you have a different vocabulary, he will not accept that you are a different person. He knows you. Friends and family do not drop from the skies, they have been with you, they have seen your past and they know your tendencies. They know your games very well as you know their games. They know what you are doing right now is a spiritual game. They will not be taken in so easily. And it frustrates, the entire world thinks that I am a wise man. And because I am a wise man, come and give me gifts, come and feed me. Like the Brahmins used to demand, now it is everybody’s obligation to both feed me and also be dominated by me.

( sarcastically )

“I will be the judge, I will tell what is right what is wrong, but I will be dependent on you for my self-image, for my self-worth, for company and of course for my food. In both physical and mental ways I will remain dependent on you but I am a spiritually evolved man so you should not mess with me. When you feed me you should say ‘thank you’ “.

Why should the world accept this nonsense? Why should your friends accept this nonsense? You may have become holy in your own eyes but they see your actions. And there is no holiness in your actions. They may not know your holiness but what they know is that your actions are still the same. You may have changed your words but they arise from the same soil.

In fact, earlier it was just ignorance, now it is both ignorance and deception. Earlier you were just ignorant, now you also want to fool them that you are not ignorant. You want to be rewarded for that. You want them to come and touch your feet. You want them to listen to you. You will declare that I am the harbinger of truth and these rascals, they impede my way. So innocently you ask, “There are things that I really want to do but the society prevents me”.

What is that society? Who chose that society? Why are you in that society?

What are you taking from that society? Do strangers come to bug you?

No, they come to you because you are indebted and the debt is only growing with each day. You have no intentions even to repay that debt and get free. You live in their house, you take their money, you take their name, you take security from them and then you have the face to abuse them. You want to pull yourself up by pushing them down. It is good game, tell the entire world, “I am so wonderful but the society, ah! (sarcastically) I was born at the wrong time and place. My seat is among the Buddhas”.

When sons complain to their fathers, I have sometimes spoken to the fathers and I feel more for the fathers than for the complaining sons. When wives complain of husbands, I have sometimes spoken to the husbands and my heart goes out to the husbands.

Listener: Sir, we have consumed so much that now it is almost impossible to pay back.

Speaker: At least do not consume any more. At least honestly, do what is within your capacity. I may be indebted but what if I keep consuming more and more from them. And the more I consume, the more I spit at them. Now this is quite a scene. And it starts showing up when you really want to get free.

We have a student here, he used to travel in the car given by his family. He sees something and now he has been using public transport. And I know of other people also who will take all the privileges and cars and everything and then say that… This is dishonest!

Yes when you are a kid then the parents invest in you without your permission but after a point it is a mutual agreement. The kid very well knows that I am being invested in, out of some expectation. Till the point you do not know why the parents are feeding you, it is all alright. But after a point if you see that their actions are not coming from love, but from hopes and expectations. Then how can you allow the debt to mount. And in case of adults, it is always well-known to both the parties. Friends for example are not friends without any reason; they fulfill each other’s needs. Now you have no reason, no justification to complain that my friends are bothering me.

The question that I ask you is, “Why are they your friends at all”? “Why are you found with them at all”? Except that little child nobody can say that I was indebted without my permission. Not only are you well-informed, in fact you beg for all that you get. Nothing comes to you without your notice. Husbands are complaining against their wives. Don’t you know what all you extract from her; in what all ways you exploit her? Alright, you cannot do much about what may have happened in the past. But what if you are continuing with your old ways even now? We cannot undo the past and that is not been demanded. Have some sense of gratitude if you are living in somebody’s home, say ‘thank you’. You have not been held captive, right? He has not physically chained you. If you are so much troubled by him, walk out! ( emphatically ) But till the day you are breathing in his premises, kindly do not abuse him. Till the day you are eating out of his plate, keep saying ‘thank you’. There is nothing else that you can say.

Anyone here who wants to say, he has friends that he did not make? Anybody here?

You maintain your friends, you maintain your relationships. You spend time with them, you wish them on their birthdays. You call them up, occasionally, often and then you say that they are the ones who are… ( smiles )

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