आचार्य प्रशांत आपके बेहतर भविष्य की लड़ाई लड़ रहे हैं
Freedom from compulsive need for company || (2020)

Questioner (Q): Companionship in this journey, Satsang or a community, is difficult to find. When you seek out on this journey, it’s very very difficult to find people with whom you can talk about your experiences.

Acharya Prashant(AP): Yes, yes, yes.

Q: So, it becomes a very lonely conquest. And it is a lonely conquest because eventually, it is a conquest of the self. But, I feel at the beginning that kind of community is very important. Or the more you continue, the more your friends actually also start becoming fewer. Because they don't understand the things that you are saying. So, if you could talk a little bit about that.

AP: It’s a lonely conquest and if you have to carry on the conquest, then you have to conquer loneliness itself. It’s not as if it’s “a lonely conquest”, but “loneliness” is to be conquested. Because if the feeling of loneliness persists, then it will drive you towards the company of undeserving people; and that is exactly opposite to the purpose of spirituality.

When we say that the mind is polluted, corrupted, conditioned and that’s why we need to be spiritual to come to the pure mind, it becomes pertinent to ask, “What corrupted the mind, in the first place?”

The fundamental thing is, of course, the physical body took birth. But, then after that, it is the companionship of others that corrupted us. Is it not? It is the others — others meaning the entire world. The world is the other. It is the others who corrupted us. So, the problem itself is the others.

The others, the otherness that we are carrying within, that itself is the problem.

Now if that otherness is the problem and to solve the problem, we still depend on others, then it hardly solves the problem. In fact, we are just, then, continuing the problem in another name. Therefore, I think one has to be cautious when it comes to companionship in the spiritual journey.

To begin with, yes, probably you require a mate or two because there would be new things, new experiences, and one requires both affirmation and support. So, maybe, yes, you require a person or two around you. But, you know what happens, as you move on, you will slowly find that the very presence of a support group is the hindrance in the movement. So, it goes on dropping.

That however does not mean that one keeps on becoming more and more of a loner. What that means is that the compulsive need for companionship is no more. In fact, now you are more open to companionship because now your relationship with others is not need-based. When we say that we need someone around us, then it’s a thing of need, right? “I require him”, the motive is selfish.

When that selfish motive is no more, then you can freely and selflessly connect to the other.

And that allows you probably to connect with a vast number of people in a very very healthy way. So, it’s not as if the spiritual person becomes a loner, the spiritual person is an outrightly community person.

Think of a Rishi, who is teaching his students and also meeting people who come to visit him. Or think of a Buddha, who has established an entire organization, the Saṃgha. And think of the number of people who are associated with the Saṃgha, and the entire movement that is taking place, thousands of monks and those monks have all to be managed and they are all corresponding with Buddha. And then, there are the general people, who are coming to meet him and seek guidance.

So, you are living in company and community all the time, in a very very healthy way as a spiritual person. So, while it is alright to probably have one or two good friends with whom you share these things. Progressively, since as the self changes, so does the need for company or community and so does the nature of relationships. When we say, Vasudhaiva Kuṭumbakam and such things, ultimately that is not valid for the common worldly man. The common worldly man does not have the Vasudha as his Kuṭumba . Vasudha is the earth, Kuṭumba is the family. The common man has a very small and limited family.

The entire Vasudhā is Kuṭumba only for the spiritual person.

His family is large, very large. It’s a very common refrain against the spiritual pursuit, you know, that if you go the spiritual way, then you will be left totally lonely. So, yeah.

Q: I believe that comes because like you said ‘as the self changes, the nature of relationships also changes.’ Personally, I feel that the love that I experience in a little more awareness is very different from the love that I experienced before that awareness. The aware love does not need me to be buying the other in a relationship or to have expectations. It flows very freely.

And a lot of time, it is very difficult to communicate that kind of love towards the other. And even more difficult to bring the other person to understand, why the confines of a normal relationship cannot encapsulate this love. I cannot give you a label of a friend, a boyfriend or a husband, a mother or a father because I am not feeling that towards you. The love is completely different.

AP: Wonderful! And you know that’s the dilemma, the burden, or the pain that the spiritual person has to willingly bear. Because as you advance in your spiritual dimension, you will find that the ones you love, the ones you relate to, have to be taken along. At least that would be the intention from your side. That might not be the intention from their side.

You will want that. Because you now know that this journey is something really important, worthy. You want others, too, to undertake this journey. But as you will relate to them with this objective, you will meet a lot of resistance, a lot of misunderstanding, a lot of things will happen. And yeah, those things have to be taken.

So, it's quite a colorful journey, you know. It’s not devoid of the entire spectrum, the entire rainbow, all the colors that relationships come with. All those things are present to a spiritual person as well, but in a much more sublime form, in a much more life-giving form. Those things happen.

It’s a very very naïve kind of misperception that the life of the spiritual person is just pristine white, like a white saree or something.

No colors, no blemishes, nothing. One experiences every single color that is available in the spectrum. In fact, the life of the common householder is probably about living in just two or three colors. The spiritual person actually lives in an unbelievable diversity of colors.

Q: The colors are much brighter, too.

AP: The colors are much brighter and several of those colors are abhorrent to the social person. You know, so the social person really does not dare venture into those colors. Some of those colors are like divine gifts. They come only to those who really deserve them. Otherwise, it’s very easy to live your life within a very narrow spectrum and then just pass away. Sixty years, eighty years is not too long a time. You can easily just while it away.

Q: My questions have started dropping.

AP: Good, fine. Nice conversation. And I wish you all the inner help that you might need, the way that is right for you. I recently read about your pursuits and some of your accomplishments, in fact just yesterday, so felt good.

Q: Those pursuits are the things that led me towards the spiritual journey. They created so much dissatisfaction that I had to seek peace somewhere else.

AP: Right, wonderful. As a seeker, as a person, and as an Indian woman, I admire the way you have taken and the distance you have covered. Good!

Q: Thank you, thank you so much!

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