A pre-scripted, boring and dead future

Acharya Prashant
7 min readJun 23, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

A man and a nail had a conversation. The nail said, “I have often wondered during my years, sticking here in this panel what my fate is to be.” The man said, “Latent in your situation, maybe a tearing out with pliers, a burning of wood, the rotting of the plank, so many things.” Said the nail, “I should have known better than to ask such foolish questions. Nobody can foresee the future, let alone a variety of them, all so unlikely.” So, the nail waited until someone else came along, someone who would talk intelligently and not threaten him.
~Sufi Story

Questioner (Q): While reading this story, I related myself with nail who is stuck in this situation. So, what this story means?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Self-deception, our refusal to accept the futility of our ways. As long as you are a nail, as long as you have made yourself into a nail, as long as you look at yourself as a nail, which is again to say that as long as you are a nail, what else is your future? What else is your future? The future is pre-scripted, the future is predetermined. A nail can have no future other than what the man told her off. The wood would rot and that’s your future, pliers would pull you out and that’s your future. That’s what you have lived as and therefore your future is already ascertained. It is a dead-end, you have shut down all possibilities for yourself.

The way you have been living, it is already assured what your future is going to be. But the nail does not want to swallow the bitter facts of her life, so she says, “Oh, this man is so foolish! He is talking of unlikely things. I would rather wait for somebody else who comes to me and talks of things less unpleasant.” If you have put yourself on a road that goes to Chennai and you are determined not to leave that road, if you are tied to that road, committed to that road, wedded to that road, is it…

Acharya Prashant