Any and every image you make of yourself is an ugly image

Acharya Prashant
8 min readNov 18, 2021

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

Question: How do I find a balance between my personal goals and dreams in life with my family’s expectations from me? How can one fulfill both without compromising on either?

Acharya Prashant (AP): How can I find a balance between my personal goals and dreams in life with my family’s expectations from me? How can I fulfill both without compromising on either?

There is a slave, and there are two men who are fighting over the right to own that slave. The slave is greatly interested in the fight, the slave wants to know who will win. The slave sometimes even wants to support one party over the other. There are these two men who are quarreling, who are fighting, it’s like a tug-of-war, and the slave thinks that he is asking a very meaningful question. ‘Who should be my master? To whom should I be enslaved?’ What would you recommend to that slave?

You have asked, ‘How do I find a balance between my personal goals and dreams with my family’s expectations from me?’ I am telling you that the two masters are trying to enslave you. What must you do? Should you choose one over the other, or rather see that whichever way I go it’s a life of slavery? So if I have any wisdom, then I must not choose any of these masters.

There is a man who is pulling your right arm, and there is another man who is pulling your left arm. How does it matter whether you go left or right? How does it matter? Whichever way you go you remain a slave. Do you think that your personal goals and desires are any bit less of slavery than meeting somebody else’s expectations? What do you mean by personal goals and personal desires? What do you mean by that?

Listener (L): Doing what I want to do, doing what I like, these are my personal desires and goals.

AP: Whatever you want to do, where does it come from? When you say that I want to choose between my dreams and my family’s expectations, tell me that where have your dreams come from? Did you have these dreams when you were born? Did you have these dreams when you are five years old?

L: No, Sir.

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