Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner: Sir, isn’t reading scriptures just an acknowledgment of knowledge? Why should one read scripture, if one can learn from life itself?
Acharya Prashant: It totally depends on you, rather than the scripture. It is not about whether or not scriptures are useful. It is about what you want from the scripture. If you want knowledge from the scripture, you will get that; but if you want liberation, that’s another thing altogether.
The scripture by itself is in some way powerless— you decide what to make out of it. So, I am neither against nor for scriptures.
If you go to the scriptures with the right intention, they are the biggest blessing that you can ever get. But if the intention itself is ‘mediocre’, ‘tainted’, then what can the poor scripture do? The best it can do is warn you, right at the outset; and many scriptures actually do that.
The first few verses would be warnings and disclaimers — idiots don’t proceed, if you are coming to me without having cultivated a certain detachment then don’t proceed, if you are coming to me with any desire except that of liberation kindly don’t proceed. So, all these warnings are there in advance. But why would you heed them? If you are anyway not carrying the right intention. So, this debate is frivolous. Are scriptures useful? Are they useless? “The right debate must be — what do you want?”
And it has become fashionable these days to say, “Oh! I have not read any scripture.” Does that make you any more qualified or what? In fact, if you are a spiritual teacher and you saying you have not read any scripture that raises questions on your love for the Truth. If you love the Truth and there have been many before you who have loved the Truth; and have written poems in love of the Truth, why do you, so stubbornly refuse to read those poems?
Even when, in common worldly love, when you are in love, don’t you pick up a Ghazal from Ghalib and narrate it to your beloved? Or do you say that I will not read any love poem written by somebody else?
So, if you are in love with Truth, why don’t you read a love poem written by Kabir? What’s it that makes Kabir untouchable to you?
Surely something is fishy somewhere. You are prepared to read all kinds of nonsense. But you are saying, “I will never read Ashtavakra and Kabir and Krishna.” Exactly why are you allergic to Kabir, of all people?
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