Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Acharya Prashant (AP): You see we are outrageously arrogant when it comes to small things, we are so fond of claiming that which we do not have, but we are absurdly humble when it comes to claiming that which we really have. You don’t have a large house but you would not feel shy of boasting to others that I have a large house and so much money. But it terrifies you no end to admit that you already have enlightenment. There you want to act humble. Why don’t you just admit it?
Listener (L): There have been different definitions of the way enlightened people behave. Others may think that if we are enlightened then why we are not behaving in that way.
AP: Which particular way?
L: That we should have some followers behind us or we should give discourses, activities which enlightened people do.
AP: Do all of that, go ahead. How will that help? You can give as many discourses as you want. How will that help? Or you can dance like Meera. You can even try getting crucified like Jesus. Just as a hobby, you know. (Everyone laughs)
Obviously, you can get resurrected, so there is no real danger. Try all that. Or get your tongue cut-off or eyes gouged out like Mansoor, that is what happens to enlightened people. So, it’s cool.
L: Enlightened people cannot shrug off their responsibilities in the world. If you have a ten-year-old child, you have to look after the child. If you have a family, you have to look after the family. So, the definition of enlightenment misguides the common man. You have to live in a certain way. But what people say is that ‘Enlightenment’ is that you leave everything and become completely merged with God. We have our social obligations and responsibilities, and therefore, probably we are half-enlightened or semi-enlightened.
AP: No, obviously one cannot leave what you’re calling as duties. One surely cannot leave them. What does one leave? When do you leave, anything or anybody? Leaving something is one thing and getting it snatched away from you is another. Right? When do you say that leaving is an act of free will? When can one drop anything? When does that happen? You must have dropped a few…