Ego is easily exhausted while compassion provides continuous energy

Acharya Prashant
18 min readApr 27, 2022

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

Question (Q): I want to become more attentive, calmer, and more efficient in my work. It is said that tendencies melt with time, but nothing seems to have changed in me.

Acharya Prashant (AP): When you say, “You want to become more efficient, you want to become more attentive, more calm”, is it not something that you demand for yourself? Something that is in your self-interest? Something that pleases you, furthers your own cause?

You must be able to distinguish between two types of work, two types of activities. When you say that you are doing something in order to ‘fatten your bank balance’ or ‘take care of your family needs’ or ‘gain a particular position in society’ or ‘fulfill your own expectations or the expectations of your friends and acquaintances’ when you work with this objective in mind, then you can have a source of energy, a source of progress that is totally self-centric and this source will serve you well. What you want will be taken care of. If you want to rise ‘high’ and prove a point to the world, then your own ego and the energies of ambition and comparison can easily provide you with the fuel through which you can rise. In fact, those are the only sources from where you can get the energy to rise.

But in your question, if I read it correctly, you are referring to the work that you are doing here, at Advait. If you are talking of becoming calmer in the work of self-transformation, in the transformation of mankind, then the energy cannot come from the objective of self-improvement.

Please understand this very carefully.

When the ‘self’ is the center of all your efforts, and your action and the reinforcement of the self is your primary objective, then the self itself will provide the energy. And you can get a lot of energy from there. Most of the movement you see around yourself, most of the energy of this world, all these people going to their offices, laboring hard, competing, prospering, toiling, coming back, all of that is the energy of the ‘self’. When I say ‘self’ I mean the limited self, the ego. And for these purposes, this energy will serve them well.