Either go completely through the pain, or disown the pain

Acharya Prashant
3 min readMay 10, 2020

This is from the Avadhuta Upanishad: ‘When the results of actions set in motion are exhausted, the habitual usage also ends. This will not cease even with repeated meditation unless such actions are exhausted.’

So, the question is, ‘Is there no way out? What is meant by exhausted?’

Exhausted means that all the pent up, suppressed energy comes into motion, takes a release but this is the most painful, mechanical and time-consuming way of getting rid of your burden, the Prarabdha Karma (result of past actions which is ready to come in effect).

It is like saying that your palm is kept over a burning piece of coal and you can get relief only when all the latent energy of the coal is exhausted.

It is the most painful, unintelligent and time-consuming way of coming to end of suffering. And even in this process, coming to the end of suffering, coming to exhaustion is possible only if no fresh fuel is added to the fire.

It is possible only if one has the patience and the faith to bear all the results of his previous karma without creating new cause-effect cycles; without adding to his inventory of more unspent fuel.

If the fellow has so much intelligence and patience and discretion that he can sit through the ordeal of the coal consuming his hand without creating more ripples and fresh karma-phal (result of actions), and if the fellow actually has so much patience and intelligence, then why would he sit through the torture?

He would rather get up and walk away!

What does it mean to get up and walk away from the unexhausted fuel, from the unspent residue of your previous karma? What does it mean to do that?

It means that you’re no longer attached to the coal.

Remember, the coal does not come to burn your palm. You’re the one to go to the coal, keep your hand over it, grab it and allow it to burn you, pierce you, torment you.

Walk away from the coal. That’s an easier way.

Why not wait for the coal to get exhausted?

It can be a pretty big lump of coal. It can take a pretty long time getting exhausted. Do you want to wait and keep…

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