Helplessness of the Guru

Acharya Prashant
4 min readJul 15, 2021

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

Acharya Prashant: In some sense, it is very cruel to be a Teacher, absolute helplessness one experiences, one feels like asking, “Why does one have to inflict daily wounds, rather carnage upon himself?”

You know what is it to be a Teacher, to know everything and have power over very little, you can see but you cannot act on the other’s behalf? The admission and the action has to come from the other and it is very cruel, to know, to see, and yet not have the power to translate the seeing into action.

You can tell someone, “Kid, this is the path of destruction, leave it!” But you cannot forcefully pick the kid up and take her away. You see these things happening in front of you all the time, and can’t stop them, you can’t stop them because fellows have to live their own lives, you cannot live on their behalf, you cannot get into their mind, their body and soul, and start living as if you are them, you cannot give them an ideal script.

Isn’t it a bizarre thought?

To live on somebody’s behalf, life cannot be outsourced. The coach cannot play on behalf of the player. It is extremely frustrating.

I was six years old, my sister Pragya was three, and my younger brother was being born, mother was in the maternity ward, so we two kids were having good fun, we had been relieved from school for a month because mother had gone to another city, to be admitted for the delivery and it was a caesarian and all, a little complicated.

So, these two kids would be playing and fighting the entire day, and I was playing with my sister and I broke her arm, just casual kid’s play, I didn’t intend to, I didn’t even hit her hard, she got a fracture in the arm, she was three, and now I was very guilty. I had not deliberately caused it, but it happened, and it happened once earlier as well. I was chasing her, she entered the kitchen and hot boiling kadhi (an Indian curry) fell over her, and she had burns all over the body, she recovered fully, but I had that memory as well and now the fracture. So, it was a shock to my consciousness.

Now, she had the plaster on her arm, from the same hospital and her hand would itch now, under the plaster, and since…

Acharya Prashant