How to ask the right question?

Acharya Prashant
8 min readNov 15, 2020

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

Question: My question is: what to ask and how to ask? What is the question? My only quest is: what to seek?

Acharya Prashant (AP): It is a beautiful situation. If one sees and admits forthrightly that there is a seeking but no clear image of the object to be sought — it a very honest point to begin with. Mostly, people begin with a pre-conceptualized image of what they want.

When you are already so adamant about what you want, then you cannot get anything other than you want.

What you want is just your own projections.

So, one stands at a particular place–let’s say this domain, this table is the expanse of the mind. The very question of question arises because one doesn’t like the boundaries, neither does one like much of what is within this expanse. But all that the mind knows is this (indicating the tabular surface). This is the mind — this dimension, this surface. All that the mind knows is this. So it would be arrogant rather preposterous for the mind to talk of anything beyond it.

But the so-called spiritual mind is fond of pointing to something that transcends it; pointing towards the beyond. That is not very wise, that is just a trick of the ego to claim that it knows something beyond the boundary. The fact is — all you know is the surface and the boundary. Beyond the boundary, neither this expanse is there nor are you there. You and the expanse are one.

So, one is at the surface and it offers very little tranquillity, very little peace. That separation, that distance from what one really wants — that is the only enquiry; there can be no other enquiry. Where is that which I want? Apart from that, all enquiries are just enquiries within the surface. Within this, you have very well seen that you are not finding that which can give you peace.

So whenever one talks of enquiry in the spiritual sense, all enquiry is just one question — Peace. No other enquiry is meaningful. One could also say all spiritual enquiries can be reduced to this basic question. Asking, “What is the difference between the two principal types of yoga? What is the difference between karmsanyas and Karmyog? Is Tantra any good? Does the…

Acharya Prashant