How to identify the fool?

Acharya Prashant
8 min readFeb 3, 2021

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

Acharya Prashant (AP): Shri Krishna tells Arjun very early on in his epic discourse — “All that is ever happening is due to the three Gunas (attributes) of Prakriti (material nature). Yet, the foolish one thinks that he is the doer.”

The same teaching is reflected in the Upanishadic verse at hand. Except that Gita is a little more elaborate about who really is the doer. The Upanishad is saying, “You are not the doer.” Krishna is a little more elaborate. He says, “You are not the doer. Prakriti is the doer.”

All doing is in the domain of the false ‘I’ Doing happens only when there is a need to do. All our doing is Sakam (with a selfish motivation), arising out of need, or arising out of desire. Here, need and desire are taken as synonymous. So, the false ‘I’ acts, because it feels that there is a requirement that can be met by acting. “Doing will take me somewhere” — says the ego. And, it wants to reach somewhere, because it is convinced that it is not alright where it currently is. So, it says, “I must reach somewhere.”

Now, the more you act in order to reach somewhere and gain completion, the more you convince yourself by way of your action that you are indeed the incomplete one.

So, incompleteness is a tendency than a thought. An incompleteness becomes a very certified thing when it turns into your action, your life.

You may say that you were acting in order to gain completion. But, even if you are acting in order to gain completion, you have still confessed that you are incomplete. And therefore, an action arising out of a point of incompletion only furthers the incompletion. Though ostensibly, it carries the purpose of completion. And, that is why the ego remains in its self-created trap and loop, tries hard to break out, but does not succeed. Just as a man in a quagmire sinks only deeper, the more he tries to find his way out by throwing about his limbs. That’s the situation of the ego.

It is a fundamental falseness. And, the more it acts from its own position, the more reinforced it gets. Its own purpose is defeated. Therefore, it is being called a ‘fool’. What else can you call an entity that acts against itself? Isn’t that a very pithy…

Acharya Prashant