How to be a 'non-doer’?

Acharya Prashant
4 min readFeb 3, 2020

Somebody asks Raman Maharishi, “It is an established rule that so long as there is the least idea of ‘I am the doer’, self-knowledge cannot be attained. But is it possible for an aspirant who is a householder, to discharge his duties properly without this sense?”

Sri Raman Maharishi says:

“As there is no rule that action should depend upon a sense of being the doer, it is unnecessary to doubt whether any action will take place without a doer, or an act of doing.”

“Although the officer of a government treasury may appear, in the eyes of others, to be doing his duty attentively and responsibly all day long, he will be discharging his duties without attachment, thinking ‘I have no real connection with all this money’, and without a sense of involvement in his mind. In the same manner a wise householder may also discharge without attachment the various household duties which fall to his lot according to his past karma, like a tool in the hands of another.”

“Action and knowledge are not obstacles to each other.”

Acharya Prashant: Look at the example the Maharishi gives — an officer working in the government treasury, and therefore handling a lot of money. What is his relationship with that money? Why is the officer fit to be quoted as an example by the Maharishi? Because he does not intend to consume that money. He is dealing with it but does not want to consume it. He has no hopes from it. He has no expectations.

He says, “Fine, I am dealing with it, but it is not going to go to my home. It is not going to end in my pocket. Not even one rupee out of this can be spent by me, on my own person.” That’s what.

Non-doership is intimately linked to what you intend to do with your actions — what is it that you want out of your actions, what is the intention behind all your actions.

The more you intend to act so that you may gratify yourself with consumption, the more deeply you will remain the doer, which is the false doer.

The officer in the example does not intend to siphon off money. We hope so! He is Maharishi’s officer! He does not intend to take it all to his home and offer it to his wife. Or does he? And therefore, he can work all day in his quietude.

Acharya Prashant