IIT Bombay: How to be liberated while alive?

Acharya Prashant
5 min readJun 11, 2022

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

Questioner (Q): What is the difference between death and liberation? How can we be liberated while alive?

Acharya Prashant (AP): These are two very different things in the sense that they happen to different entities.

You are driving your car and there is a point that you must reach. But you are, as usual, drunk. So, you bang the car, and the car is no more in a shape, in a position to move any further. This is death — the death of the car. You are just left frustrated. You haven’t died, but it is just that without the car you belong nowhere. You cannot move. Somehow your configuration is such that your two legs can be used only to press the accelerator and the clutch and the brake; those legs cannot be used to walk. Somehow that is the way you are constituted. So, if the car is gone, you are gone. Your journey is gone. That is death — the death of the car, and death of the possibility, the potential that you could have reached your destination.

What is liberation? Liberation is when you reach your destination using the car. And having reached your destination using the car, you find the car does not hold the same meaning as it used to. The car was tremendously important as a tool, as a vehicle carrying you to your destination. But once the destination is reached, the car becomes quite unimportant. That is liberation. Now you are liberated from being attached to the car. Now you are liberated from being identified with the car. Liberation belongs to you. Death belongs to the car. You are liberated from two things simultaneously: one, distance or separation from the destination; second, confinement to the car.

And these two are one and the same thing. As long as there is separation from the destination, there has to be an attachment to the car. These two go hand-in-hand, obviously. Because if you are separate from the destination, then you will have to be identified with the car. Only then can you reach the destination, right? If you are still away from the point you want to reach, then you better be alert towards the vehicle, no?

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