IIT Kanpur: If you want to be like them, pay the price they paid
The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner: I am very inspired by Swami Vivekananda. How can I challenge my conditioning, reject distractions, and maintain continuity with the scriptures?
Acharya Prashant (AP): You have a giant no less than Swami Vivekananda to get your answers from. See what he did: he lived by his conviction. Merely being impressed by somebody or impressed with something is not sufficient. It might be alright just as a beginning, but only as a beginning. It does not take one far on its own.
If something impresses you as being true and valuable, then the onus is upon you to now bring that thing into your life. Otherwise, it is a strange situation. How can you call something true and still live in a way quite opposite to it? If Swami Vivekananda felt that the great teachings of Vedanta need to reach the masses, then he very vigorously went about propagating the message of Vedanta, so much so that his zeal carried him beyond the borders of not merely this country but actually this continent. It was not very easy to sail to America those days, and if you read the description of how he managed it and what all he had to go through before that famous and historical address in Chicago, you will learn something.
In fact, there is no bigger betrayal to oneself than not living by one’s deepest convictions. You see, there are people who don’t have any convictions at all; they are rolling stones. There is not even ideology in their life, let alone Truth. They use thought just to get their desired object; they never think about the subject at all. Most people belong to this category.
Then there are a few who are indeed certain of a few things. These people are rare. But even among these people who are convinced of something, rare is the one who displays the honesty and the courage to actualize his conviction into action. Otherwise, you would meet a lot of people who, at the concept level, mentally, would be absolutely convinced of this or that, but their lives would bear no trace of that conviction. That is what you have to guard against. That is the only way to challenge your conditioning, as you have asked, and that is the only way to maintain continuity…