In the right battle, defeat is victory

Acharya Prashant
12 min readJan 9, 2021

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

Questioner (Q): My question is about renunciation. I find within me the response about what I have to do, like renunciation and poverty. I see myself inside but somehow I am fighting very strongly with the opposite in the opposite direction. And I never find the bravado to really do it. It’s not a question, it’s just… I don’t know. When I will be ready to really do this renunciation I know that I have to do?

Acharya Prashant (AP): What is it that you want to renounce?

Q: I mean the sense world. To care about external, to care about the material world. Because I’m living in the material but I am not really there. Some part in myself doesn’t believe in this anymore. So I am like repeating something in which I don’t believe anymore and I see myself no meaning in anything. But at the same time, I don’t have the strength to say that it’s enough. I don’t know…

AP: What do you mean by this word ‘poverty’?

Q: Because I understand that this renunciation for making your Ego dissolve somehow, it’s also about to make yourself little. In poverty, you don’t have anything for others to look at you and see, “oh wow.” Maybe I should not need to be a hero. Maybe because my Ego is strong, maybe I have to work cleaning the streets and be happy doing this. I don’t know. This is for me is poverty. Not this. I like very much the San Francis of Assisi, and I understood why some people, saint people, go in this way. Because it’s the direction towards God somehow. The other, it’s Ego, is in the opposite direction. I don’t know, I saw inside of me but it’s so strong the other tendencies. I don’t know when I will be ready. How many lives or…

AP: It may not really require many lives. There is the direction of renunciation, and then there is the direction of possession and identification and attachment. Obviously, you must do your best to decide in the favor of the right direction. But as you said, many times it would happen that your old tendencies would overpower you, compel you to identify with the world and feel one with it. So two things — One, even if your defeat is to come, let it be a hard-fought defeat.