Is there a real difference between one and the other?

Acharya Prashant
5 min readJan 17, 2020

All that one gives to others, one gives to one’s self.
If this truth is understood who will not give to others?

~ Sri Raman Maharshi

Question: In this statement, Raman Maharshi is saying that giving to others is giving to oneself, but the mind discriminates between ‘I’ and ‘the other’ and always works towards giving to oneself and does not care much about others.

How can one see that the other is the same as self?

Acharya Prashant:

The other is not the same as self.

The other makes the self what the self appears to be, and the self creates the other, that the self sees.

It’s not as if there is no distinction between self and the other. Their proper relationship has to be understood.

All that is material is created by the environment, simple thing. Marx would happily give his consent to this. All that is material is a product of the environment. When you call the other, ‘the other’, do you look at the other as some kind of consciousness? This very concept of ‘otherness’, is it a material concept or a conscious concept? Where do you find separateness — in the material world or elsewhere?

It is in the material world that there are objects. In fact, wherever you find an object, you must know that the world is material.

Objects are a characteristic of the material world. What is an object defined by? Shape, color, size and most importantly — it’s boundary. If an object is not delimited, you cannot even call it ‘an object’.

So when you say, “‘I’ and ‘the other’,” you are talking of two different entities, and both these entities are carrying their names, form, shapes, sizes, and boundaries. They necessarily need to have boundaries for them to be separate. So you are talking of two material entities.

When you say, “I and the world”, or “I versus the other,” you are only talking of two material entities. And all that is material, we said, is a product of the environment. If all that is material is a product of the environment, then you who are material are surely a product of the other because the other is the environment.