Most spirituality is either self-delusion or self-deception

Acharya Prashant
4 min readMay 1, 2021

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

Questioner: My question is not about concept, it’s more about attitude. I see in the spiritual community, normally we spend a lot of time talking about thoughts, about god, about concepts, about the subjectivity of things and when we go back to our daily life, we just do as everybody does. Maybe now we do two hours of yoga practice or little changes, but the things that we really use every day; for example, diet, we just ignore and do as everybody does. And when we quest people in the spiritual community about that, they use spiritual excuses like Advaita Vedanta, when they say everything is God, everything is Brahman or Iswara. So, there is no difference between me and the chicken on my plate, it’s just energy, or when they start to study more and look mitahara, jnana yoga or dhairya, karuna, ahimsa; then they go to Lacto-vegetarian diet and forget about the small things that happen like the dairy and eggs and just follow what everybody does and don’t go beyond. I just want to listen to your words.

Acharya Prashant: I will just repeat what you have said. I will repeat in probably more colorful ways but that’s what…

This is spirituality — to observe our real ways, that’s how we are. You know in India, here we say that Maya, you know Maya? Of course, you were referring to Advaita Vedanta. So Maya is like a bull. The ones who are not spiritual or not religious at all, Maya hits them, tosses them up with her — Oh! she has to be a cow then — with her horns, she takes them head-on and tosses them up with her horns!

And then the ones who are religious or spiritual, those who know all kinds of Yoga and Vedanta; they are the ones who go past this animal. And as they go past this animal, she tosses them up with her hind legs, right? And it’s probably the spiritual ones who get beaten up more savagely. The beast has a special liking for the spiritualists.

An ordinary man remains a victim of Maya, right? And never claims that he has been able to conquer Maya or understand Maya. The spiritual man is hit and defeated doubly. He remains as much a victim of Maya as the ordinary folk but with the added confidence that he has been able to transcend the…