NIT Trichy: We exist, and we do not

Acharya Prashant
16 min readOct 9, 2022

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

Questioner (Q): Sir, it is pretty evident that I exist and you exist, but you have also stated that the ego does not exist. So, when someone calls you Acharya Prashant and you reply, isn’t that an identification that reflects an ego?

Acharya Prashant (AP): It is a thing that is useful to the other.

Q: Yeah, it has a utility for the other. Would you, in a spiritual context, make an absolute statement that “I am not Acharya Prashant, I am something else”?

AP: Not to you. To you, I will say something that is useful to you. The absolute can be uttered only to the Absolute. The Absolute and the false cannot engage in a conversation.

So, that is why even when the Truth has to engage with the ego, it uses words. Remember that every single word represents a concept and is, therefore, in a sense, flawed and false. But to engage with the ego one has to have an identity, one has to use words, and one has to act in a bodily way; otherwise, even the body is false.

Q: But who is that one? Isn’t that one again the ego?

AP: Which one?

Q: When you said one has to engage in an inward conversation with the ego, who is that one who has to engage in a conversation with the ego? Isn’t that one again nothing but the ego?

AP: That one is the one the ego has been craving for. The ego is the questioner, right? Because the ego does not have the solutions and answers. So, there is something that the ego desperately wants; there does exist something beyond the ego. That is the one.

Q: So, if the questioner is ego, then the answerer, too, is ego?

AP: The answerer is the ego, yes.

Q: Is there an observer who is behind the questions and the answers?

AP: No. You should be asking, if the questioner is the ego and the answerer is the ego, then is there a way the ego itself can help the ego? That should be the question, and the answer there is yes.

The Truth is absolute but not useful because the ego cannot touch the Truth, the ego cannot communicate with the Truth.