On Advaita Vedanta: If you are to be loyal to the Truth, learn to be disloyal to yourself

Acharya Prashant
6 min readApr 21, 2022

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

Questioner (Q): I see myself rooted in habit, and I procrastinate real work by thinking that the real happens on its own. Please talk about breaking habits and living a more aware life.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Habits will remain. As long as you are alive, habits will remain. Do you know what is your most primitive habit? The breath, the heartbeat — these are the most primitive habits. They will remain.

Why did Prakriti (physical nature) give habits to us? It gave habits so that certain things can happen without thought. It is for the sake of efficiency. Habits in Prakriti are a time-saving measure. There are so many things that you do out of habit. If you do not do them out of habit, you will have to think over them and that will waste your time. That is the logic of Prakriti. Prakriti says, “Because these things have to be anyway done, why mull over them? Why keep pondering? Why involve decision-making where there can be only one decision?”

So, Prakriti has given you habits. She has given you habits so that you continue physically. But do look at the rationale of habits again: where there can be only one good decision, why spend time taking the decision? Let the decision be automatic. This automaticity is called habit. Do you see how the argument is shaping up? I repeat, where there can be only one right decision, why think of the alternatives? That is habit.

Be habituated. Habits are good if you know what that one right decision is. Then habits are what you call as thoughtlessness or transcending thought or nirvikalpata, choicelessness. Be fully habituated. If you do not have habit, what do you have? You have choice, right? If you do not have habit, then how do you operate? Then you operate using your consciousness and the faculty of decision-making, by weighing the pros and cons, by looking at this alternative and that one, and then you come to a decision. That is what you call normal decision-making. In habit there is no decision-making involved; you just do it.

So, habit is not the problem; the problem is that we are habituated to the wrong things. Habits should…

Acharya Prashant