Stop being a servant to your masters

Acharya Prashant
7 min readSep 21, 2021

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

Questioner: Does serving the Guru with compassion and devotion lead to liberation?

Acharya Prashant:

Liberation is not about serving the Guru. Liberation is about not serving what you serve so much.

You don’t have to be liberated with respect to the Guru. Liberation means getting rid of something, right? You say, “I am liberated ‘from’ something”. What is it that holds you back? What is it that has arrested you? What is it that keeps you in chains? That which you serve.

It is not that stuff on its own, consciously, with volition, pounces upon you to arrest you and enslave you, does that happen? Stuff does not pounce upon you. Stuff does not weave circles around you. We serve stuff. We serve stuff and we plead with it asking it to become our master. Stuff is not eager to capture us and obviously, it cannot be eager to liberate us because stuff has no volition, no consciousness of its own. It is we who are enjoying stuff. We entreaty stuff. We say, “Please, please, come to my life, fill me up and I’ll pay the price”. We serve stuff by paying the price for stuff. So, what is it that we must seek liberation from? That which we serve.

So, now you tell me, what does it mean to serve the Guru?

Do not serve what you have been hitherto serving. Do not serve what you have been serving so far and that is liberation. The moment you stop serving that, it shrivels, it dies down, its hold over you is gone. Its hold over you was only as long as you keep feeding it, which is serving it. It arrests you only as long as you are supporting it. It’s almost like arresting one arm of yours using the other arm.

So, serving the Guru is nothing magical, it only means blocking the supply of service to random, miscellaneous objects of the world. Serving the Guru is just a metaphor, just a way, it’s a trope.

The Guru really does not require your service. If the Guru is really a Guru, what would he do with your service? Your service is in fact, an unnecessary load on him. Almost like the things people frequently come and offer here in the foundation, and I have a small room and all the stuff that people give…