Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question: Why has man labelled things as superior and inferior. Why does this division exist?
Acharya Prashant: This division too can be false, useless or a very relevant division. Usually tasks, activities are divided into superior and inferior based on convention, morality, things that have nothing to do with the facts of living. But there is another way, another criterion on which this division, distinction can be made, which is: “Anything that pushes you deeper in suffering is inferior and anything that brings you out of the daily heaviness and suffering is superior” — That is the only worthy distinction that can be made.
But we don’t do that. We decide on something as superior because everybody has usually taken it to be as superior. There is no sense of intelligent discrimination that we apply to it, Vivek (intelligent discretion) is missing.
But when it comes to your life use this as the criteria:
If it pushes me deeper into suffering, if it pushes me further away from my essential peaceful nature then it is an inferior activity, then it is an inferior companion, then it is an inferior society; whereas whatever relieves my suffering and brings me closer to my peaceful nature is superior.
Listener: But as Kabir has said that when you start waking up suffering increases.
AP: Suffering doesn’t increase; you become more honest about it.
You are already suffering but you don’t acknowledge it. Don’t you see that how we remain shut and closed about our condition? How we do not want to admit it to even ourselves? It is just that when you gain the strength to confront your own actual situation then you also gain the strength to acknowledge that your actual situation it is quite bad. It is not as if suffering increases; it is just that you come into contact, an honest contact with the suffering that there already is.
Suppose you have a wound in the body, you can keep taking painkillers, tranquillizers and you can keep the wound covered and then there comes a stage when you say, “Enough of this dishonesty. I don’t want to hide it anymore. I’ll take a look at it.” Now in…