The Tragedy That Is Man

Acharya Prashant
4 min readSep 20, 2020

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

Question: Sir, why is it that we cannot suppress the nature’s call but we keep on suppressing our expressions for lifetime. Is it that the body has a separate consciousness that cannot be held on?

Acharya Prashant: No, we suppress all that as well. It is just that in the physical system there are certain things that are designed to be totally involuntary. And it’s a great mercy, a relief, that they are involuntary.

The heart beats without our consent. We experience fatigue without our consent. Sleep comes and demands relaxation without our consent. We start feeling hungry without our consent. Oh, we may decide not to have food for a while, but hunger expresses itself without our consent.

So many things happen without our consent. And it’s alright. In the body also, wherever our consent is required, wherever our response is voluntary, there we badly interfere with the body. There our norms of right and wrong take total precedence over what the body is demanding. That is why I said that it’s a relief that certain things simply do not wait for our approval.

If our approval were required, then probably we will never allow ourselves to sweat even if that were to have a totally deleterious impact on the body. Even if that were to mean that the temperature of our body will keep rising, still we won’t allow ourselves to sweat.

And there are certain hundred other things associated with the body that our morality is so ashamed of that we would simply not let that happen.

Man is the only creature that has imposed norms upon the body.

The only creature who thinks that he’s so intelligent that he will be able to decide whether this system is alright or not.

He thinks he can mess with it in the name of improving it.

The human condition is such that if it were in our hands, then hard-working and ambitious people would simply not allow sleep to come. They would say that we are still working. If twenty-four hours are given to us, why waste even two hours in sleeping?

And there are certain sections of the society so very prude that probably women would not allow…