To take the body seriously is to allow the world to control you

Acharya Prashant
8 min readJul 27, 2021

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

नाहं देहो न मे देहो बोधोऽहमिति निश्चयी।

कैवल्यं इव संप्राप्तो न स्मरत्यकृतं कृतम्॥

~ अष्टावक्र गीता (अध्याय ११, श्लोक ६)

Neither I am this body, nor this body is mine.I am pure knowledge. One who knows it with definiteness gets liberated in this life. He neither remembers acts done in past nor worries of future.

~ Ashtavakra Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 6)

Question: “Nāhaṁ deho na me deho (Neither I am this body, nor this body is mine).”

How is the statement, “Neither I am this body,” different from the statement, “Nor is the body mine”?

Acharya Prashant (AP): It only means that the sage wants to attack your illusions from both sides. On one hand, he is saying, “The body cannot be my identity,” on the other hand he is saying, “I do not need to possess the body.” Both of these are related, both are like looking at the issue from different directions.

The relationship between — who you are and what the body is — is of tremendous significance. It deserves to be understood. One starts, by looking at the ways of the body. One starts by seeing what the body is, where does the body come from, what does the body survive on. And these are not questions that will usually come naturally to you.

We are so terribly identified with the body, that to question the body looks like questioning one’s own existence. But when you look at the body, you see that its founding cells did not come from the body itself. The body was not founded by something, that was of the body. The body was founded by something outside of itself; one cell from the father, one cell from the mother. And whatever the body feeds on, too, is not of the body. Food, water, air, sunlight: all of that comes from outside the body.

So the body that appears so much like yourself, is actually composed totally of