What does the lazy self want? || Acharya Prashant, on Jesus Christ (2017)

Acharya Prashant
8 min readJun 22, 2024


“The craving of a sluggard is a death of him because his hands refuse to work.”


Acharya Prashant:

Nimisha has sent something, it is not a question. I’ll read it aloud, that’s my answer.

Dear Acharya Ji, Pranaam. I want to thank you deeply for reconnecting me to the Lord. The love and connection I felt for him as an innocent child got diluted along the way. I am rejoicing in that regained love now. Jesus was always very special to me. My first love you could say. Then one grows up and starts questioning things, doubts arise, resistance occurs, and one loses that innocent reasonless love once felt. Jesus showed me the way back home through you.

In gratitude, Nimisha.

When all is alright then there is no need to speak. Yesterday, I said — “don’t fix that which is not broken.”

James has sent two questions from Russia. Maybe I’ll read both of them, or one of them.

Jesus says “The craving of a sluggard will be death of him because his hands refuse to work”.

The question is:

Jesus is saying that the desires of a lazy person will be the death of him because he’s saying that his hands refuse to work. He just desires but his hands say we do not want to work. So the enquiry is, what does a lazy person crave for if not work? And also, which work is Jesus referring to?

Jesus has pointed towards the special case of a lazy person. This lazy person has all the desires, great desires. But one thing he’s very clear about, ‘I will not work.’ So, James has wondered that what does he crave for if not work? And what is this work that Jesus is referring to? Is he talking about plumbing? Writing? Carpentry? What work is referring to?

Who is a lazy person? A lazy person is one who has a tremendous ego. Only the ego is lazy, and the ego is bound to be lazy. In what sense is the ego lazy?

Laziness means a refusal to do, a refusal to do the right thing, a refusal to change. Laziness means that one wants to remain where one is and as one is.

This laziness has been referred to as Tamsa in classical literature. One feels all right as one is whereas one actually not alright. It’s as if one is diseased but has also lost the capacity to feel pain, one is so diseased. There are diseases that don’t show up, why? Because the way a disease shows up is the way of the sensitivity of your neural system. If your neural system is itself diseased and incapable of feeling pain, then it’s a very fatal situation. You won’t even know that you are diseased, and you will continue to think that you are all right. And if someone comes to you and says — you want to change, brother? What you say — ‘go to hell.’ Why do you want to disturb me? I am already in Samadhi. When I am already all right, why do you want to unnecessarily disturb? That’s the statement of the lazy one.

We are talking of the Tamsik laziness. And it has certain signs that are very -ery close to those of enlightenment, seriously. It always happens, the highest state and the lowest state shares some apparent commonalities. A Buddha has no desire left for change. The greatly lazy and Tamsik one also has no desire for change. The Buddha sleeps peacefully. The Tamsik one also sleeps apparently peacefully. He’s very sure of himself just like the Buddha . You’ll never find him in self doubt. He will never regret being what he is, just like the Buddha . Go to him and he is always confident and sure — Yes, Of Course; No I know, don’t tell me anything. Are you getting it?

And what is it that Jesus is saying here? He is saying here — the cravings of a lazy person will be the end of him for he does not want to work. If he is so sure of himself, if he is settled where he is, then why are we talking of his cravings? We are talking of his cravings because you can never be totally situated in the false. Even if you totally delude yourself, this total delusion is still never total, because it is yours. You have totally deluded yourself, and you are not total, so the delusion that you have caused too will never be total. And that is why we are often saved.

Because we are not total, so even our stupidities are not total.

Some touch of intelligence remains, so we are never totally devastated. Are you getting it?

Total devastation is possible only to a saint, it’s a paradox, because he is total. We cannot do anything totally. So even when we are saying that we are sure and confident that we don’t need to change, our confidence is not total. Life keeps on proving to us that you are not alright. You keep feeling that you know the way, but as you walk, you find that you have reached an unwanted place. Life has demonstrated to you that you do not know. Now you may shrug away the demonstration. You may refute the proof. But the proof has arrived, and a little part of you will have to agree that it has been proven that you’re stupid.

You believe in yourself and your powers. Somebody asks you to meet at 2:00 PM and you say, yes, I will reach at 2:00 PM and you reach at 5:00 PM. Life has demonstrated that it is not within your power to keep time. That even when you want to, you are not able to make things happen according to your wishes. Hence the craving remains. And the craving also remains because in order to feel sure, the Tamsik man needs the support of situations, world, and material. That’s the difference between him and the Buddha. The Buddha feels sure for no reason at all.

The Buddha is alright whether he is sleeping on a bed or on a thorn bed. But this lazy man feels alright only if certain conditions are met.

When those conditions start crumbling, then he starts feeling uneasy. And that’s also how he is often redeemed. Because conditions proved to him that there is something wrong with you. The Buddha sleeps peacefully. The lazy one, the tamsik one also sleeps apparently peacefully. But he’s the second one. The lazy one sleeps peacefully only as long as the conditions are alright. The bed should be proper, some food should be there, if it’s summers then there should be the air conditioner, if it’s winters then there should be a heater. These minimal things should be there and then he feels alright. But if you are lazy, life will take away even these minimum things that you have. Very soon life will take away. Even the minimum support that existence is giving you will be withdrawn. And then you will be forced to confront and admit that you have been driven by nothing but self-preservation.

Why do hands refuse to work? Because if the hands work then the fat will change into muscle. Hands want to remain as they are. How are the hands? Soft, spongy, not hard, not muscular, not strong. And the hands are saying — we will remain as we are. That’s nothing but classical ego. Why doesn’t the mind want to think? Because if the mind thinks then it cannot remain what it is. So one will not even think. One will simply stay with the conclusions.

Conclusions do not require any activity. When there is a conclusion, it’s a ready-made thing. You don’t need to meditate. You don’t need to even think deeply. Are you getting it?

Laziness is the stubborn refusal to change. You refuse to change. Life shows you that you need to change. So you want the fruit of change without actually changing. And Jesus is saying — That will be your Death. Your death in two ways. If you really want that fruit, it is possible that with the help of grace your sluggard self is eliminated, that is one kind of death. The charm of the fruit attracts you so much that you overpower the charm of self-preservation. And that is your death, that is the death of laziness. The fruit was so attractive that laziness is no longer attractive, that was so attractive that this is no more attractive, so I changed. That is death, that is the death of laziness. And then there is another death, which is nothing but the rotting of the mental physical system, the body, the life.

You want the fruit of change without changing. So, what do you do? You adopt stupid, unfair, violent means. Instead of earning that fruit, now you would want to snatch that fruit, extract that fruit, rob, deceive. There are only two ways of attaining that fruit.

There was this girl, and she loved the palace of the Kings, Imperial Palace. And she asked her father — how do I reach there? The father says, “you’ll have to work hard, you must be the best student, you must learn all the arts, then you must join the Kings bureaucracy, you must clear the entrance exam, and then through your work, wisdom, and devotion you must rise through the ranks, and then you must pray that it’s a meritocratic process. And when the throne is vacant, then because of your powers, your worth, your merit, you’re chosen or elected to be on the throne.”

The girl said ‘fine’. She started doing what the father had suggested, that is the right process. But laziness soon overpowered her. If she wanted to become the reigning queen of the kingdom, then she would need to totally change. She would need to shine brilliantly. And that kind of brilliance comes only through devotion to God. The ego does not like that. The old self would need to be totally abandoned. Oh, the old self surely does not approve that. But the craving was there. The craving to be at the top spot was there. She refused to take the right route. And what is the route then she took? She decided to become a seductress, and that is easy.

She seduced the King, got the King to somehow marry her, became the Queen, easy. The craving was now fulfilled through another route. But now who is she in that palace? Has she entered the palace on her worth? Does she really deserve the palace? But still she is there in the palace. Now she is almost like the king’s harlot. The King is using her. She is nothing but a decorated mass of flesh, and that is death. One death would have been if she would have ascended to the throne through merit and devotion that would have been the death of the old self, of all the limitations and the laziness, that would have been one kind of death. And this is another kind of death when you sell yourself to a king. And that’s easy.

Now you can remain lazy and yet feel that you are consuming the pleasures of the material. That is so easy, find a nice man and seduce him. But that would be death, and that would be the worst death that you can get. No?

Choose the right death, please. Give death to your laziness. Give death to your ego and self-preservation. Don’t protect laziness and give death to yourself. Don’t do that. Fight against your lazy self. Don’t side with it. If you don’t fight your laziness, your laziness will give you a death that you can’t even imagine.

Getting it?