What does the mind actually want?

Acharya Prashant
5 min readSep 25, 2021

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

Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, what does the mind actually want?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Man’s mind with its great search for freedom and an equally great determination to never be free — so you are trying all kinds of spiritual tricks with the ostensible objective of meeting peace or freedom or bliss or Truth. And you are parallelly ensuring that the methods are designed to fail as if one wants to deceive nobody but himself. As if one is determined to keep telling himself that he is sincere, and one is equally determined to never attain his sincere goal.

One does know what to say of man. Is he a seeker, or is he a stubborn cheat? By the looks of it, there are seekers everywhere. Somebody is seeking through money, somebody is seeking through pleasures of various kinds, somebody is seeking through prestige, somebody through knowledge, and somebody through divine chanting or yogic asanas and there are others who are seeking through politics, through wars, and through various means and methods.

At the same time, the moment you pay attention to it, it is obvious that none of it is ever going to help. It is not as if there is a deficiency in the method. It is almost as if the method is designed not to succeed. As if we are working hard, just to convince ourselves that we indeed want freedom. But where freedom is direct and simple, we deny it. That is what is happening in Rishikesh as well.

If you see shops that are selling a variety of things, material and non-material; this-worldly and probably other-worldly as they claim, it is because there are people who want those things. If Rishikesh won’t exist in this form, it would exist in some other form because there is a demand. Where there is a demand, supply is automatically created. Because we want somebody to entertain us with spiritual gossip. Because we want somebody to convince us that without changing the core of being, liberation is still possible.

So there exist shops that are selling cheap liberation. There exist teachers who are giving us easy Truth. Whom do we fault? The teacher or the student? Are the teacher and the student really different? Aren’t they, the two sides of the same coin? Had there been a…

Acharya Prashant