What is non-action? What is it to not to act as the ego-self?

Acharya Prashant
11 min readDec 20, 2020

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

Questioner (Q): There is a passage from the preface of Open Secret — “Abandonment of a phenomenal center constitutes the only ‘practice’, and such abandonment is not an act volitionally performed by the identified subject, but a non-action leaving the noumenal center in control of phenomenal activity, and free from fictitious interference by an imaginary self.”

Acharya Prashant (AP): Beautiful. Lovely quote.

Q: So, my question is, what is Non-action?

AP: Action that you do not do. In your own calculation, with your own intellect, you are never going to abandon yourself. What Wei Wu Wei has described here is pure bhakti or it is Prem-yog or it is Guru-yog. What he is saying is — you will never be able to do it on your own. Let it be done.

Now, let it be done is equivalent to let it be done by something else or somebody else. You will not be able to do it on your own. Such abandonment is not an act volitionally performed by the identified subject. Your own volition would never consent to it. Therefore, you have to just hand yourself over to something, somebody, or maybe nobody in particular.

The difference is, Wei Wu Wei just says, “You do not do it.” Bhakti-yog and Guru-yog, go a step ahead and say you do not do it, let him do it. But in both the methods, one thing is certain, it is not through your personal volition that the abandonment is going to happen. Your own cleverness, your tricks, your methods, your processes, your ways, will be of no help. You have to let yourself belong to something beyond you. In the Buddhist way, it would be said, “You just have to let go of yourself. You just have to belong to the flow.”

Q: What is non-action? Can I know it? Am I acting or am I not acting?

AP: Placing something above your own desire. There is an actor within you that wants to act as per its own sweet will. Non-action is not about suppressing that actor and making it do nothing at all. Doing that which you do not really want to do, that is non-action.

Non-action does not mean no action will happen. Non-action does not mean that action will…

Acharya Prashant