The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner (Q): Who are the various Gods?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Who is Indra? A power within me! I am asking myself, ‘’Please, bestow wellbeing on yourself.” What am I telling myself? “Kindly be good to yourself.” Too much to ask for, too much? We keep wanting others to be good to us but very rarely do we want ourselves to be good to us. The Upanishads are filling in that small little gap. “Before you want others to help you, come on! Be responsible and help yourself!” Therefore ‘Brihaspati’ is neither a planet nor a faraway God. Who’s Brihaspati? Your own potential for wisdom is Brihaspati. Isn’t Brihaspati the God of learning? Now, who would learn for you? Is some deity going to come and learn on your behalf? Tell me, please?
So, when you really want to learn, when you are devoted to learning, you are Brihaspati. Or you can be one of the demons who fights Brihaspati. Brihaspati is a great teacher. The teacher does exist within you, no? Isn’t that what the scriptures repeatedly say? And we fail to comprehend what do they mean when they say, “The teacher exists within you!”
Can you be taught without your consent? Tell me! That’s Brihaspati within you. The faculty to say ‘yes’ to learning. The ability to exercise the option to learn. To learn from a book, from life, from a person, from yourself, your own life experiences, from anything and everything; that’s Brihaspati. Getting it?
And then there is Tarkshya, who is called ‘Arishtanemi*’, who doesn’t allow bad things to happen to you. Now, who can prevent bad things from happening to you when all the badness is inside? Obviously, *Tarkshya cannot prevent a truck from mowing you down. That can happen, if you are not careful or if the truck driver is special.
Here, the Gods are all being referred to in the internal and subtle sense. There are things and events and people outside who can harm you in an outer way. They do have the power to, for example, fetter you. They can chain your hands, can’t they? What’s being said here is that nobody can chain your spirit, your inner self without your consent. Nobody can bring inner harm to you without your consent, externally they can do a lot of things. And externally you…