With youth: On why we are materialistic and how we miss being human

Acharya Prashant
7 min readDec 27, 2022

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

Acharya Prashant (AP): So what are your eyes telling you? What are you seeing through your eyes?

Listener (L): Objects.

AP: What kind of objects? Material or immaterial?

L: Material.

AP: Material objects. So all your eyes can show you is the material objects. We said the child is bound to remain a machine till the age of…?

L: Twelve.

AP: Twelve or fourteen. Now we are saying that this machine works through the senses. The senses can show you only material. We looked at one particular sense, the eyes can show you only material. Now, look at another sense, ears. What do the ears do?

L: Hear.

AP: What do the ears hear?

L: Sound.

AP: From where does sound come? Alright, anybody here you would want to produce a sound? Anybody here, just produce a sound.

(One listener claps)

AP: How does this sound get produced? By the collision of two material objects. Now I challenge you, if there is anybody here who can produce a sound wave without using a material object. Do that. Don’t use any material and produce a sound. Do that.

(A listener produces some noise from the throat)

AP: Material — vocal cords.

(Another listener produces some noise using his mouth)

AP: Lips.

(Another listener hits something with one hand)

AP: Only in Zen do you have the sound of one hand. Otherwise, when you produce a sound from one hand, it is still two materials clashing against each other.

L: Sir, what do you mean by one hand?

AP: Alright. One hand means one fixed hand. In your case it is the elements of one hand whose elements, that is fingers, are clashing against each other. So what your ears are telling you is also material.

Let's look at another sense. Try to touch something which is not material. Try. Try to touch something…