With youth: Won’t living freely make me self-centred?

Acharya Prashant
3 min readNov 5, 2022

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

Question (Q): Sir, are you saying that we should not be bothered by what others are saying? If I do not care about what others are saying, would I not be leading a self-centered life?

Acharya Prashant (AP): We are already self-centered. Do you know what does being self-centered means? It means that I am always thinking of myself. This ‘self’ is always in my mind. ‘How am I looking? What am I saying? What will somebody think of me? Am I doing the right thing?’ We are not talking about not being bothered by what others are saying. We are saying that understand what is happening. ‘I am greatly bothered by what you are saying. I am bothered in the sense that I am paying attention and I really want to understand, I want to know the truth. Only when I understand what you are saying, only then I can respond to you. Won’t I?’ But do we really understand what someone is saying?

You are following so many roles in life, so many rules in life. Do you really understand those roles and rules? You are following so many beliefs, so many conventions. Do you really understand them?

Before you accept something, examine it and understand it. Do not just surrender to it. Examine it fully and when you examine it fully, it will become a part of you. You will come to learn its truth. When you examine it fully, what is to be rejected will be rejected. You cannot allow somebody to become your master. You cannot say that whatever master will say must be acceptable to me. No, that cannot be a way of life. We all are free beings and to be free means to be free in mind. It means I am not a slave to anything. It means that I am not a slave to anybody’s word, anybody’s opinion. It means that I will hear everything that you say, but I will first understand it. And how will I understand it? When I pay…

Listeners(everyone): Attention.

AP: When I pay attention to it. So as I speak to you right now please do not just accept what I am saying. Pay attention and understand. Pay attention and try to see what the whole thing is about, and then what will come to you will be entirely your own. You can conveniently forget what I am saying, but if you have paid attention, what must stay with you has already come to you and that is entirely yours. You can very well claim that this is my understanding, nobody else had given it and nobody else can give it. It is obviously your own. Am I making myself clear?

Do let all information come to you, but have a sharp and intelligent mind that looks carefully at it. Do not quickly become a slave to anything external. The mind has the capacity, the power, and the potential to pay attention and understand.

Watch the full video here.

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Acharya Prashant