How does knowledge cleanse the mind?

Acharya Prashant
8 min readFeb 2, 2021

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

Acharya Prashant (AP): Tell me, why does a small child get corrupted? The small child has — to begin with — no social influence upon him. He is like a little one emerging straight from the bathroom. With just the body and no influence upon the body. Right? Then why does he get conditioned and corrupted?

Because his innocence does not have the armor of worldly knowledge. So, it will fail at some point. You must know the ways of the world. If you know the ways of the world, then you know the ways of the Maya. If you know why one country is jealous of another country, you will also know the relationship between you and your brother, and you and your husband. Knowing the world is knowing oneself, knowing oneself is knowing the world. Therefore, it pays to know the world. And that is different from being obsessed with the world.

If you look at the words of the saints, they repeatedly refer to the ways of the world. That is why they were able to reform society. Because they knew how the society was operating, therefore they knew what were the drawbacks there.

If you do not know what is going on, then what is going on may affect you. Are you getting it? So, know what happens. As long as you have a body you will remain, you will retain a subtle tendency to get conditioned. So, you must always have armor upon you. Never feel too self-assured.

Yesterday, we said that it is possible to come down from the eightieth floor to the fiftieth floor. We said that spiritual evolution is not irreversible. Now, can you relate what we said yesterday to what we are saying today? You must have heard that story, it is topical, I will narrate.

A king once asked his favorite painter, the royal painter to paint him the face of the most beautiful individual in the kingdom. So, the painter set out looking for the most innocent face in the kingdom. And he chanced upon a little girl, he chanced upon a little girl. And the little girl had the innocence of a fresh flower. She might have four or six years old. So, he brought that girl with himself and painted her face. And he displayed the painting to the king. And the king was pleased. He had never seen a more blemishless and innocent…