How to cultivate understanding?

Acharya Prashant
4 min readJun 18, 2021

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

Questioner: This is concerned with the fact of minute-to-minute understanding. So, for example, when I have seen the pain and cruelty being carried out on animals in the slaughterhouse, let’s say to a cow, then I have the understanding. But, then I also have the tendencies of having eaten meat all my life. Now at that moment, with that understanding, I am able to say, “No, I don’t want this non-vegetarian item.” So, do I need to apply that understanding every single time there is this opportunity for me to eat non-veg or in one instance where I have understood?

Acharya Prashant: You don’t need to consciously apply any understanding, that is not really needed. You just need to be present to understanding. There is a difference there. Application is instantaneous and unpredictable. If you try to consciously apply, if you try to deliberately plan an execution, then it will be distorted. Knowing or realization is about just being open to realizing, and you will realize because it is easy and it is your nature. You don’t have to do something to realize, you just have to be free to realize.

It’s like conversating with me at this moment. What are you doing to understand? What are you doing to understand as we talk this moment? What are you doing? Nothing in…