How to test whether your wisdom is growing?

Acharya Prashant
4 min readSep 16, 2020

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

“All the arts acquired by men are lost by lack of practice, but this art of wisdom grows steadily once it rises.”

~ Yoga Vasishta Sara

Chapter 1, Verse 13

Question: Acharya Ji, what is the litmus test to determine whether one’s wisdom is rising, or is it new clothes on the old self? How to know whether I am on the right path of Spirituality?

Acharya Prashant: It becomes very self-evident. Forget about having new clothes on the old-self, even the old-self is not permitted to remain as it is; even that starts appearing foolish.

Assume that you now weigh 50 kgs, and three years back you wore a lot of flab, and you weighed 80 kgs. How do you feel looking at those old photographs? Big, unshapely, fat woman, having a lot of unnecessary stuff. And you juxtapose these two photographs, the eighty kg one and the fifty kg one. How do you feel? Would you ever allow yourself to go back to the 80 kg days?

That’s what a Saint means, when he says, “This art of wisdom grows steadily once it rises.”

The very fact that you have known what it means to be ‘foolish’, will not allow you to be foolish once again.

Foolishness is not merely a concept for you.

You have been through it; been there, done it.

“Yes, I know idiocy. I have been the most stupid one, and I don’t want to be there again.”

The growth of wisdom is a parallel aversion towards stupidity; not only personal stupidity but also the stupidity of the world.

When you look at others, and you see them caught in the same tangles as you once were, you quickly identify the situation.

You say, “I know that.”

The moment you say, “I know that,” two parallel things happen. One — you are full of disdain towards what is happening currently with the other one. And secondly — you are full of gratitude that you could be rescued.