How to test whether your wisdom is growing?

Acharya Prashant
4 min readJul 3, 2021

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 Vasishth Sara, Chapter 1, Verse 13

Questioner: Acharya Ji, what is the litmus test to determine whether one’s wisdom is rising, or is it new clothes on the old self?

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

Are you getting it?

A fellow who knows what it means to experience drowning, and has been saved, ask him, “Would you want to go through that experience ever…

Acharya Prashant