On Advait Vedanta: Knowledge is meaningless without understanding the knower

Acharya Prashant
7 min readApr 1, 2022

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

Questioner (Q): Swami Vivekananda has said, “Education must strengthen the mind, expand the intellect, form the character, and make one stand on one’s own feet.”

So, the existing education system, I think, presumes that all which is to be known has more or less been known, and whatever little is left, there are the specialized experts to know that. So, our education as such trains students to memorize the existing knowledge and find a cozy comfortable place for themselves in society on the basis of that knowledge.

So, in that sense, the student is told that he is redundant as such, and the best that he can do with himself is to be a part of this big machinery that society is. But, in the end, students do manage to earn some money on the basis of this education, and money tends to give them some independence.

So, I want to understand how the existing education system lacks these characteristics which Vivekananda Ji spoke about, expansion of intellect, etc. Also, is the existing education system a degenerated or worn-out version of what Swami Vivekananda is talking of? Is it the equilibrium state of Vivekananda Ji’s system that we are seeing?