Pan IIT: Inner growth for high achievers

Acharya Prashant
14 min readMay 18, 2022

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

Questioner (Q): The theme of today’s interaction is inner growth. Usually, when we talk of growth, we talk of external growth. For example, for an individual growth usually means job promotions, better income, more comforts, etc. For a company, growth may mean growing in profits. For an institution, it may mean better rankings, greater enrollments, etc. And for an economy, it may mean higher GDP, employment, and so on. So, given this context for external growth, how do we define inner growth for a human being, and what is its relationship to external growth?

Acharya Prashant (AP): You talked of external growth. What does that usually consist of? We earn, we accumulate, we learn, we gain knowledge, and we gain experience. And most of it we call external growth, which is all very fine. It is just that along with it we need to keep asking: For whom is the accumulation? For whose sake are we gaining experience or knowledge or money or power? And when you ask that question, then the whole situation shifts to a different plane. Because obviously we do not earn money or gain power for the sake of money or power; we do not gain knowledge or experience for the sake of knowledge or for the sake of experience. We do it all for ourselves. We do it for our own welfare.

So, the question ‘for whom?’ is extremely important. And when you ask that question, you discover that even when you are striving for external growth, you, the person, the striver, the seeker is actually at the center of all your efforts. And like in any process that consumes effort, time, energy, and must produce a certain output, here in this process also, the process of external growth, we need to keep measuring whether that external growth process has delivered the final output, and the final output is the welfare of the self.

I go for money, I go for power, I want to learn something. I do it for myself. So, even as I go about accumulating all that I do in the world, I need to constantly ask myself to what extent has it really benefited me. So ‘I’, the subject, is at the center of all that I do with respect to the various objects in the world. So, that is inner growth: being able to clearly see to what extent all my worldly external…