Self-improvement is a decoration of the disease

Acharya Prashant
4 min readNov 13, 2021

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

Question: If I want to improve, that means I am a certain person, which means I have labeled myself to be a certain person and I want to be like a certain person . . .

Acharya Prashant (AP): And this certain person that you want to be is chosen by the person that you are, or have imagined yourself to be.

Listener (L): Yes.

AP: Right. You’re a drunkard; you are lying in a ditch and now you choose another destination for yourself. What would that destination be?

L: Next ditch.

AP: The next ditch! So, self-improvement is, therefore, such a foolish thing. Who is the self that wants to improve? The same self that you do not like. If you do not like this self and if you want to change or improve, then how can you select or trust a destination determined by this very self that you dislike?

L: Is it not so that the mind has two parts. One part of it is sick and the other part is smart enough to see and cure the sickness?

AP: You are one, and the proof that you are sick is that you think of yourself as two, or twenty.

Remember that there is only the Self — that needs no improvement — and the mind — that can have no improvement.

Who are you trying to improve exactly? Exactly who would improve?

For the mind, there can only be dissolution, not improvement. And the atman cannot improve anymore. It’s already perfect. So who exactly are you trying to make better?

L: Does improvement not facilitate or lead to dissolution?

AP: Dissolution just is. It does not ride on the vehicle of improvement. Improvement will not make dissolution any easier. In fact, the pretext of improvement keeps dissolution away and away, and faraway.

What are you doing?



“Well, I am still improving.”

Have you ever called up somebody who is late? What answers does he keep giving?

I am. . .

Acharya Prashant