What is meant by ‘looking within’?

Acharya Prashant
2 min readFeb 26, 2023

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

Acharya Prashant: Looking inwards does not mean looking in any particular inward direction. All perception is subject-object duality. The subject is the looker, thinker. He is always ‘looking’ at the world, ‘perceiving’ shapes and forms, and ‘thinking’ about things and time. The subject ‘thinks’ that the things and forms and time are real. He thinks that the world of objects has an independent existence without him.

We all imagine, don’t we, that the world will exist even if we are not there? And our everyday experience seems to support this belief (I leave the water on the boiler, and when I come back, the water has boiled). So, the subject has a deep belief that the world has an ‘objective’ reality. He thinks that there is a world and he is ‘in’ that world. He thinks that the world is made up of 1000 things, which includes him. So, the world is 999 things plus the subject. That is the mental model of the subject.

This mental model is classically called ‘looking outwards’.

This model is the model of materialism and death. Because I exist as just a thing in the universe, and the universe does not depend on me, so I will always be afraid of my deletion from the universe.

‘Looking inwards’ means examining this model and rejecting it. ‘Looking inwards’ just means that I deeply understand the dual nature of all perception; hence, it does not fool me.

After this step, the ‘inward looker’ comes to a very peculiar point. He asks: “All that is perceptible is just dualistic nonsense. Then is there anything real? Is there anything beyond duality?”

He gets no answers to this question. No solutions are possible. But the mind, now freed from the subject-object split, is now retreating into its own source. And you will love that when it happens.

You are welcome to learn more about Acharya Prashant and his literature. You can also contact the Foundation directly.