What relevance does wisdom literature have in an IIM student’s life?

Acharya Prashant
3 min readMay 12, 2021

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

Questioner: What relevance does reading wisdom literature play a role, especially in a management student’s life? Given how rigorous it is, and considering that we actually have trouble fitting sleep into our schedules.

Acharya Prashant: You see, all the miscellaneous literature that we read is knowledge about stuff; is knowledge about things that occur to us. Stuff that we can hold, feel, name, process.

Objects — those stuff units are duly called. Objects, which occur to us — who are the subjects.

So, there is the knowledge that comes to you, and then there is the knowledge about the one, to whom the knowledge comes. It is extremely important to know the one who is accumulating the knowledge. “Why do we need ‘Knowledge’ at all? Who is the one, who is gathering knowledge? Who is the one, who is reading literature? To what end, for what purpose?” If we do not ask this question then our pursuits are quite mechanical. We do not know what we are doing things for.

In fact, what is quite possible is that you may have the knowledge and that knowledge might be used by a center within you, by a part of yours which is not quite in congruence with your welfare. It’s a simple question to ask — I am going to have the knowledge, who is desirous of that knowledge? What I am going to use that knowledge for?

It’s not a comfortable question to ask. It’s a straightforward question, but not an easy one. You can immediately ask it but it may disrupt your inner comfort. It may put you at unease. Therefore, we find it easier to just keep involving ourselves with stuff around ourselves. Rather than ask — what is my relationship with that stuff? And when I am talking of stuff, that stuff includes all the literature that we read; books, journals, institutionalized knowledge, like the knowledge that we gather from this campus.

Wisdom literature, on the other hand, is knowledge about who You are. What is the center within that is desirous of knowledge. What is the center within that is doing this, doing that, trying for this, competing with that, accumulating this, dropping that? Who is doing all…

Acharya Prashant