Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Intelligence and Knowledge

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev always makes sense to me but I particularly loved his piece in Deccan Chronicle yesterday. He talks of intelligence vs knowledge, the incisive nature of one and the burden of the other. Knowledge has always been held rather low by spiritualists - it falls short, the intellect itself is thought to fall very short when it comes to spiritual challenges. Then he touches on the burden of identities - what you think you are and the labels you pin on yourself that tell you what to think.

All of which strikes a chord, so I'm placing the whole thing here for my record.
It is very important to know the difference between intelligence and knowledge. Intelligence is like a flashlight. If you flash it, it’ll just show you what’s there. Knowledge is like a projector; if you switch it on, it will project its own story. Now, if you come with a flashlight and flash it on a painting, you will see the painting just as it is.

But if you come with a projector, which also has light in it and turn it on, you don’t see the painting but the cinema that’s running inside. Maybe you’ll see M.G. Ramachandran dancing, but not the painting the way it is. That’s the difference between knowledge and intelligence. This is why knowledge is a huge burden in the spiritual path, because it always projects its own story on life.

Now if you meet me before a class and ask me what today’s class is, I won’t know a damn thing. I don’t have the burden of knowledge in me. People who are burdened by knowledge cannot smile, cannot laugh, cannot be open to many things. When I walk on the street, I don’t walk with the burden of knowledge on me. On the other hand, intelligence is something that everybody is endowed with, but they keep their flashlights covered.

Because they like it so much, they painted the glass with their own designs, now they don’t see anything the way it is. If you value your intelligence, you should not paint it with anything; you must just leave it the way it is.

Now, the moment your intelligence gets entangled with identifications, it is all screwed up. It’s all distorted. It doesn’t show you things the way they actually are. It’ll distort everything, depending upon what types of identities you have taken. You need to understand this, if you sit here with any kind of identification, you will not see anything the way it is because the very structure of the mind will function from that identity.

If you have no identifications at all, then your mind will become still, empty like the sky. It can contain everything at the same time and not be burdened by anything. Knowledge means a certain accumulation. In that sense, knowledge is an impediment, but if you see things the way they are, that is not an impediment that is the only way you can walk clearly.

Meditation cleans the flashlight. When you become meditative, your intellectual capabilities will be at least 10 fold more than what it is right now. Not that meditation makes you intelligent, but because meditation clears up the mess, the muck that’s gathered on the glass of the flashlight. It just clears it up, more and more. As it clears up, the flashlight becomes more and more powerful; it shows you things more and more clearly.