The subject of jnana and jnanayoga is very deep and vast; nevertheless, we must discuss it briefly. In general, jnana or knowledge is of two kinds – the first is verbal or theoretical knowledge and the second is practical or experienced knowledge. Mere book knowledge without practical experience is shallow and superficial.
Both theoretical and practical knowledge can be further classified into two – knowledge of material subjects and the other, knowledge of divine subjects. You are obviously familiar with theoretical knowledge of material subjects. For example, if a person has learned all about cooking from books and even delivers lectures on the subject, but has never practically cooked himself, he has only theoretical knowledge. Practical knowledge is doing the actual cooking.
Similarly, there is theoretical and practical knowledge of spirituality. A person with mere theoretical knowledge is one who memorises the Vedas and other scriptures, and even delivers lectures on these subjects, but has not practised any spiritual discipline. Such a person has no practical experience. A person with practical spiritual knowledge is one who actually follows a prescribed spiritual path and knows God through His grace. We need to reflect on theoretical and practical spiritual knowledge in detail, because theoretical and practical material knowledge can never take us to our goal of attaining divine bliss.
An extract from:
Prema Rasa Siddhanta – Philosophy of Divine Love
Chapter Nine – Jnana and Jnanayoga, p. 210-11
Originally written in Hindi by Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
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