Today I read a quote from “Choruses from the Rock” by T. S. Elliot. “. The quote was from the “New Scientist” magazine, accompanying an article about the overwhelming amount of data at our fingertips. This made me think about all the information available on the web about Hinduism. Is the knowledge getting lost in this information? I will answer this with an illustration.
Imagine someone who was very interested in farms and farming, but had never done so. He might spend ages reading up on all the crops, be able to identify each one, and could just look at a tractor and tell you the engine size, make, power and year of manufacture. This person has a lot of information about farming, but little real knowledge. He would be unlikely to produce a good harvest if he was put in charge of a farm without help.
Someone else might have been brought up on a farm, know when to plant the seeds, when to harvest and how to plough, reap, and sow. He has real knowledge, and can actually run a farm, even though he may not be able to tell you as much about different makes of tractor as the first guy.
A third man also has the knowledge of how to farm, but knows which crops to choose for the land. He knows not to spoil the soil by intensive production and use of chemicals. When heavy rain comes during the harvest he knows which crops to reap first, which will wait and which will already have been ruined. He has real wisdom about farming.
The vast amount of information on Hinduism available on the internet is a real boon when we first want to learn. At some point we must stop learning and start practicing. Without this we will have no real knowledge, just empty facts.
Having practiced Hinduism we will have knowledge, not just information. And how does this knowledge turn to wisdom? I’ll tell you that when I know myself. Perhaps spiritual knowledge just frees the wisdom that is already inside us. I have a feeling that I have a long way to go before I can give a complete answer to this question.