Spiritual knowledge is meant to make us devotionally fit, not intellectually fat

Food nourishes our body, gives us energy and makes us fit to face life’s responsibilities. However, if eaten excessively or inappropriately, the same food makes us fat and reduces our fitness. 

Spiritual knowledge is like food. It is meant to nourish and energize us to face life’s challenges and thereby grow spiritually. 

Unfortunately, we sometimes seek spiritual knowledge to parade how much we know and to delight in the praise we get from others who are impressed by our knowledge. Being thus misdirected, we start gobbling down spiritual knowledge. We especially devour those sound bytes that roughly approximate as spiritual knowledge which will earn wows for us by people who say, “I have never heard that point.” 

The knowledge we acquire thus stays only in our head; it doesn’t enter our heart, leave alone transform it. This knowledge increases our love for the world and for the praise we garner in the world, not for the Lord who is the purpose of all spiritual knowledge. Thus, our knowledge ends up making us intellectually fat – bloated with knowledge – yet unable to face life’s challenges resiliently and resourcefully as we could if our knowledge had energized us. 

The essence of spiritual knowledge is that we all are spiritual beings who are parts of a whole bigger than ourselves: the all-attractive supreme, Krishna. If we strive to serve him, doing our best according to our capacities and responsibilities, he empowers us to tolerate and transcend the world’s pleasures and troubles, while persevering in our purpose. 

This is how Arjuna became empowered after hearing the Bhagavad-gita (18.73). As a warrior, he had always been physically fit, but Gita wisdom made him devotionally fit, ready to face life’s toughest challenges. And the Gita can similarly empower all of us.  


Think it over:

  • How is spiritual knowledge like food?
  • How may spiritual knowledge make us intellectually fat?
  • How can spiritual knowledge make us devotionally fit?



18.73 Arjuna said: My dear Krishna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.

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