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 however, we may start seeking 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, especially 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.” Such a misdirected focus leads to us acquiring a lot of knowledge that stays in our head, but hardly enters into our heart. This knowledge increases our love for the world and the praise we garner in the world, not for the Lord who is the source of the world and not for satisfaction in inner spiritual absorption.

Thus, our knowledge ends up making us intellectually fat – bloated with knowledge – yet unable to face life’s challenges resiliently and resourcefully as we would be able to if we were animated by service attitude.

Being animated by a desire to contribute in a mood of service is what spiritual knowledge offers us if we understand that we are parts of something bigger than ourselves and are meant to do our best in a mood of loving harmony. This indeed was the effect on Arjuna 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 it can do the same for 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?


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