Q: Gurudev, what is the relation between knowledge and devotion? Can devotion be fruitful without knowledge?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now suppose you are fond of Rasgullas (a sweet) only then you will have a desire to eat it, right? How can you desire for something that you do not know anything about? How will you even desire or like it? So liking it is Bhakti.
And what will you love or desire? That which you already know a little about; so that knowing is knowledge. And once you like something or someone, then you make an effort to know more about them.
This is generally what happens between husband and wife. They fall in love before they get married and after getting married, they try to know each other better. They try to know what is the other is doing, where they are going. Even when they are in two different cities, they will ask each other on the phone, ‘What are you doing now? What did you eat?’
Even a mother does this when her children go away to a different city. ‘What did you eat today? Where did you go and what did you wear?’
When someone you love stays far away, there is an eagerness to know what they are doing, what they are wearing. This is because when you are in love with someone you will put an effort to know everything about that person. That is why sometimes in marriages the husband and wife feel that one is spying on the other. This is simple and happens naturally.
Where knowledge is present, automatically love also starts to blossom. Like an astronomer, as he keeps on reading about the Universe his interest increases so much that he gets completely engrossed in it, and falls in love with it. So you cannot separate knowledge and devotion. In the beginning, if there is knowledge, love (devotion) will soon follow. And if there is love (devotion) in the beginning then knowledge will soon follow. So never think of them as two separate paths.
In this life time itself if we become contented and depart with a sense of fulfillment, then everything will be alright. But during our last moments also if we are sad, or we curse or abuse people, or are angry then it is a problem.