26 April 2014 - QA 4

Gurudev, in the 9th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, you have said that there is a difference between Gyaan (knowledge) and information. Please explain.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Information is something that even a computer can give and take. Filling our mind with information is not Gyaan.
If a person reads a lot of books and knows all the information in those books, then we don’t say he is a Gyaani.
If someone mugs up the Vedas, the Quran, the Bible, etc., and keeps pointing to chapters, page numbers, verses, then this person has just collected information. He has mugged it all up, but that is not knowledge.
Gyaan is that which becomes an experience of life. It is that which sets you free. It is that which gives you a glimpse of the ocean of peace which is within you. It is that which raises a wave of love within you, and which brings a change in your personality.

Collecting information is something what many so called scholars do. They just collect the information and keep saying it. But if you try to get them to speak one word of wisdom, nothing comes out of them. This is because the knowledge has not permeated their life at all. They are still caught in raaga (desire), dvesha (bitterness), eersha (envy), ahankaar (ego). How can we call them knowledgeable (gyaani) then?