--> Skip to main content

Knowledge And Devotion Acting Together In Harmony Are Essential For Spiritual Success

The two, knowledge and devotion, acting together in harmony are essential. We could say that knowledge is the vehicle to take us forward and devotion is the fuel that drives our quest.

It is relatively easy to acquire knowledge if one has a good memory. With time and patience we can acquire the ability to recall large chunks of information. As we all know it is entirely another matter to understand and apply what we may have learned. Intelligence and knowledge are not necessarily the same thing.

The development of devotion to an ideal or person who appears to be wise is also fairly easy if we have suffered and are looking for a sagacious person who seems to know the solution to our problems. Nevertheless devotion without knowledge can easily lead us astray and we can vainly devote our time and energy to a cause that is flawed. The stories of disillusioned disciples whose masters have been found wanting are common.

The real purpose of the teachings of great Gurus is not just to give us instructions but to show us how to put them into practice in order to transcend our ignorance. True Gurus do not want us to memorise teachings and parrot them. They want us to live in a dynamic and creative pursuit for the truth.


As both blades of a pair of scissors are needed to cut a piece of cloth, so both self-effort and grace are needed to realize God. The grace of God is always blowing, like wind over the sea. A sailor who unfurls the boat’s sail catches the wind and reaches the destination smoothly. (Swami Chetanananda)