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What is Wisdom In Hinduism?

Wisdom in Hinduism – an understanding. Excerpt from an article titled ‘Wisdom or Eye of Knowledge by Gopal Chandra Bhar’ published in Prabuddha Bharata magazine December 2018.

One tends to think wisdom can be attained either through collecting as much information as possible or by cramming the mind with knowledge from diverse fields. The acquisition of knowledge requires meaningful information, which a random collection of information is not. Some feel wisdom is a wise use of the knowledge about human values. An unwise use of knowledge makes one a ‘learned fool’. One can read books and gain understanding about the process of enlightenment, but one will still remain in the theoretical domain. Even being knowledgeable about everything cannot make one wise; any amount of knowledge cannot lead to wisdom.

Wisdom is a unique combination of facts and skills acquired by a person through experience and education. Thus with supreme intellect and integral experience one may be able to realise one’s true nature. Sri Ramakrishna often used to say that simple knowing is not enough; one has to assimilate that through hard labour.

He illustrated this with the analogy of drinking milk: one does not know milk through reading or hearing about it, nor even by seeing it, but only after drinking it. He called it the feeling in one’s ‘own Pure Consciousness — about the real nature of Brahman’.

Swami Vivekananda was also of the opinion that information from the world outside can only serve as a stimulator. If one is adequately prepared, the information would crystallize from within as knowledge, otherwise the effects of all the information from the environment would be transient and virtually useless.