Knowledge vs Wisdom

This is my first full fledged post for Andhra Cultural Portal, and I thank Pathi gaaru for giving me this opportunity. This would be a rather short post, not a very long one, just wanted to share some thoughts of mine.  This has to do with a rather interesting story from the Panchatantra. Now personally, I felt the Panchatantra had a lot to offer regarding wisdom or insights into the human mind. Those seemingly simple morality tales in the Panchatantra, carried a lot more meaning and wisdom, than any bulky text.

Once upon a time, there was a Rishi, who had 5 disciples, 4 of them were very intelligent, while the 5th was just about average. The 4 intelligent disciples, often looked down upon the 5th one, calling him a fool. The Rishi taught them the Sanjeevani mantra, which they could use to bring a dead living being back to life.

When their education was over, the 5 of them decided to move out to the world and make their living. As they passed through a thick forest, they saw the skeleton of a lion. The 4 intelligent disciples, felt it would be a good idea to test their knowledge of the Sanjeevani, on the lion’s carcass. The 5th not so intelligent disciple, was however aghast at the idea, warning them that it was a lion and would attack them. The 4 intelligent disciples, however ridiculed him, saying he was a fool, he would never understand what they are doing. So the disciples went about their task, one of them put together the bones, another put back the skin, the 3rd managed to get the body.

By now the 5th “foolish” disciple, knowing very well the danger, asked them to wait, and he clambered up a tree for safety. As expected, when the lion was bought to life, it turned on the 4 intelligent disciples, and killed them one by one. The 5th disciple, who managed to survive, could only bemoan the foolishness of his friends.

Quite often, like the 4 intelligent disciples, we often mistake knowledge for wisdom.  The 4 disciples had the intelligence to bring a dead lion back to life, but alas they lacked the wisdom and foresight to realize that it was  a risk to their own lives.  We are often so caught up with our “knowledge” , but we fail to realize that unless, we have the capability to discern, to make a wise choice, that knowledge is ultimately useless and can often turn out to be fatal too. Knowledge is like a knife, you could use it cut vegetables, or you could use it to take some one’s life too.  When we fail to think about the effect of what we are doing,  that knowledge really has no value. Knowledge only tells you the what and how, wisdom gives us the ability to discern, to make the right decision.  A scientist can use his intelligence to save humanity, he can also use it to destroy humanity, by working on deadly weapons.

We at times, are so blinded with arrogance about our knowledge, that when some one like the 5th disciple in that story warns us of the dangers, we dismiss them as fools.  But sometimes these so called “fools”  have much more sense and sensibility than the intelligent ones.  And this I feel is a failing of our education too, it only teaches us to cram facts, gain knowledge, but it never helps us to gain the capacity to discern and make the right choice. Our education, only teaches us to memorize blindly, but it does not help us to think or actually “learn”.  When you lose the ability to think, and analyze, we are no different in that sense from robots, who just blindly, follow and obey orders.

About Sadasyula

My name is Ratnakar, 45 yrs old, working as an IT professional in Hyderabad. My interests are movies, music, reading, history, tech. People can follow me on Twitter at ScorpiusMaximus. I blog at the following sites. A Mirror to India- General blog on India Rebuild Andhra- Inglorious Kweezerds- A Quizzing blog.

One thought on “Knowledge vs Wisdom

  1. Wonderful post that neatly summarizes the key ailment of Indians (especially Andhraites) today. I’m sure Acharya Vishnu Sarma would be smiling.

    And the privilege is ours, Ratnakar gaaru, in having a blogger/ twitter personality of your stature here at ACP. We look forward to reading more of such gems.

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