Knowledge is useful, but only to a wise user

Acharya Prashant
3 min readOct 17, 2019

You need knowledge in order to solve a problem. There is something bothering you, and so you want to go out and gather knowledge regarding that thing.

If you look at knowledge that man has gathered in various fields, you will easily see that all of man’s knowledge is related to man’s desire. Man does not try to gain knowledge in fields that have absolutely no connection with man’s fundamental desires.

Man desires, man gets not. And then man says, “Let me get knowledge, and use it as a tool in order to solve the problem of the desire remaining incomplete.” And that is why, you know why knowledge very quickly turns into technology — so that it can be used by man to fulfill desires.

Don’t you see how it happens?

Knowledge generation requires effort, time, endeavour, funds. Look at all the great laboratories throughout the world. They are driven by funding. And what kind of knowledge-generation is funded? You do not want knowledge in just any direction or dimension. You fund research in those fields that appear useful to ‘you’.

And that is the relation between ‘knowledge’ and ‘desire’.

You face problems, you have desire. You have desire, you face problems. And then you want knowledge. But what will you do when the fundamental problem itself is getting dissolved? What will happen to your tendency to gain knowledge? What will happen?

The one who feels that his destination is far away, wants knowledge about roads, about vehicles, about the terrains, about people, about guides. A lot of knowledge is needed because your destination is far away. What about the one who has reached the destination? How much knowledge does he need, and for what?

A hobby is something you have a good time with, but a hobby is not something that you would die without.

It is not as if the Buddhas do not have knowledge. They do have knowledge, but they are no more dependent on knowledge for their fundamental identity. Now they do not look towards knowledge as their saviour. Now they do not measure their self-worth on the perimeter of self-knowledge. And now they do not think that knowledge will deliver them out of their troubles. They know that knowledge is a useful tool and…