General Concepts in Spirituality
Spirituality is to be experienced
In Spirituality, words have only 2% importance while 98% importance lies in the experience.
In the diagram, we see two cliffs and between them there is a chasm. How does one cross over from pure intellectual knowledge to the other side so as to experience the knowledge?
As you can see the bridge represents “spiritual practice” and is the key to experiencing the intellectual knowledge. ‘Spiritual practice’ is a stumbling block for even the most intelligent person who reads or listens to any matter on Spirituality. The reason being most intellectuals tend to get caught up in the words and debate the holy scriptures. However ultimately one needs to experience Spirituality and the words written in the scriptures. (Refer to article on What are Spiritual Experiences?)
This can be understood by the famous story of the scholar and the boatman.
Once a scholar was being ferried across a river by a poor boatman. During the boat-ride, they spent a while in conversation. The scholar named a number of holy texts and asked the boatman if he had studied them. When the boatman replied in the negative, the scholar remarked, “You have wasted half your life.” As this discussion was going on, the boat sprang a leak and water rapidly entered it through the crevices. Seeing this, the boatman asked the scholar, “Sir, can you swim?” The scholar replied, “I have read several books on swimming and gathered a lot of information on it, but I cannot swim.” The boatman then commented, “Then your entire life has gone to waste. The boat is about to sink!”
The scholar’s theoretical knowledge was of no use to him. Similarly, to be able to cross this vast ocean of worldly life and experience happiness through it, one should practice Spirituality and not just acquire verbal knowledge.