Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Knowledge Vs Wisdom: From Sheikh Sadi's Gulistan

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 30 August 2022 “Aql Ko Gumaan Hai Ke Har Shai Maaloom Hai Ilm Ki Inkisaarii Ke Kuchh Seekha Nahin Ab Tak” -Yaas Yagana Changezi (Knowledge presumptuously thinks that it knows everything/ Wisdom is modest enough to admit that nothing has been learnt thus far) The great didactic writer, teacher and polymath, Sheikh Saadi of Shiraz narrated a fascinating parable in his tome ' Gulistan. ‘Its relevance is eternal. An enlightened mystic had three disciples. One was extremely wise and silent and the other two, though very learned, were quarrelsome, noisy and a trifle arrogant. One day they began to fight over each one being superior to the other. The third disciple just didn't pay any attention and was as silent and cool as an ocean. When the Mystic heard the noises and came to know that his two learned disciples were fighting over their respective superiority, he laughed and called both. He asked them whether they saw their third friend. They said, yes they did. ‘What did you notice,' he asked the quarrelsome disciples. 'He is unaffected and very calm despite so much din and bustle,' they replied. 'This is the very distinct difference between you and that disciple,' Master said. ‘Though you two are knowledgeable, he is WISE.' A wise man's wisdom always makes him unaffected and calm. He is like an ocean without ripples, but knowledge is always noisy because it has arrogance and false pride. Wisdom is always humble and far from fanfare. It's like, Jis Mein Jitna Josh Hai Woh Utna Hi Khamosh Hai. A savant is always silent. That's the reason, a truly wise man doesn't bother whether or not he knows anything or what people think of him. He's not in competition with anyone regarding his wisdom. When wisdom descends, one realizes that one knows nothing, whereas knowledge thinks that it has answers to all questions and is complete. Knowledge lacks that proverbial oceanic placidity and is always restless. Knowledge has youngish playfulness; wisdom has mature profundity. In the worldly context, knowledge is gaudy and garish, but wisdom has gravitas. Wisdom thinks that the journey has just begun. On the other hand, knowledge thinks that the journey has reached its end. For wisdom, the destination is yet to come but for knowledge, destination has already arrived. Wisdom thinks that nothing can be known with certainty but knowledge thinks that everything can be known with certitude. Knowledge differentiates but wisdom discerns. Jalaluddin Rumi put it in a very succinct manner, 'Knowledge and wisdom are like young age and old age. When one is young, he or she is full of arrogant confidence, but with advancing age, the person's arrogance paves the way for mellowed maturity that has greater depth like that of an ocean.' To use a simple analogy, if knowledge is a culvert, wisdom is the cosmos because the scope of the cosmos can never be fathomed. It's simply unfathomable. Knowledge is what is gathered over time through study of innumerable books and tomes. It can be said that wisdom, in turn, acts properly upon that knowledge. Wisdom is the fitting application of knowledge. Knowledge understands that the light has turned red; wisdom applies the brakes. Knowledge sees the quicksand; wisdom walks around it. Knowledge memorizes the Quranic verses, Shlokas, hymns and all scriptural mumbo-jumbo; wisdom mulls over them. Knowledge learns of god; wisdom lacerates and questions it. We all must strive to have the depth of a profoundly wise man, for whom everything is relative and nothing is superior or inferior. So, go beyond the superficiality of knowledge and delve into the realms of wisdom. To quote an Urdu poet, " Tah Mein Jaa, Tu Satah Se Qat'-E-Nazar Kar Ke Dekh/Qatre-Qatre Mein Samandar Hai, Nazar Paida Kar " (Go deeper and touch the bottom, ignoring the surface/ Every drop contains an ocean, develop that kind of discernment). ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/knowledge-wisdom-sheikh-sadi-gulistan/d/127832 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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