Question: You always speak of the heart. Isn't mental education also important in the spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: When I say we have to give more importance to the heart than to the mind, people don't understand me. They say, "What is wrong with the mind?" But I wish to say that the mind is really inferior to the heart. The mind is constantly contradicting itself, whereas the heart is not like that. The heart sees the truth; then it tries to follow the truth and finally it tries to embody the truth. Mental wisdom, outer education, is not at all required for the seeker who wants to enter into the infinite Peace, Bliss and Power. A university education is wonderful as far as the outer world is concerned, but in the realm of spirituality, in the realm of self-knowledge, this education is no education at all.

I wish to tell you a story. There was once a great scholar who was being ferried to the other shore by a boatman. On the way, the great Pundit said to the boatman, "Have you studied the scriptures? Have you studied the different systems of Indian philosophy? Have you studied the Gita, the Upanishads? "The poor boatman said, "No, I have not studied them. I do not know what they teach." The scholar said, "Then you are a real fool." Now, all of a sudden there arose a storm and the boat was about to capsize. The boatman said to the Pundit, "The boat will now sink. Do you know how to swim?" The Pundit did not know how to swim, so the boatman placed him on his shoulders and took him to the shore. Then he said, "What shall you do with all of your knowledge? I know only one thing — how to swim — and that has saved us."

What do we learn from this story? If we are in the sea of ignorance, if this world is the sea of ignorance, then what real help shall we get by learning subjects that are taught in the schools? Now, I am not saying that education is unimportant. Far from it! In the outer life it is most important. But by getting knowledge and information from universities, one must not feel that one has acquired real wisdom. The world is a sea of ignorance. In order to swim across the sea of ignorance, one needs only one thing, and that is meditation. And for that, one needs the heart, not the mind. If one can meditate well, one will eventually cross the sea. But by studying books, by getting outer information, one can never do it.