Question: Does it help our spiritual progress to understand things intellectually?1

Sri Chinmoy: 'Understanding' is a very tricky word. Today we may understand something in a particular way, but tomorrow that same understanding may not satisfy us. Tomorrow we may develop another kind of understanding and feel that yesterday's understanding was absolutely useless. The mind's understanding is constantly changing, so we can never find real certainty or satisfaction on the path of the mind. But it is not at all necessary to understand things intellectually. There have been many spiritual giants who have not used the mind; they have used the heart instead. On the strength of their heart's oneness with God, they have felt and realised everything.

If we follow the path of the heart, which immediately identifies with the Reality, then we can claim the Reality as our very own. If we want to learn something directly and understand it fully, then the heart is the answer. When the mind surrenders to the heart, only then does it get abiding joy and satisfaction and become as happy as the heart. Eventually it is bound to do this. To say that the mind will never cry for light or receive light would be a mistake. The mind will undoubtedly cry for light and receive light, and there will come a time when the mind will have the same joy as the heart. Otherwise, God's creation can never be perfect, and God will never allow us to remain imperfect.

  1. MUN 276-278. 1 June 1976.