Question: Is cleverness bad for spirituality?Sri Chinmoy: We have to know first of all what we mean by cleverness. Cleverness can be something very undivine, a cunning or roguish quality. Again, cleverness from a different angle can be wisdom. In ordinary human life, we may use cleverness either to deceive someone or in some way to be a winner, while a third party will be the loser. But if you look at it from a very high point of view, cleverness is wisdom. This wisdom is absolutely necessary in the spiritual life. It is a higher weapon to conquer misunderstanding and many, many wrong forces. If you use your wisdom, then you see the good qualities of two parties — your own good qualities, let us say, and also the good qualities of the person with whom you are dealing. So by using wisdom, you save yourself and also the people who are concerned. In this way there can be harmony and peace.
In the spiritual life, wisdom is always necessary. This wisdom you can say is cleverness from a higher spiritual point of view. It is not the cleverness that will deceive someone or the cleverness that will make you the winner and someone else the loser — no, no, no. This is the wisdom that will bring to the fore not only your own good qualities, but also the good qualities of others. Wisdom-light is absolutely necessary in the spiritual life so that you can avoid misunderstandings and unhappiness.
Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy answers, part 18, Agni Press, 1999