A noted chemist once crossed swords with Sri Yukteswar (Yoganandas Guru). The Visitor would not admit the existence of God, inasmuch as science has devised no means of detecting Him.
“So you have inexplicably failed to isolate the Supreme Power in your test tubes!” Masters gaze was stern. “I recommend an unheard-of experiment. Examine your thoughts unremittingly for twenty-four hours. Then wonder no longer at God’s absence.”
A celebrated pundit received a similar jolt. With ostentations zeal, the scholar shook the ashram rafters with scriptural lore. Resounding passages poured from the Mahabharata, the Upanishads, the bhasyas of Shankara.
“I am waiting to hear you.” Sri Yukteswars tone was inquiring, as though utter silence had reigned. The pundit was puzzled.
“Quotations there have been, in superabundance.” Masters words convulsed me with mirth, as I squatted in my corner, at a respectful distance from the visitor. “But what original commentary can you supply, from the uniqueness of your particular life? What holy text have you absorbed and made your own? Are you content to be a hollow victrola, mechanically repeating the words of other men?”
“I give up!” The scholar’s chagrin was comical. “I have no inner realisation.”
For the first time, perhaps, he understood that discerning placement of the comma does not atone for a spiritual coma.
“These bloodless pedants smell unduly of the lamp,” my guru remarked after the departure of the chastened one. “They prefer philosophy to be a gentle intellectual setting up exercise. Their elevated thoughts are carefully unrelated either to the crudity of outward action or to any scourging inner discipline!”
Master stressed on other occasions the futility of mere book learning.
“Do not confuse understanding with a larger vocabulary,” he remarked, “Sacred writings are beneficial in stimulating desire for inward realisation, if one stanza at a time is slowly assimilated. Continual intellectual study results in vanity and the false satisfaction on an undigested knowledge.”
pg. 130, Autobiography of a Yogi