What is Usable Knowledge?

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September 15, 2021

Shambhavi often talks about spiritual accomplishment showing up as usable knowledge. What does this mean? A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

So one of the things that you might hear me say fairly regularly is that the kind of wisdom or knowledge that we gain through doing spiritual practice is usable or even immediately usable.

Today, I was editing the audio file for a previous satsang, and I said something in it about not liking to apply the Western term philosophy to the View of our traditions.

Philosophy, of course, means love of knowledge.

The kind of knowledge that is talked about in Western philosophy is not that usable. It’s a kind of knowing that’s mostly intellectual, although not entirely. There are practical applications, but more indirectly than the kind of usable knowledge that we gain through doing practice.

When we have contact with our real nature, with living presence—or you could say God, the self, or as Anandamayi Ma just said, That—when we have contact with That, it is immediately equal to having some kind of greater understanding about reality and how it works. It is also equal to more feelings of devotion or more access to devotion.

We don’t get that in philosophy, which I studied a lot of when I was in university. You study philosophy and then maybe it’s very practical and you think about how you’re going to put it into use in your everyday life. You strategize about that perhaps.

Or maybe you read some philosophy that changes your outlook in a way that changes your behavior, which is more akin to what I’m talking about.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.