There is a lot of difference, and the difference is not quantitative, it is qualitative. Knowledge is belief. Knowledge is others’ experience, not your own. They say there is God and you believe in it. This is knowledge.
A young man can become very knowledgeable. There is no trouble in it. You need a good memory, you need to make a little effort. The same thing can be done some day by a computer: you can carry a computer in your pocket, no need to make your head too heavy with the libraries, the computer can carry all the knowledge.
Remember, soon computers will replace all your knowledge. The pundit is going to disappear from the world, the computer will take its place. And I say “its” place knowingly, consideredly, because a pundit is a mechanism, he is not a man.
That’s all you have been doing with the brain – you go on feeding it information.
Knowledge is borrowed. Others know it; you believe they must be true. Wisdom comes through your own experience. Knowledge is an accumulation, wisdom is also an accumulation. But knowledge is accumulation of others’ experiences, wisdom is accumulation of your own experience. A young man can never be wise; he can be knowledgeable –because for wisdom time is needed. Old people are wise because you have to pass through experiences.
You can read many books on love and you can know much about love, what others have said about it, but to know love itself you will have to pass through experience – which is time-absorbing. By the time you know something about love, the youth, your young age, will have gone. You will be old, but wise.
Old age is wise, youth can be knowledgeable. Wisdom is one’s own experience accumulated; knowledge is others’ experience accumulated by you.
Then what is understanding? Understanding is non-accumulative. What difference does it make whether somebody else experienced and you believed, or you experienced and then you believed? That experience is of the past. It is no more there, and you have changed so much – and everybody is changing every moment – that an old man who says, “In my youth I experienced this,” is talking about somebody else because he is no more the same.
A little closer wisdom is than knowledge, but not very close. Understanding is non-accumulative; you don’t accumulate either others’ experiences or your own. You need not accumulate, you grow. Understanding is always fresh; wisdom is a little dusty and old, wisdom is always of the past, your own past. Knowledge is also of the past – of others’ pasts. But what difference does it make finally? Because your own past is as far away from you as others’ pasts; you are no more the same. Every moment the river is flowing, says old Heraclitus, you cannot step in the same river twice.