विज्ञानं वाव ध्यानाद्भूयः विज्ञानेन वा ऋग्वेदं विजानाति यजुर्वेदं सामवेदमाथर्वणं चतुर्थमितिहासपुराणं पञ्चमं वेदानां वेदं पित्र्यंराशिं दैवं निधिं वाकोवाक्यमेकायनं देवविद्यां ब्रह्मविद्यां भूतविद्यां क्षत्रविद्यां नक्षत्रविद्यांसर्पदेवजनविद्यां दिवं च पृथिवीं च वायुं चाकाशं चापश्च तेजश्च देवांश्च मनुष्यांश्च पशूंश्च वयांसि च तृणवनस्पतीञ्छ्वापदान्याकीटपतङ्गपिपीलकं धर्मं चाधर्मं च सत्यं चानृतं च साधु चासाधु च हृदयज्ञं चाहृदयज्ञं चान्नं च रसं चेमं च लोकममुं च विज्ञानेनैव विजानाति विज्ञानमुपास्स्वेति ॥ ७.७.१ ॥
vijñānaṃ vāva dhyānādbhūyaḥ vijñānena vā ṛgvedaṃ vijānāti yajurvedaṃ sāmavedamātharvaṇaṃ caturthamitihāsapurāṇaṃ pañcamaṃ vedānāṃ vedaṃ pitryaṃrāśiṃ daivaṃ nidhiṃ vākovākyamekāyanaṃ devavidyāṃ brahmavidyāṃ bhūtavidyāṃ kṣatravidyāṃ nakṣatravidyāṃsarpadevajanavidyāṃ divaṃ ca pṛthivīṃ ca vāyuṃ cākāśaṃ cāpaśca tejaśca devāṃśca manuṣyāṃśca paśūṃśca vayāṃsi ca tṛṇavanaspatīñchvāpadānyākīṭapataṅgapipīlakaṃ dharmaṃ cādharmaṃ ca satyaṃ cānṛtaṃ ca sādhu cāsādhu ca hṛdayajñaṃ cāhṛdayajñaṃ cānnaṃ ca rasaṃ cemaṃ ca lokamamuṃ ca vijñānenaiva vijānāti vijñānamupāssveti || 7.7.1 ||
1. Vijñāna [the practical application of knowledge] is certainly superior to meditation. Through vijñāna one knows the Ṛg Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sāma Veda, and the fourth—the Atharva Veda; then the fifth—history and the Purāṇas; also, grammar, funeral rites, mathematics, the science of omens, the science of underground resources, logic, moral science, astrology, Vedic knowledge, the science of the elements, archery, astronomy, the science relating to snakes, plus music, dance, and other fine arts; also heaven and earth; air, space, water, and fire; the gods and human beings; cattle and birds; creepers and big trees; animals of prey as well as worms, fleas, and ants; merit and demerit; truth and untruth; good and evil; the pleasant and the unpleasant; food and water; and this world and the other world. One knows all this through vijñāna. Worship vijñāna.
Vijñānam vāva dhyānāt bhūyaḥ, vijñāna [i.e., the practical application of knowledge] is certainly superior to meditation; vijñānena vai vijānāti, through vijñāna one knows; ṛg vedam yajur vedam sāma vedam ātharvaṇam caturtham, the Ṛg Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sāma Veda, and the fourth, the Atharva Veda; itihāsa purāṇam pañcamam, history and the Purāṇas, as the fifth; vedānām vedam, grammar [lit., the Veda of the Vedas]; pitryam, rites offered out of respect to the ancestors; rāśim, mathematics; daivam, the science of meteors and other natural phenomena [and omens]; nidhim, the science of underground resources; vākovākyam, logic; ekāyanam, moral science; deva-vidyām, astrology; brahma-vidyām, knowledge of the Vedas; bhūta-vidyām, geology; kṣattra-vidyām, archery; nakṣatra-vidyām, astronomy; sarpa [-vidyām], snakecharming; devajana-vidyām, fine arts; divam ca, heaven; pṛthivīm ca, and the earth; vāyum ca, and air; ākāśam ca, and space; āpaḥ ca, and water; tejaḥ ca, and fire; devān ca, and the gods; manuṣyān ca, and human beings; paśūn ca, and animals; vayāṃsi ca, and birds; tṛṇa-vanaspatīn, creepers and big trees; śvāpadāni, animals of prey; ākīṭa-pataṅga-pipīlikam, worms, fleas, and ants; dharmam ca adharmam ca, merit and demerit; satyam ca anṛtam ca, and truth and untruth; sādhu ca asādhu ca, and good and evil; hṛdayajñam ca ahṛdayajñam ca, pleasant and unpleasant; annam ca rasam ca, food and water; imam ca lokam amum ca, this world and the other world; vijñānena eva vijānāti, one knows this through vijñāna; vijñānam upāssva iti, worship vijñāna.
Vijñāna is higher than dhyāna, meditation. What is vijñāna? It is knowledge of the meaning of the scriptures (vjñānam śāstrārthaviṣayam jñānam). There are so many scriptures, but suppose you are able to recite all of them from memory. That is not enough. You must understand the real purport of what each is saying and then put the teachings into practice.
Some people have one book that they read over and over again. It may be the Gītā or The Gospel
When Swami Turiyananda was young he would read one verse at a time from the Gītā and spend the whole day, or the next several days, meditating on it. He would not go on to the next verse until he had realized the truth of the one he had just read. This is vijñāna, and this is why vijñāna is higher than meditation.