The effect of knowledge

In the last entry I tried to put forward the point of view that there is essentially only one thing that we really know of. It is the feeling that we are alive. This feeling exists for no apparent reason and is complete and is indelible. Who can say that you do not exist? Since all of us know only this one thing, at this level of knowledge we are all equal. It is like saying two great batsmen in the game of Cricket are equal. Of course, they have their own separate identities but as far as their batsmanship is concerned they are same and hence if we are interested in them only as a batsman, we can think of them as equal. Their wives may beg to differ from our opinion but it does not matter to us.

Exactly in the same way, all great saints say that we are all equal. They very well know that we may have our separate individuality but they are interested in only our knowledge. How much this man knows? they ask. The answer is he knows the same as they or anyone else. There is essentially only one piece of knowledge as everyone knows it by default. Then we are all same they say. Not a single saint in this world has proclaimed that He or She is special, different. All of them teach that what they are we are, only we have not yet realised it.

It is not always that we realise what we have you see.  It is possible that in a beggars hut, enormous amount of gold is buried three feet under the ground of his usual sleeping place. What use it is to him if he doesn’t know it? He goes on begging everyday! Why underground? It is even possible that the very bowl that he has found dumped in a garbage bin is made of some precious metal and is of immense value.  But he keeps on begging.  It is the same case with us they say. We are all born with that golden nugget of knowledge. In our childhood we were aware of it and hence we were happy for no reason. We didn’t care whether our parents were ruling the nation or were construction workers. We were just happy being alive. Is it any wonder that almost all of us have a pleasant memories of our childhood and wistfully think of returning to that state of our lives? Over a period of time we have buried that knowledge under the place where we sleep. Or worse, we have used that knowledge of being alive to beg for our survival in this material world. Why do we want to succeed in this life so desperately? We know we are alive and somehow want to justify our existence to the world. If not the whole world, at least to our near and dear ones.  It is this struggle of proving something to someone else that is the root cause of all our unrest.

Imagine for a moment that there is no one (apart from you that is) in this world. It is just you and the trees, birds and the rivers and mountains. What would you do then? Would you set up alarm to wake up at a certain time or would you get up as you please. Would you even consider the concept of time? Why would you, there is no benefit in knowing that it is 8AM. It might as well be 11AM. Who cares. You are the only one in this world. You will move around freely as a child would do. Exploring whatever you can, whatever is near. Your entire life would as wonderful as your childhood.  This is the state of a paramahansa, the liberated one. He knows without slightest iota of doubt that He can be sure of only person’s existence in this world, Himself. Rest are all imperfect impressions caused by his senses. That is not knowledge, that is not the Truth. Whenever he wants, he can get rid of those impressions, modify them, alter them. We all say that certain person has changed. I never thought he would become like the one he/she is now. We still cling on the notion that it is the same person we are talking about. Why don’t we say that the body looks the same, (s)he has the same name but the person is different? Who do we not act with them as if we have met them for the first time? Because we are constantly looking for consistency. In knowledge there is perfection and no change. We think we knew the person so we cling on to that notion. The very fact that new data is being observed about the person (may be your wife, your son, mother or even yourself!) should tell you that you never knew him or her. But we are like those bad scientists who cling on to their hypothesis and reject the experimental data as errors.

Once you know that knowledge is complete and is not open to change, you will have to accept that there is nothing in this world that you know. Once you accept that you have nothing to prove. If you don’t know anything how can you be expected to be successful? There goes stress out of your life! You count your blessings for whatever you are right now, despite the fact that you do not know anything. Here comes gratitude to some force. The beginning of Bhakti lies in this deep gratitude. You are on your way to liberation boss!

This is the effect of knowledge. More on it next time.


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