The Limitations of Knowledge from Isa Upanishad- Para 9

They who  worship ignorance enter into darkness
They who  worship knowledge enter into greater darkness

andhaÌ  tamaÕ praviÙanti ye'vidyÀmupÀsate,
tato  bhÓya iva te tamo ya u vidyÀyÀÌ ratÀÕ.

The  first line is easy to understand  and logically acceptable , everyone  knows if you worship ignorance, you will enter darkness..

The second  line is difficult to comprehend much less accept  ..... if you worship knowledge, how do you enter greater darkness? It  is so counter intuitive.

Let us spend some time understanding the second statement.

When  you are  pricked by a painful thorn in your feet. You sometimes  can use  a larger thorn to pull the small thorn out of your flesh.  Do you then hang  on to the larger thorn after you extract the smaller one?  No, you throw it away right.  So it is with knowledge. You use the larger thorn of knowledge to  pull out the smaller thorn of ignorance, Then you throw both away. So  why at some point of time does knowledge have to be thrown away?

Let us examine another analogy. As  Buddha once said, “You  use the boat to cross the river, but  once you have crossed the river, you dont carry the boat on your head after you cross the river.  You have to leave it behind,  and start walking”.

So  how does this  have anything to do with worshiping knowledge which pushes you to greater darkness?

The  key to  understanding this sentence is Understanding the word ‘worship’  and a deeper understanding of the concept termed ‘ knowledge’.

‘Worship’  implies as certain infatuation. A deep honor accorded to an object.  It implies an unquestioning belief in the object of worship.

You  have also to develop  a deeper understanding of the concept called knowledge, the  dangers of focussing on acquiring knowledge for knowledges sake. Not  to forget the  dangers of holding on to knowledge.

All  knowledge is memory committed to your brain about  lessons learnt from a past event or of the sequence of the event  itself, whether you acquired it a second ago or years ago, the instant you  get knowledge, its a memory committed  to occupying your mind space , and  as every second passes, it becomes a  deeper part of the  past .  In  as much as you are born you are closer to death every second, knowledge  starts to become more  and more information  stored about  the fast receding past.   The more you acquire knowledge. 1) The  more you have stored past memories 2) The more brain space you have eaten 3) The more the stuff in your  brain is getting dated. (  it could  perhaps  be of  current use,  but like everything has an expiry date in this universe, so does  knowledge. It is like a perishable food product. If not consumed  after some time it has to be thrown away). Sooner  or later all the knowledge that you have will be useless.

So  where does this leave us with the oft quoted term  ‘timeless  knowledge’. Hindu  Yogis and Buddhists  understand and  define extremely well  the four laws that govern the coming apart of all human constructs,  which includes knowledge

The  universe is the living present,  although  eternal and  timeless.  The only constant is change although perhaps at varying speeds  for different phenomenon or objects. This by definition means, we can  never completely define  or completely comprehend the present moment by  knowledge which always uses the past as a refrence.  At the most it is an approximation for the receiver to comprehend. As  explained as  soon as you acquire knowledge within  seconds,  it’s already becoming  a memory of a receding past.

Knowledge  and memories may serve  well in a gross real world as some sort of a guidance or reference to operate in the current moment. A man’s life is a  very limited span, even then only a small fragment of your knowledge  will be used over your entire life span. Most of it will be obsolete  and useless within a few hours, days, years, decades or your lifetime

Self  realization and the higher levels beyond that, is more  timeless than  the gross world the average person lives in,  the brain is very small and limited.  Its capacity is only that much in its ability to handle tasks at the gross level of existence.

You  have a choice,………..You  can either use this  limited brain as a tool to process pure awareness  of the greater timeless universe in real time, or, as  a library overloaded with dated knowledge and  records of a constantly eroding and changing mundane earth, eating up  the extremely limited storage capacity of your brain.   Which  would you choose?

One of  the dangers of believing only knowledge is going to lift you to greater heights of realization, is that, with that belief you will focus on, and acquire more and more of  dated information i.e. knowledge. This quickly leads  to a situation where the person starts to feel  knowledgible and walks around with a puffed up  chest and a bloated  head . Sometimes they do pretend to be humble , as respectable books (and the do read many) reminded them to be humble. A forced pretended humility is  paraded for others to see, yet deep  inside they feel they are  superior as they are more ‘knowledgeable’.

One  of the dangers of feeling you know more is, you can’t  accept there are other points of view in the universe,  which may perhaps be superior or bluntly not agree with yours. .Even  when you hear that view, you are driven by a voice within your head  that says that the other  point of view is invalid and/or  inferior  to yours .  You then reach a catch 22 of ‘I am more knowledgeable,  therefore my point of view has to be right, and because it’s right  I am more knowledgeable ’. The irony is lost to such people that  they could be completely lost in their own whirls, not an inch closer  to the truth in their complete lifetime.

This  excessive pride which when acquired,   is frequently expressed as, ‘I/we know more. Yours/Theirs is an  inferior knowledge’. Over time their mind looses its  ability of evolve further as it goes round and round its own limited pools of information.  The mind then evolves another self preservation mechanism by  defending the limited information it has, against  attack from other information that threatens its existence.

Frequently  you see such people spend the rest of their lives marking  time in the same place with their sense of anxiety and restlessness  growing, followed by aggression. An  unreasonable sense of frustration builds up  and they become even more hostile to other points of view.

Another  frequent phenomenon “worshipers of knowlege “ display in  the very early stages in their path. When  they acquire a bit of knowledge and the ego is suitably armed to  impress others, they receive adoration. This further bloats their ego. The bigger  their Ego grows, the harder to accept new knowledge that threatens  the knowledge they already possess, especially if it comes from a  perceived rival. This leds to a situation where they shut themselves off forever from progress  or growth.  They dig themselves into a corner where they get locked wit  their over bloated ego, completely unable to move or progress.

These  the yogis term  as the dangers “WORSHIPERS of knowledge”  commonly  suffer. Knowledge is a rudimentary tool to start to understand  the universe.So use it as an instrument, understand its limitations and be happy to let go of what you have , not something to retained  at all costs , treasured or  worshiped.

If  you want to understand the universe as seers do, The universe is too  big for this  small human brain to store and to process and  store that much ‘knowledge’.

In  short , the Universe (or Bhraman) as yogis call it can never be  completely comprehended or captured  by knowledge alone.

So  how do Yogis and Seers comprehend the universe,  if knowledge is so limited in nature ?

The  only way the universe can be comprehended is by achieving complete emptiness of mind. The  mind is so empty of its own machinations, that it becomes a mirror to  the universe. A  complete stillness where one  cant  differentiate between consciousness and non consciousness. Its called  reaching zero point or  shunya of  thought and brain activity,  also called bindu state.   All knowledge has to be shut down and becomes completely pointlessness at this time. The moment you think. The brain has a  ripple, and you  only see the drama of your own ego play .  Like a self shot movie where you are the hero in your own production.  Only in  that stillness the personal ego and the ‘I’ will  die.  When that  “I”,  which is a artificial construct of the ego ceases to exist, will  the universe start to be reflected in the still  transparent mind.

Just  the same way that you are able to see the universe  through a  reflective telescope , where the better the smoothness  and reflective capacity of the mirror, and  the magnification of the objective observing lens , the  better the resolution of the image  in the telescope.  In just the same way , the more  silent and unruffled the brain is the better it is as a mirror. And  the more focused the mind is, it’s like an objective lens with a  better magnifying power. Both bring a greater resolution to  everything around you in the entire universe.

If  you have completely understood this analogy, you will see knowledge  plays no part in observing and understanding the universe. In fact  the more you hold on to it dearly, the greater the hindrance to  seeing and understanding the universe as it is.

Zero  state of activity of  the mind or brain is not as some people believe a comatose state,  it’s in fact in a strange paradox is called the super alert or Samadhi state (trancendental  state). Your  consciousness expands to  infinity hyper awareness when it’s not bound by your personal human  ego.

The  nature of the mirror is that it always shows live information and all  that it sees. The mirror does not hold historical data, like we just  established knowledge does.

That  is why I always laugh inwardly when I  hear people  say, His  knowledge is flawed mine is  right. The process of acquiring an understanding of the ultimate  subtle truth is not through books or other traditional sources ,  but a killing of the ‘I‘ that leads to a direct observance of the  manifest and unmanifest universe in real time.

In  even more advanced states , the observer disappears and the observer  and the observed merge into that oneness  or void  or shunyatam  (the final stable state beyond all illusion, beyond illusory gods, illusory heavens or hells too)  as the Hindus  label it and emptyness as the Buddhists  labeld it many centuries later.  The  observer and the observed become one. (there is some debate on this  subject)

When  you  approach and live in this expanded consciousness  with no  thought,  itt’s not your creation or thought you are watching, but the universe operating in real time.  No language has been invented to explain  this state of silent observance where the awarness has expanded to  infinity. Knowledge cannot compete with it. Words or language can’t explain  it

Only  fools from  different belief systems argue,  what we think is right, what you think is wrong. The universe does not play different shows for different  people of different beliefs. Its not a cinema theater where you choose to see the show you want or write the script you want.  Anyone with constant meditation, and right intention and continuous   sadhna, gets a ticket to the same show. Its silly for mortals who can  barely fight  off sleep, hunger  and bowl movements to comment on extremely realized souls, saying, people  from that belief system  will go that far, we will go further . Realized  souls at such levels irrespective of a belief system are  beyond the artificial constructs of all religions or narrow  philosophies. They dont need a philosophy, They are watching a live  show of the universe dance and play in real time. And  remember, there is only one show.

Realized  souls just see all humanity as individuals divided  between ‘realized’ or ‘yet  to be realized’  and have compassion for all irrespective. Special compassion is reserved for the non-realized,  but sincerely striving.

Another  falacy ‘worshipers of knowledge’  frequently fall into is the  quagmire of debate. Do observers of the universe have to prove a  point through debate? Can  a debate change the nature of reality? Can there be more than one  reality? Does a debate prove the nature of truth or the vocal skill  and dexterity of the debater to weave words?

All  yogis and gurus from all traditions, have constantly repeated, the  enormous universe is beyond the human mind to comprehend logically through Knowledge.

It is very very essential  therefore to understand knowledge is a limited tool  and to understand its limitations.

Knowledge  is essential in  limited amounts to survive in the gross states of samsara,  but never believe its sufficient  to take you through to an  understanding of the subtle states of the Universe, or to higher  states of realization.

Finally,  true knowledge comes in constant meditation and silent contemplation.  That is why hindu and buddhist yogis, shut themselves off from the  world. Neither the Brahmin in the Temple will acquire complete  knowledge reading sanskrit texts or the monk reading endless books. 

Ultimate  knowledge is experiential.

This  was written with deep love and a desire to end  what I  see and   observe when I see people of one school of thought/religion start to  pass judgements on another. Such ‘worshipers of knowledge’ have  neither complete knowledge of their path, much less the others. Yet  they indulge in endless debates which are completely futile.

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