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Truth Of Life: [1.2] Ishwara - 02 - Is Knowledge Ishwara?

Published: 22.05.2008
Updated: 02.07.2015

The Art & Science Of Living

Chapter 1. 

Ishwara: Friendliness


Is Knowledge Ishwara?

[True Knowledge enhances friendliness and reduces attachment and hatred. Knowledge based on attachment leads to arguments, corruption and unethical practices. True knowledge may be gained through meditation.]

Milk is white, irrespective of whether it is the milk of a cow, a goat, a swallowwort or the cactus. Whether the milk is nourishing or poisoning can be determined through discrimination. Milk can be nutritive but it can be detrimental to life also. The milk of the cow nourishes, but the milk of the swallowwort plant or cactus kills.

Questions like, "Is knowledge Ishwara?“ cannot be replied decidedly. The question whether knowledge is Ishwara can only be answered only on the basis of discrimination. Knowledge may be Ishwara or may not be Ishwara. Knowledge may take us near Ishwara and may take us away from Ishwara.

Knowledge appears in many forms, although in essence it is non-dual. Knowledge can be defined as the medium through which Ishwara is known and realised. The meaning of knowledge differs on the basis of the context, which may change its essence. Spiritual masters have named that knowledge as ignorance, which enhances attachment, passion, desire and hatred. In their view, knowledge is that which actually reduces attachment and hostility, and increases friendliness. This knowledge is "Ishwara".

Nowadays the main problem is that knowledge which increases friendliness or decreases attachment and hostility is very rare whereas the knowledge, which aggravates conflicts and rears up attachment and enmity is abundant.

It cannot be denied that intellectual knowledge is mandatory to earn a livelihood and to know the facts. The knowledge of mathematics, language, logic, technology and architecture is necessary to lead a life, but that knowledge will never lift you up to the level of Ishwara.

People merely sustaining themselves within the premises of intellectual knowledge are the root cause of most problems. They only contribute and nurture dishonesty, unethical propensities, corruption, suppression and exploitation because the root cause of these evils is shallow knowledge. Those, whose intellectual development is better, can resort to duping more skilfully as they are supported by their sharp intellect. People who are simple will indulge in less and limited unethical conducts, and cannot hide the facts as they lack the clever logic to justify their actions. The boldness of indulging in unethical conduct and then ensuring cleverly that nobody learns the truth can be practised only by those whose power of logic and intellect have developed sufficiently. Such people can easily justify a wrong act and condemn right conduct.

Knowing an evil is one thing and after knowing it, escaping from it is an entirely different thing. Those who indulge in the pursuits of likes and dislikes will know the evil but will not be able to overcome it. In Uttradhyan (a Jain canonical text), there is an anecdote of a Supreme Sovereign, Brahmadutt who met his brother of previous birth, Chitra, and invited him to enjoy his abundant luxuries and comforts. Chitra heard him attentively and said, "Revered king, do not consider me a beggar. As a matter of fact I have sacrificed comforts and conveniences voluntarily; not out of sheer stupidity but after deep contemplation. There is no question of availing those comforts now. I have grown with the facts of life - that life is fleeting and transient, matter is perishable, man has to face alone the outcome of his own actions. Kith and kin can at the most share and participate in enjoying worldly objects of life. One has to reap the fruits of ones own deeds or misdeeds. Therefore, O King, all this song and dance is absurd. All ornaments are burdensome and desires are painful. Since I have known and lived this reality, I cannot accept your invitation."
This is also knowledge. But Brahmadutt says, "Brother, what you are saying is very true, I do know this but my levels of attachment are so dense and deep-rooted that despite knowing the truth of life I am unable to leave these material attractions. Your direction of life is totally out of sync with that of mine." Although both of them met, they moved differently in their respective directions of life in the wake of being ordained with different forms of knowledge. One of them had the real, inner, spiritual knowledge, which kept him aware and out of delusion. The other one had physical, material and fictitious knowledge, which was strengthening his deep delusion, though both of them were equally cognisable with the rudimentary, elemental and factual knowledge.

In fact, real knowledge is that which removes material ornaments and lets one know reality as it is. Such knowledge is really a saviour.

There is a Chinese story about an officer named Chisen. A businessman came to bribe him and said, "I have this job, if you help me, I shall offer you a good amount of money as a gift.' Initially the officer felt greedy but knowledge prevailed upon him and he said, "Brother, I would have agreed to the job and accepted your gift but this fact has been known to three people and six ears. The facts which reach six ears, cannot remain secret, so I beg to be excused for my inability to help you." The businessman said, "This is not known to anybody else except me and you, so it is confined to only four ears and not six ears." The officer said, "This fact is known to three people, myself, yourself and the third one is hhwara. Any talk, which is known to three persons, cannot remain a secret."

The officer outrightly rejected an immense amount of bribe. Today, this act of the officer may be considered stupid and brash.

But if we view it honestly then we will actually understand that the officer's rejection of money was due to his untainted knowledge, totally free from greed, desire and attachment. Such knowledge is "Ishwara".

The knowledge, which binds us to the material world, is ignorance. Ignorance cannot enlighten a person. A mirror is a means of an image, but if it is blackened then it cannot reflect an image. An electric bulb is a means for manifesting light, but if its filament is broken, it becomes meaningless, as it is no longer capable of giving light. Similarly, knowledge gives enlightenment but when it is covered or blinded by delusion then it can only give darkness.

Today's era is that of the computer. There has been much development of knowledge. The computer is designed to do almost all jobs. Has this technological and computerized development made any progress in developing friendliness and compassion? Are people co-existing amicably? Isn't the continuance of construction of atomic bombs and disastrous arms, literally a preparation for ruthlessly killing humanity. Hasn't knowledge developed so much that the whole universe can be burnt to ashes within minutes? This destructive development is the outcome of only that knowledge which is the sole contributor to all comforts and luxuries of mankind. But the paradox is that the same knowledge is also amassing weapons meant for human destruction. On one side the expenditure of millions of rupees is being incurred to discover medicines, and materials for the sake of human health and comforts. Hectic efforts are being made to somehow increase the average human lifespan and on the other hand, devastating arms and ammunitions are being built to destroy humanity in a second. This contradiction has arisen from knowledge which is based on attachment, likes and dislikes.

Such knowledge is only able to encourage attachment and hatred, and encourage contradiction. Unfortunately, this truth is not influencing those people who are leading a life of attachment and hatred, for they do not consider this as a paradox. The people amassing arms hold the conviction and logic that they are simultaneously constructing arms for balancing power and not for the destruction of humanity. Only nations with large-scale arms and ammunition are considered powerful.

When you are awakened, only then you realise the contradiction of that knowledge, and of the wrongs being done. As long as knowledge remains vitiated and polluted by attachment, hatred and passion, man seeks evil anywhere, i.e., he remains evil-centred.

A businessman was in front of the Deity of Death who asked him where he wished to go - to heaven or to hell. The businessman replied, "I don't bother about heaven or hell, but please send me anywhere where I can earn some money." This is the state of deep attachment to money.

Kalsokarik was a renowned butcher of his time. He used to kill five hundred buffaloes every day. Once he was put inside a dark cell by the king. There too, he fulfilled his deep-rooted attachment to killing buffaloes by making and killing imaginary clay buffaloes. This is also a sort of attachment.

When Kalsokarik died, his son Sulas was to be declared head of his dynasty by performing a ritual of sacrificing a buffalo. His whole clan was gathered and Sulas was ordered 1 to kill the buffalo. He said, "I cannot kill a buffalo." The ] wisdom possessed by Sulas was free from cruelty and he was awakened to his knowledge. Kalsokarik couldn't exist without killing buffaloes, and Sulas couldn't kill buffaloes. The difference in their tendencies was the subtle difference in their knowledge. So the knowledge associated with delusion takes to the evils. The knowledge detached from delusion flows like a free knowledge stream and such knowledge itself is Ishwara.

Prekshadhyana is a process of awakening one's own reasoning mind and thereby controlling one's passions and emotions. It is based on the principle of engaging your mind by concentration on perception rather than on thought. Perception is the internal phenomena of consciousness of external objects. It is a technique of seeing one's inner self. We cannot practise plain awareness or plain perceiving. Only a rare person can perceive plain awareness. One who can perceive plain awareness is the Ishwara. We identify men by positions, degrees and adjectives, such as he is Vinod, he is beloved, he is unloved, he is dishonest, he is a minister etc. We are not aware that he is consciousness, he is a soul. We know him by his external appearances and recognise him by epithets. This knowledge is not pious or sacrosanct.

To know a being without relating him to any adjectives and epithets is real sacrosanct knowledge. As long as your awareness is associated with attachment and hatred, it will remain simply knowledge and when the awareness is free from attachment and hatred then it becomes meditation and sadhana. Detachment is not an accidental and abrupt happening, it flourishes gradually. It is almost impossible to lead a totally detached life, also it is untrue that we cannot remain detached for some moments. We can certainly exist in the state of detachment for some moments, this is the only inclination towards meditation.

There was a Korean saint named Richhai. A young man came to him and said, "I want to do 'sadhana'. Tell me the method by which I can attain perfection." The saint said, "You will have to invest a minimum of thirty years in sadhana." He was stunned at this answer, and exclaimed, "Thirty years!" The saint then said, "No it is sixty years now, and not thirty years. "The sadhaka said, "What is this? How have you doubled the period of sadhana" The saint said, "The scepticism existing in your mind has increased the duration from thirty to sixty years." The sadhaka went home and kept thinking. Then concluded that even if his whole lifespan was dedicated to achieving perfection it was worthwhile. He had acted stupidly. He went back to the saint and sought apology for his ignorance and agreed to devote whatever time was required to attain perfection. He further pleaded to be taught the methodology of meditation {sadhana).

He started sadhana and got perfection within three years. He bowed at the holy feet of the saint and said, "You had said that I would get perfection in sixty years and I got it within three years." The saint said, "I was correct, because as long as you are restless, fickle minded and lacking in faith, the time of perfection will go on increasing. Since you managed to give up atheism, you accomplished perfection within three years."

One can feel detachment within three years provided one has the determination to give up scepticism altogether.
There exist only two paths - one is the path of attachment and the other is the path of detachment. You have to choose one of the paths. If you choose the path of detachment and are eager to pursue this path, then do not hurry up at all. Do not be fickle minded, but have full faith and advance step by step. You will surely reach your coveted goal. You will realise real knowledge and intuition. You will be the possessor of this invaluable awareness and asset of human life. This knowledge is Ishwara.

Edited by Muni Dulharaj
Copyright by Pathfinder Trust, New Delhi, India ©2001
Published by Sterling Publishers Pvt.Ltd., New Delhi, India
Translated by Pathfinder Trust, New Delhi, India
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Concentration
  2. Consciousness
  3. Contemplation
  4. Greed
  5. Meditation
  6. Prekshadhyana
  7. Sadhaka
  8. Sadhana
  9. Science
  10. Science Of Living
  11. Soul
  12. Truth Of Life
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