What is Knowledge
Knowledge is everything. There are 2 modes via which we gather knowledge: Through direct experience, and from external source. The knowledge gained from direct experience is complete, self-evident, and fulfilling. The knowledge gained from external sources is incomplete, fragmented, requires evidence for its validity, and is not satisfying. Direct knowledge alone should be considered valid. Direct experience is the highest of all ways of gaining knowledge.
Generally we keep gathering knowledge from the external world in the form of information. The world around us is an ever present teacher. Our mother is our first teacher, then our father, and then our brothers and sisters. Later we learn from the children with whom we play, from teachers at school, and from the writers of books. No matter what we have learned, we have not learned a single thing independently. Still we call ourselves learned. Realized sages pity us because we have not learned anything independently. All our ideas are the ideas of others. That is why it is not satisfying. Even if we have mastered an entire library, still it doesn’t satisfy us.
World outside only gives us facts to relate to that particular knowledge that is already within us. By gaining worldly knowledge, we develop the skills that are useful for gathering means and resources. A resourceful person can then have a better chance to direct his energies inward to explore the subtler and more glorious dimensions of life.
e.g [ As per the story Newton discoverd the principle of gravity when he saw an apple fell one day and he suddenly understood the principle of gravity. But apples fall down every day and usually we do not discover anything. Newton actually discovered the law from within. The real source of knowledge is within. ]
Source of True Knowledge: Self-Knowledge
The knowledge gained in the form of information serves a noble purpose as long as it inspires us to gain direct experience. Practice (of acquired knowledge via external sources) leads to direct experience and valid knowledge. Experimenting with the knowledge that we have acquired from outside, we can verify that information using our self-knowledge and thus move a step toward enlightenment. Without self-knowledge everything is useless. Direct experience is the final test of the validity of knowledge. When we have known the Truth directly, we have the best kind of confirmation. Most of us go to our friends and give our viewpoint. We are seeking confirmation in their opinions. Whatever we think, we want others to confirm it by agreeing with us, to say, “Yes, what you think is right.” Someone else’s opinion is no test of truth. When we know Truth directly we do not need to ask our neighbors or teachers. We don’t have to seek confirmation in books. Spiritual Truth does not need an external witness. As long as we doubt, it means we have yet to know.
To be aware of the total entity that we are, to be aware of the conscious and unconscious process of our thoughts, feelings and activites is self knowledge. Studying one’s own thoughts, emotions, deeds, and actions is the real study. Mere study of the scriptures is the sort of information that is really not knowledge, but only a part of knowing. There is only one Truth, which is God; and there is only one true knowledge, which is Atam/Soul/Self Gyan/Knowledge. This knowledge is the giver of salvation/liberation.
e.g [ There was a cage set with mirrors on all sides, and a full blown rose was kept in the centre of the cage. And in the cage, was a nightingale, and the bird saw the reflection of the rose in the mirrors. Whichever way he bird saw there was the rose! Every time she flew towards the rose in the mirror, every time she struck the mirror, and fell back wounded. But as the bird turned its face away from the mirrors, there was the rose in the centre of the cage. O Man! This world is the cage. And the pleasure thou seekest outside thyself is within thee! Same way we are looking for knowledge and God in externally using our senses. But the real knowledge/God resides within us. ]
e.g [ Once a women was searching something outside her home. One passer-by asked what she is looking for. She said that she is looking for a needle that she lost while working inside home. The passer-by asked if whe lost the needle inside why she is looking outside. The lady responded that as there was dark inside the home she wanted to look in daylight. Obviously, here the lady is looking at wrong spot. Same way, the real knowledge is within us and not outside of us. ]
Practice and Self-Training
We long to know more, but there is actually a barrier that we create for ourselves, and that barrier is practice. We do not practice what we already know. We should practice whatever information (knowledge) we have acquired from the external world. We have to verify that information using our self-knowledge. Practice means repetition of the same thing again and again and again to form a strong habit. Habits are motivation in life. Even if we know the technique of throwing something at the target, if we do not practice, it will hit somewhere else. Practice is necessary and practice makes perfect.
Among all the methods for training and therapies, the highest of all is self-training in which one remains conscious of one’s thoughts, speech, and actions. When we work with yourself we will notice that whenever we calm down our conscious mind, bubbles of thoughts will suddenly come up from the unconscious mind. This self-knowledge cannot be learnt through a book or another. We intellectually know many things, yet our ignorance is not dispelled.
e.g [ One student learnt that cow's milk is good for health but he has never seen any cow. He went to a teacher and asks about cow to which the teacher told him everything regarding cow (legs, thaan, color and all other physical charactertics). The student started his search for cow using the acquired knowledge. He saw a cow's idol and as all his characterics resembled with his teacher's knowledge, so he drink the paint (thinking it was milk) which was placed by the side of the cow. Obviously, he got bad health and then after recovering from illness he went to his teacher and told him that his description of cow was incorrect. His teacher asks if he had milked the cow himself or not to which he responded "No". Same way, we go on collecting mantras but do not practice those. We do not do meditation but you have a long collection of mantras. ]
Postponement is the nature of the mind. Some do their practice for some time and then they leave it. After some time, they start doing it again. Then they say, "Okay. Let us vacation for some time, honey. Let us not do any practice." Again they start practicing. This is not good. Secondly, you give up too soon. You close your eyes and if you do not see anything in meditation, you say, "My method is not good. My mantra is not good." You do not attain anything overnight; you will stumble many times like a child stumbles when she starts learning to walk. When you practice you will experience, and when you experience you will find that conscience is strengthened and guides you again and again.
Key to Gyan
True Guru/Teacher is the only key to true knowledge. Knowledge is within us but behind curtains (parda) and Guru is the only one who can remove that curtain (Avaran power of Maya). Without Self-Knowledge/Gyan, salvation/liberation is not possible.
e.g [ When the lake dries up, the reflection of the sun also disappears. Even so, when the mind-lake dries up by removing egoism, Vasanas, Raga and Dwesha, the reflection Abhasa Chaitanya in mind also disappears. The name Jiva goes away. Brahman alone remains. In reality, there is neither bondage nor Moksha. It is a mental Kalpana (imagination). ]
How to Practice Gyan via Guru
After Guru has given Naam bachan, the following techniques should be implemented in order to get full gyan:
3 techniques after getting Gyan
Through Tat Gyan Atma/Soul becomes one with 5 elements: Fire, Air, Space, Eath, Water. Now, when everywhere is Atma, then there is no Vasna; and when there is no vasna then there is no Mind because Mind is a bundle of Vasma.
Vasana exhaustion is the key to rendering our minds calm and happy and ultimately achieve true Self Realisation. Removing our vasanas would in effect remove the source of our desires and thus the agitations causing turbulence in our minds. Exhaustion of vasanas should be at the level of the mind. An action in itself is not what brings about or strengthens vasanas. It is the motive/attitude behind the action that causes this. Once Vasana is exhausted, mind will automatically destroyed because Mind is just a bundle of Vasanas. Eventually, Gyan will be produced once Mind is destroyed.