The end of all knowledge1
Pūrṇam adaḥ, pūrṇam idam, pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate.
Pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate."
Infinity is this.
From Infinity, Infinity has come into existence.
From Infinity, when Infinity is taken away, Infinity remains."
The end of all knowledge. The end of all knowledge is God-knowledge. This knowledge tells man what he can eventually be. This knowledge tells man that he can have a conscious and inseparable oneness with God.
Here at this point, the Son of God tells us, “I and my Father are one”. On the strength of his highest realisation and inseparable oneness with his Father, he says, “I and my Father are one.”
God-knowledge tells us that God is not only within us and not only for us, but also we are, each human being, is of Him. Finally, this God-knowledge tells us that each human being has to become God Himself.
"Brahmasmi…" "I am the Brahman. I am God." This is what we have learned from the Vedic seers of yore. The Vedic seers realised the supreme Truth and then offered the supreme Truth to mankind. Today's man, today's unrealised, unfulfilled man is tomorrow's realised and fulfilled God.
The end of human knowledge is the beginning of the divine knowledge. The divine knowledge and human ignorance — these are two things we see in our day to day life. The divine knowledge is an illumining, fulfilling and immortalising power. The human ignorance is a mad elephant, a destructive power. The divine knowledge is the very birth of Immortality. Human ignorance is the song of death.
I am sure most of you are well acquainted with our Upanishads. There is an Upanishad named Kanshitaki Upanishad. Unfortunately, this Upanishad is not well known. This Upanishad offers a sublime knowledge, wisdom. It says,
Here at this point, I wish to say from the spiritual point of view, peace, light and bliss, these qualities are not what one desires to understand, but one has to know the living embodiment of peace, light, bliss and power. It is he who can bring to the fore these divine qualities — the peace, light and bliss of the sincere aspiring souls. It is he who has the capacity to inspire the seekers, and at the same time, it is he who is of considerable help to awaken the slumbering consciousness of human souls. It is he who expedites the seeker’s journey.
The end of all knowledge is self-knowledge. "Know thyself", which all of you are familiar with. The Sanskrit term for it is Atmanam viddhi. Know thyself. How can we know ourselves? We have to know ourselves by taking help from someone who has already known himself. He is our teacher. He is our private tutor and not a school teacher. A school teacher is entitled to examine us, to pass or fail us, but this private tutor helps us to pass the examination well. He wholeheartedly teaches us, helps us to pass the examination. So a spiritual teacher is a private tutor and not a school teacher.
Self-knowledge is self-discovery, and in self-discovery we feel the conquest of our own self. Self-discovery, God-knowledge and self-conquest — these are one and the same.
The Welsh Triad says,
In our spiritual life, we have one more category: the man of God, the messenger of God, the representative of God, the channel of God, the instrument of God. This instrument of God constantly feels that he is not the doer; he is a mere instrument.
Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita, the Song Celestial, tells his dearest friend and disciple, Arjuna, _Nimitta mātram bhava savyasāchin,_ “You just become an instrument.”
So the man of God feels in the inmost recesses of his heart that he is a mere instrument. He works for God, he lives for God. He feels that God-realisation is not enough. He feels that God-manifestation here on earth is of paramount importance.
Many have realised the Highest, the transcendental Truth. There are few who cry for the perfection of humanity. There are very few who try to change the face of the world. The chosen instruments of God want to manifest God here on earth. They do not care much for earthly good or evil. They transcend the so-called good and evil. They care only for God’s inner dictates. Constantly they listen to the dictates of their Inner Pilot and then on the strength of their oneness, inseparable oneness with their Inner Pilot, they offer their selfless, dedicated service to humanity. They try to offer knowledge, divine knowledge, to aspiring humanity. Again, they tell humanity that God-realisation is not their sole monopoly.
Everybody has to realise God, the transcendental Truth. Everybody is destined to realise the highest Truth, but he who cries for the inner light will naturally reach the goal sooner than the one who is still fast asleep.
The great Saviour has taught us, “No man can serve two masters.” Here we have two masters: ignorance and knowledge. Now if we want to wallow in the pleasures and mires of ignorance, we are serving ignorance the master. Again, it is we who have the opportunity to serve the other master, knowledge, the light. Now if we aspire, then our master is knowledge and knowledge-light. If we want to serve our master, knowledge-light, then the message of realisation, the message of perfection can never remain a far cry.
The immortal poet, George Eliot sings, “Our deeds still travel with us from afar, and what we have been makes us what we are.”
From the spiritual point of view, what do we learn from this soulful message? We come to learn that we have been victims to teeming desires and here is the result: we are still earth-bound. We are bound by the fetters of ignorance; we are caught. We want to possess the world. To our widest surprise and sorrow, we are already caught, we are already possessed.
Now again, it is we who have the capacity, potentiality, opportunity to free ourselves from the mire of ignorance. If we aspire today, tomorrow we are growing into a divine reality, and in that divine reality our realisation will loom large.
We have to know at every moment that we have to be true to ourselves. Do we want light? Do we want perfection? Or just out of curiosity do we want to have an iota of light and truth? Unless and until we are true to ourselves, true to our inner quest, we can never, never see the face of reality, fulfilment and perfection.
Most of you know that the immortal poet, Shakespeare, in Hamlet says,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.""
If we really want the inner light, if we really have the inner cry to see God face to face, there can be nothing either on earth or in Heaven to deny us, deny our soul’s inmost quest. Each individual being has limited freedom. This freedom can be utilised either to aspire or to desire. If we desire, the teeming clouds will undoubtedly eclipse our knowledge-sun. If we aspire, God, the Inner Pilot will inspire us to run fast, faster, fastest towards the destined Goal, the Goal of the Beyond.
When we enter into the spiritual life, we come to realise that there is no end to our journey. Today we may think that this is the goal we have been crying for. But when we go deep within, we feel that today’s goal is tomorrow’s starting point.
God is in everything. We have to see God in everything, feel God in everything, in every human being. But that is not enough. We have to see, feel, realise; then we have to go one step further. We have to realise that there is no end to our realisation. Every moment we have to feel that on the strength of our highest realisation, we are going, we are running towards the ever-transcending Beyond.
The end of all knowledge is God-knowledge. We have to see God. This is the ultimate knowledge. Now, there are three ways to see God. One way is to see God through a window. This we can do if we concentrate daily, say, for six hours on God. But if we want to see God through an open door, then we have to meditate. We have to meditate daily for at least twelve hours. But if we want to see God face to face, as you are seeing me and I am seeing you, then we have to meditate twenty-four hours a day.
To see God constantly face to face is the beginning and blossoming of the transcendental Knowledge.
MRP 2. University of Nottingham, England, Tuesday, 10 November 1970.↩