The end of all knowledge1Aum
Purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate
purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate
Infinity is that. 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 not only that God is within us and for us, but also that 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 learnt 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 divine knowledge. Divine knowledge and human ignorance: these are two things we see in our day-to-day life. Divine knowledge is an illumining, fulfilling and immortalising power. Human ignorance is a mad elephant, a destructive power. 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, which offers a sublime knowledge, says:
Here at this point, I wish to say that, from the spiritual point of view, peace, light, bliss and power are not what one should desire to understand. Rather, one should seek to know the One who embodies Peace, Light, Bliss and Power. It is He who can bring to the fore these divine qualities in sincere, aspiring souls. It is He who has the capacity to inspire the seekers. At the same time, it is He who is of considerable help in awakening the slumbering consciousness of human souls. And finally, it is He who expedites the seeker’s journey.
The end of all knowledge is self-knowledge. You are all familiar with the expression ‘Know thyself’. The Sanskrit term for it is Atmanam viddhi. How can we know ourselves? We have to know ourselves by accepting help from someone who already knows himself. He is our teacher. He is more like our private tutor than a schoolteacher. A schoolteacher 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. So a spiritual Teacher is a private tutor and not a schoolteacher.
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, “There are three kinds of men: man in man, who does good for good and evil for evil; man in God, who does good for evil; and man in the devil, who does evil for good.” 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 matram bhava savyasachin — “Become a mere 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. But 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 mire of ignorance, we are serving ignorance the master. Again, it is we who have the opportunity to serve the other master, knowledge, the light. 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 and opportunity to free ourselves from the mire of ignorance. If we aspire today, tomorrow we shall grow 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, 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 dramatist Shakespeare, in Hamlet says,
This above all: to thine own self be true,
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, to 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 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. 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.
OEH 35. University of Nottingham; Nottingham, England, 10 November 1970.↩