Ignorance and knowledgeUniversity of Glasgow; Glasgow, Scotland
Queen Margaret Union
16 June 1976
Dear seekers, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to give a short talk on ignorance and knowledge. This subject is familiar to each and every human being. Again, each human being deals with ignorance and with knowledge according to his inner receptivity and his outer capacity.
Ignorance wants to conquer; knowledge wants to illumine. Ignorance wants to conquer the world by fighting, strangling and killing. Knowledge wants to illumine the world by loving and by becoming one with the world. Ignorance is hunger for constant separativity. Knowledge is hunger for constant unity. Ignorance teaches us how to consciously or unconsciously bring to the fore the destructive, animal qualities of the world. Knowledge teaches us how to dive deep within and bring to the fore the illumining, divine qualities of the world. I come, I see, I conquer: this is the message of ignorance. I love, I serve, I become: this is the message of knowledge. I come into the world, I see and feel God's Creation around me and I want to conquer it, dominate it, lord over it. This is the message of the ignorance-teacher within me. The knowledge-teacher within me teaches me to love and serve the world and to become God's instrument in the world. By listening to the knowledge-teacher within me, I love and serve God and I grow into my inner Being, the highest Reality that is at one with God Himself.
When we pray to God to fulfil our desires—our teeming, countless desires—at that time it is ignorance that is playing its role in and through us. When we request God to take our side, to be on our side, then again it is ignorance that is playing its role in and through us. But when we pray to God to fulfil our aspiration and grant us the capacity to be on His side, at that time it is knowledge that is playing its role in and through us.
Aspiration is our inner cry, the cry that climbs up high, higher, highest. While climbing, it illumines the unlit human in us, purifies the impure animal in us and serves the divine in us for God's manifestation on earth. When we are on God's side, the finite in us consciously merges into the Infinite and the individual 'I' becomes one with the Universal Reality.
In the world envisioned by God, there are two divine members of God's family that have been playing the eternal game of Light and Delight on earth: faith and purity. Each human being is constantly attacked by ignorance-forces. These ignorance-forces are doubt and impurity. Faith is the Supreme within us, the divine representative within us, the divine child within us that is growing and glowing, illumining and fulfilling. Doubt tries to conquer the faith within us and poison it. Faith also wants to conquer doubt. But when faith conquers doubt, it does not poison doubt, it does not destroy doubt. Only it illumines doubt, for faith regards doubt as the younger member of its family. Therefore, faith feels that it is its bounden duty to illumine doubt, which is a younger, destructive member of the family.
Just as doubt tries to destroy our faith, so does impurity try to destroy the purity that is within us and around us. It tries to destroy not only our purity, but also our divinity. If impurity is successful, then it does destroy our purity, but it can never destroy our divinity. Purity is of the heart and for the heart, so it can be destroyed. But divinity is of the soul and for the soul; therefore, it can never be destroyed. In the course of time, slowly, steadily and unerringly, purity and divinity conquer impurity. They do not destroy impurity, but they purify its very existence. They show impurity a part of the divine reality that is within.
Doubt is a destructive force that will destroy not only faith but also itself. Impurity also is a destructive force. When faith, purity and divinity conquer these ignorance-forces, these forces are illumined, perfected and fulfilled. Let us say ignorance is a thorn that has entered into our foot. It takes another thorn to rid ourselves of this ignorance-thorn. This second thorn is temporarily our saving- power. Then what do we do? We throw away both the thorns because we fear that the thorn that has become our saviour will eventually create problems for us.
At this point, wisdom has to enter into the picture. Wisdom is not the information that we get from the world around us. Wisdom is what we get from our soul. Wisdom at every moment energises the physical in us, the vital in us, the mind in us and the heart in us. When the physical is energised, it opens its door to the supreme Reality. When the vital is energised, it opens its door to the supreme Power. When the mind is energised, it opens its door to the universal Peace. When the heart is energised, it reaches the height of Transcendental Oneness.
The finite in us is not aware of the Infinite, but when it is made aware of the Infinite, it has an inferiority complex, and it does not want to be consciously one with the Infinite. The finite is an ignorance-force. But the Infinite feels its oneness with the finite. It feels that there was a time when it was not the entire ocean. It was just a tiny drop, like the finite. And then, from that tiny drop, it widened its consciousness and expanded into the ocean itself. This occurred through the process of evolution. Again, the Highest, the absolute Truth, was originally One. God was One and then He decided to become many. The Infinite consciously decided to become the finite. Knowledge tells us that within the Infinite, we can find the finite and, within the finite, we can find the Infinite. Just because God is infinite, He can enjoy Himself in the tiniest atom as well as in the infinite Vast.
Knowledge tells us something more. Divine knowledge tells us that the many and the One were, from the very beginning, identical; they were made together. The One is the Vision; the many is the Reality. God the Vision and God the Reality are all the time together. From God's Vision-Power, immediately Reality came into existence. Again, with Reality-Power, Vision came into existence. God wanted to enjoy Himself. He wanted to offer Nectar, Immortality, to His whole Creation. With the Creation He felt the expansion of His Self-Form, His manifested Form. When He first created the world, with His inner Vision He saw the ultimate future. Now, slowly, steadily and unerringly, He is unfolding His Vision.