Thursday, January 19, 2017


We are like the blind man who could never know light no matter how hard he tried. All books on the subject of light would only cause confusion and false conceptions and never lead to the comprehension of light.

Ramakrishna used to tell a story: A blind man was once invited to dinner by his friends. There were various dishes prepared in his honour and he enjoyed them all thoroughly. Then he picked up a piece from the dish he liked best and asked to be told what it was. The host said it was a milk preparation. "What is milk?" asked the blind man.

"Have you seen a sea-gull? It is as white as the wings of a sea-gull," he explained.

"What is a sea-gull?" asked the blind man again. "And how do I know what its wings are; and what do you mean by white?"

The host was nonplussed. How could colour be explained to a blind man? But the blind man insisted - he had to know. Then one man came forward; he curved his hand and held it in front of the blind man and said: "Feel my hand. The sea-gull's head is as shapely and graceful.

The blind man felt his hand and his face lit up with delight! "Now I know what milk is like - a curved hand!" His friends were filled with despair, for now it was worse than before. He who knows not from within cannot be made to understand from without. If initially the man knew what colour was like, he could be made to understand from the outside - but then there is no need to make him understand!

This is the problem - the greatest problem in life: those who, know, need no explanation and there is no way of explaining to those who do not know. In trying to explain to the latter, more problems are created. WHAT IS KNOWN, IS ALWAYS KNOWN FROM WITHIN; AND WHAT IS IMPARTED, IS ALWAYS THE SUPERFICIAL KNOWLEDGE. Therefore, Truth cannot be expressed; it can only be known. To know, one should have some grasp, some acquaintance within; to be instructed means to be taught and explained by one who has this grasp.

Buddha was a guest in a village. The people there brought a blind man and requested Buddha to explain to him what light was, for this man refused to believe there was anything like light. He would only concede to its existence if he could touch it with his own hands. A blind man's knowledge of life is through the sense of touch. For him, for anything to exist, it should be felt by touch. And he is not wrong. That is the only way he knows; touch is the only proof of being. What he cannot feel, does not exist. The blind man laughed at their chagrin. "You cannot bring light, why do you then indulge in useless talk? There is no light," he said.

His friends had brought him to Buddha in the hope that he may be able to convince him. His demand was plain: "If your light exists I must be able to feel it, I must be able to taste it, hear it. And if it has any fragrance, I should be able to smell it." But all this is impossible with light - it can only be seen.

Then the blind man asks: "What is this seeing?" If he knew what it was to see, he would not be blind - and so he merely scoffs at others; and blames them for their mean tricks to prove him sightless. "I cannot see light nor can you - for there is no such thing as light," he asserts.

Buddha said: "It is futile to explain to him and I shall not commit that folly. What this man needs is a doctor and not a philosopher. He needs treatment for his eyes and not sermons for his soul. Get his eyes treated that he may see; then he will know. A thousand Buddhas will not be able to convince him."

The man was taken to an eye-specialist and was cured within six months. When Buddha passed that way again, the man went to him. "Light is," he said and fell at Buddha's feet.

"Where is it?" Buddha asked, "I want to touch it."

"It cannot be known by touch or taste."

"Let me smell it," Buddha insisted.

"Please do not laugh at me Sire! The past is over. Now I can see that it is."

"Why did you not believe your friends when they told you?" asked Buddha.

"The fault was not mine," said the man, "for how can a blind man understand light? And if I had taken their word for granted, I should still have been a blind man, and then I should never have known."

TRUTH IS TO BE KNOWN; IT CANNOT BE SUPPOSED. It can neither be inculcated nor communicated. There is no "learning" of Truth. Therefore there are no schools where truth is taught and people can learn. But there is a remedy - the eyes can be treated How? We shall discuss this tomorrow in the third rule.

For the present, in the course of the second rule, it is necessary to know that Truth can be known, but this knowing comes always from within. What we call knowledge always comes from outside, whereas 'knowing' always comes from within. We can obtain the knowledge of light from books but not the "knowing" of light; that has to come from within. Thus there is a difference between knowledge and knowing. Knowledge makes a man learned but not wise. Wisdom comes only by knowing - knowing oneself.

A man may read all the books on swimming. He may become an authority on all the information regarding swimming. He may even qualify to lecture on the subject - but do not ever push him into water, for whatever his qualifications, he cannot swim! To know swimming and to know about it, are two entirely different things. It is quite possible that one who knows swimming may be unable to explain it. He might say: "All I know is that I jump into water and - I swim! You too, will swim if you jump. If you insist on him clarifying his statement, one will say: "How is it possible to speak about it?

I can jump in the water and demonstrate. What discussion can there be in the matter of swimming?"

So also, we can know about truth but that is not knowing truth. There is a great number of such learned pundits who know about truth, but those who "know" truth are few and far between. And invariably these learned pundits become the enemies of the saint and the seer. This is natural, for the superficial knowledge of the pundit, holds no ground before the lofty knowledge of self experience.

One who "knows," knows there is no need to discourse; knowing is enough. Of what worth is the knowledge if one cannot swim?


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