What is the use of knowledge in self-awareness?

Speaker: The yogi who finds stillness is neither distracted nor focuses. He knows neither pleasure nor pain. Ignorance is dispelled. Ashtavakra Gita, Chapter 18, specifically shloka 18.10. In this shloka, Ashtavakra is saying that he is free from knowing. So the question is- how can he be free of the knowledge that ‘nothing is’? You are saying that ultimately this much of knowledge that ‘nothing is’, will remain. No.

What is the right place of knowledge in the mind? What is the right function of knowledge? Why must one have knowledge?

Listener: May be to express.

Speaker: We are not taking of the kind of knowledge which tells you what is your house number, how the electric fan works, what is your bank account number, how does the economic system operates. No, we are not talking of that type of knowledge. We are referring to self-knowledge. We are referring to the relationship of all the knowledge with myself. Even that is the knowledge. How am I related to economics? How am I related to science? And ultimately, ‘Who Am I?’

So, what is the place of self-knowledge in the mind? What is the rightful place of self-knowledge in the mind? Why must one acquire knowledge? Why must one read the Ashtavakra Gita? Because even that is knowledge. The rightful place of knowledge is that it should not be there. Then why does one read? One reads, one acquires new knowledge so that the old knowledge can be wiped-off. That is the only good use of knowledge, that it liberates you from all the previous knowledge that you have already accumulated otherwise, knowledge has no use as far as self-awareness goes. Are you getting it?

In matters of self, if you acquire knowledge of any kind, it will be a liability. It will be a load upon the head. So, whatever new knowledge you acquire, which ever book you read, whosoever you listen to, just look at them with one distinction. Are they increasing my self-knowledge, cementing it, making me more assured about a particular identity or are they just clearing everything away? If the book is a worthy book, if the guru is a worthy guru, he will not give you more knowledge about yourself. Whatever he will give you, will only act as fire, the fire that burns away everything that already is. That fire will burn away everything including the notion that ‘nothing is’. Even this is the notion. Even this is an accumulated notion that ‘nothing is’. Even Ashtavakra will not let you with this notion.

So real knowledge is a very artful thing. It makes the old knowledge disappear, and then it disappears itself, that is its unique and defining characteristic. Not only should it wipe everything else clean, but it should also not become a substitute to the previous knowledge. It should not happen that you got rid of your previous identities, but you acquired a new one. If that is happening, then the book is dangerous. If a particular teacher is intent upon giving you a new set of beliefs, then he is not taking you beyond what you are. What are you? A mind cosseted in beliefs. He has given you another set of beliefs. So, no progress has happened. In fact, it is a regression. So watch out, be careful.

If the book is worth it, you will only feel light. Whatever is there, will go away and nothing new will come. Only lightness will come. Both these conditions must be satisfied simultaneously. First, the old must go away and second, nothing else should substitute the old. A vast emptiness, a vast silence must remain.

Listener 1: That you would not know of.

Speaker: That you won’t know of. It is not an object of knowing. It is not more knowledge. It is not knowledge at all. Having read something, just see, ‘am I feeling lighter?’ Having listened to an audio or a video, just ask yourself, ‘am I feeling relieved of something or something has been added to my mind?’

-Excerpts from clarity session held at Advait office. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sLe5sHt0-Y

2 thoughts on “What is the use of knowledge in self-awareness?

    1. Acharya Prashant (आचार्य प्रशांत) Post author

      There are various opportunities to connect to and meet Acharya Prashant. These are:

      1. Meet the Master:

      Meet the Master program is rare opportunity to meet Acharya Prashant personally, either physically or online. To meet the Master, send your application, write to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917.

      2. Advait Learning Camps:

      Advait Learning Camps are monthly retreats organized under Acharya Prashant’s guidance. These camps are about spending four days and three nights in the lap of nature, while reading, reflecting, learning and evolving. So far, scores of ALCs have been organised in places like Rishikesh, Mukteshwar, Jim Corbett National Park, Chopta, KainchiDham, etc.
      Additionally, we organize dedicated bonding camps for kids and parents. To participate in the camp, write an e-mail to requests@prashantadvait.com, or call: Sh. Anshu Sharma at +91-8376055661.

      3. Course in Realization:

      Course in Realization, a classroom-based learning program led by Acharya Prashant, is an initiative towards disseminating clarity and intelligence in the world. In this course, a rigorous study of a scripture or a saint is undertaken each month.
      To join in, send your application, write to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Sh. Apaar: +91-9818591240

      4. Month of Awakening:

      For those who cannot attend sessions physically, the foundation does online streaming of few selected sessions via Skype or Webinar. Known as Month of Awakening, this facility offers live streaming of sessions and helps seekers listen to Acharya-Ji while being where they are.
      To receive the blessing, send your application to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

      5. Blessings from Beyond:

      Weekends with Acharya Prashant brings you the unique opportunity for a 2 day 2 night stay with the Master every month at Advait Ashram, Greater Noida. The getaway involves two mystical days of dynamic activities, explorations of the self, sports, meditative reading, deep reflections, midnight walks and more.
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      6. Triyog:

      Daily morning 2 hour Yog feast for your total well-being. Comprising of
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      Venue: Advait Bodhsthal, Greater Noida, India.

      This reply comes to you from volunteers of PrashantAdvait Foundation who maintain this channel.

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