Acharya Prashant: Is there any fundamental knowledge that man must have?
To be a man, to call oneself as a man is in itself knowledge. To know oneself as a body-form labelled with a certain name is in itself knowledge. And from this knowledge, an infinite number of other waves of knowledge will surely proceed. So, it is not as if one has a choice in this regard.
Once you have called yourself a man, you have no option but to live in the world of knowledge. You will be finding concentric circles, ever widening—circles of identities. The corollary is, if you start negating all the knowledge that you have, then you will have to finally negate the knowledge that you are a man.
“I am a man”—is the fundamental knowledge from where all other knowledge proceeds. If you see the limitation and the conflict associated with living by the mind, by the contents of the mind, by knowledge and you keep hacking down your dependence on knowledge, ultimately you will find that you are staring in the face, the fact that you know yourself as a man. And you will have to bring down that as well.
“I am a man”—this is not really a fact; this too is a conditioned identity.
“I am a man” – is not really a statement of fact; this too is a conditioned identity.
If you want to drop everything else and retain this one, you may find that you are not able to drop anything. On the other hand, you may start of drop anything and you may find that to drop anything really and totally, you indeed have to drop this as well—“I am a man”.
What does it mean to be a man?
To be a man means that one has to abide by what is normally associated with being a man. This identification with birth, this living, this dying, this fear of death, this desire for security, this identification as a gender—all of that. That is what goes along with calling oneself a ‘man’, a human being.
In fact, to really be a human being, you have to go beyond what is normally implied by being a human being.
Because what is normally implied by being a human being, is nothing but limitations. The so-called, normalcy, the so-called normal definitions have only given us conflict and strife.
So, let us avoid them.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.