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The more one relies on knowledge, the more ignorant one is || Acharya Prashant,on Bhagwad Gita(2017)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
13 min
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तस्मादज्ञानसम्भूतं हृत्स्थं ज्ञानासिनात्मन:।

छित्त्वैनं संशयं योगमातिष्ठोत्तिष्ठ भारत।। 4.42 ।।

tasmād ajñāna-sambhūtaṁ hṛit-sthaṁ jñānāsinātmanaḥ

chhittvainaṁ sanśhayaṁ yogam ātiṣhṭhottiṣhṭha bhārata

Therefore, with the sword of Realisation (of the Self) cut asunder the doubt about the Truth, born of ignorance, residing in your heart and take refuge in Yoga, arise O Bharata!

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, Verse 42

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Acharya Prashant (AP): Krishna is saying, ”The mind is full of doubts. The Yogi is the one whose mind has left all doubts behind.” And Krishna is saying, “Those doubts can only be cleared away using the sword of realization.” Krishna says, “Your mind is full of ignorance,” and then he says, “Your mind is full of doubts.” Can we see that these two are one?

Conventionally, ignorance is considered as the absence of knowledge. Krishna is saying, "Ignorance is not the absence of something; rather, it is the presence of doubts." And all knowledge leaves you with doubts because no knowledge is complete. Whatever you know, is always incomplete, and hence leaves scope for doubts. You may know that your work is well-secured, but is your knowledge about that security total? Because that knowledge is not total, hence when an opportunity to doubt the security comes, the opportunity succeeds.

You may be greatly assured about your husband, your wife or your child, but can that be total? It can never be total because it is based on some knowledge, and hence when more knowledge, more information comes, then that assurance is shaken up.

Ask yourself, "Is there anything in my life that cannot be shaken up?" You may have the greatest trust in somebody, but ask yourself, can that trust be not shaken up by one piece of evidence?

Such is our life. We live in a very-very terrifying way; we are not certain at all. We know that one particular message in our mobile phones, one email, one floating bit of rumour can totally disturb and unnerve us, because our relationships, our security is based on knowledge, and knowledge is never total. That knowledge which is never total gives rise to doubts, and that is called 'ignorance'.

Kindly understand how Krishna is defining ignorance. Ignorance is not the absence of knowledge; ignorance is reliance on knowledge. The more you rely on knowledge, the more ignorant you are. The more you rely on knowledge, the more laden with doubt your life would be.

You would say, “I trust this man because of such, such and such reason.” The reason is all knowledge. Are you sure that the list of reasons is exhaustive? Something can be added to the list—will your trust then remain intact? Your trust will be gone along with the elongation of the list—gone!

We live by knowledge; we live by mental stuff; we live by elements of consciousness; we live by what is going around in the mind. Krishna then by implication is saying that whatever goes around in the mind is ignorance, whatever goes around in the mind is doubt. Now this really dents our confidence, because our sense of worth, our sense of self, our sense of the world comes from what we know, rather from what is stuffed in the mind. We trust that; we live by that; we depend on that. We make decisions using the content of mind. Krishna is saying, "The more you depend on the content of your mind, the more terrible life would you be living."

That is called ignorance—to live by the limited, when the unlimited is available to you. Ignorance is to live by information when something far more accurate and immediate than information is available to you.

The Yogi is the one who has obtained freedom from the tyranny of the mind, which in turn is the tyranny of consciousness, which in turn is the tyranny of knowledge.

Mind you, all knowledge is external. Try it out! Think of something that has not come from outside. Your language, your thoughts, your emotions—is there anything innate to you? And because it has come from outside, you can never be a hundred percent assured of it. That lurking doubt forever remains, and that lurking doubt is the hell of our lives. We cannot sleep properly; we cannot go into total relaxation, which means we will forever be deprived of Freedom, because Freedom is just another name for total relaxation. Enlightenment too is just another name for total relaxation.

How can one relax when one is not sure whether his house would remain at the same place when he returns the next day? How can one relax when he is not sure whether his body would be there the next day?

That which we live by, our body and mind, too are bound to be taken away by time because they have been given to us by external situations. It was a coincidence that your father and mother met, and this body was born; you had no choice. Just as you had no choice in birth, you know that death too is going to be a coincidence. How then can you relax?

Krishna is saying, "The Yogi is the one who no more lives by coincidences; instead, he lives by something that is far more fundamental; he lives by something that was not given to him by time and hence would not be taken away by time."

What is this ‘sword of the Self’, the ‘sword of Truth’ that Krishna is imploring Arjuna to use? It is nothing but the basic power to directly know. He is in fact telling Arjuna, “Arjuna, just as you are listening to me with attention, can you move through life with attention? Obviously you are realizing what I am saying at this moment, because if you are not, then what I am saying is going waste. And if you can realize it right now, why can’t you live in that realization every moment?”

The only way to move into the Truth is by examining the false, and false is always available for examination.

False is nothing but the total content of our lives. We live in that; we bathe in that; we breathe in that; we wallow in that. To our left is that; to our right is that; outside is that, and in our inside too is that. Wherever we look and whatever we look, is that.

Krishna is saying, "Look at it." This looking is the sword, this seeing is the sword. Look rightly, hear rightly. That rightness is no method; that rightness is no particular way; that rightness is just total honesty. If you can listen with honesty, if you can be present with honesty, if you can look with honesty, then you would have gained the freedom from the world, then you would have gained freedom from all that which lurks as doubt in the mind.

Looking you will find that doubt exists because you have placed your hope upon something limited. In fact, your doubt is certain, and your doubts hold true. The moment you put your hope upon something, a doubt arises: “Have I put my hope on the right thing? Have I related to the right person? Am I wedded to the right ideology?” The doubt is right because you have not wedded to the right ideology, because you have placed hope upon the wrong man. That does not mean that there is any right man, because whatever be the ideology, job, situation, person, it is going to be limited, and what you want is something unlimited.

Seeing exposes that. Seeing exposes that you are wanting the wrong thing in the wrong place; seeing exposes that the shop keeps changing but your knocking does not change; seeing exposes that the shops keep changing but the limitations of the objects inside the shops rarely change. They never change, but our hope that— 'the next shop might provide me the unlimited good that I am hunting for'— remains intact. This hope, these expectations, this stubborn insistence on not realising, is what is doing us in.

Actually, the ego is almost as stubborn as Krishna. Krishna is obstinate, chapter after chapter, verse after verse; he is preaching to Arjuna, and Arjuna, who stands for the ego, is equally stubborn. He says, “I have still not understood, I have still not understood, I have still not understood!” And so are we.

Life keeps on teaching us lessons. Every suffering is a message, every disappointment is a message, every instance of pain is a lesson, but we refuse to learn. We keep on falling in the same hole again and again; we keep on committing the same mistake again and again. The names of mistakes might change, but the nature never changes.

Every mistake by its fundamental nature is the same; the mistake is that you are relying upon the wrong thing. That by the way doesn’t mean that there is any ‘right’ thing to rely upon, which means you need not rely upon anything, which means you are someone who needs no support. There is no need to rely upon anything. Do you see the total sense of empowerment that Krishna is coming from, that which Krishna is synonymous with? And do you see how unnecessary it is to live like Arjuna, mired with doubt, shaking with indecision, when the totality of living is easily available?

Yogi is the one who is not running from shop-to-shop. Yogi is the one who is not looking at the world with eyes that are longing for something. The Yogi is the one who has realised that what he wants will never be available in the world. And that does not disappoint him, because he realizes that what he wants is something that is not of the world, and hence of himself. It is good news. It is not out there; it is not out there; it is not out there.

Questioner (Q): How to understand genuine doubt in accordance with the Faith? Is this genuine doubt like Faith?

AP: They are identical; they are one. Faith and genuine doubt are one.

Genuine doubt is to know that everything that you can trust is only going to betray you; genuine doubt is not to remain unnecessarily hopeful. Doubt taken to its totality is genuine doubt.

Faith is— "After all the pillars of belief on which my life stood have collapsed, I still trust."

What do genuine doubts do? They take away all the objects that you used to trust. We all need security, right? So we all trust something or the other. To doubt genuinely is to see that whatever you trust, will fail the purpose of your trust. And you know that, and that's why you are always insecure. Genuine doubt is to know that whatever you trust will never be trustworthy really. Genuine doubt is to see that whatever you really want from the other, the other can never really supply, because what you want is infinite. The other is finite, and finite can never give you infinite. That is genuine doubt.

So, genuine doubt takes away everything that you ever trusted. And after everything that you ever trusted and can possibly trust is taken away, you find that you are still trusting. What? Nothing.

Trusting nothing is called Faith— "I can still live assuredly; I can still live in security."

"Reason?", "No reason."

"Object?," "No object."

"I am purposelessly alright. I am reasonlessly joyful. I am just okay"—this is Faith.

If your welfare is dependent on an object, then your welfare will always be compromised by the limits of the object. When your welfare is independent of any object, that is Faith.

"I am alright and I will continue to be alright."

"But why?"

"The ‘why’ is nonsense"—this is Faith.

"I am just alright for no reason. I was always alright. I will continue to be alright."

"Can you explain?"

"The explanation is nonsense"—this is Faith. "I cannot be taken away from myself; the real can never be separated from me."

"How do you know?"

"The ‘how’ is nonsense"—this is Faith." I just know. I just know. Even if everything betrays me, even if everything that I have ever held to be valuable deserts me, yet nothing will essentially change in me." This is Faith.

Faith is to love without explanation. Faith is to celebrate without occasion. Faith is to know without knowledge. Faith is to leap without wings. Often when you just leap without wings you find you are flying—that is Faith. Faith is the ability to live in uncertainty, and that ability is very much needed because the world is always an uncertain place. You must have tremendous certainty in your heart, so that you can live in total uncertainty—that is Faith.

Remember, Faith cannot be dependent on anything, because if your faith is dependent on anything, then that thing will belittle your Faith. You cannot say, “I will have faith as long as such conditions are met.”

Faith has to be unconditional, only then it is Faith. Otherwise, it is petty trust. Otherwise, it is the ego trying to figure out some kind of a refuge.

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