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Three types of knowledge
There are three type of knowledge or information we get. One is through the five senses. You see and you get some knowledge, you listen and you get knowledge, you smell and you get information, through taste you get information, and through touch. The five senses bring you some knowledge, isn’t it? Most of our knowledge is gained by these five senses. Now this is one type of knowledge.
The second is through the intellect. The knowledge gained through intellect is superior to knowledge gained through the senses. Science is knowledge gained through intellect. See, what all you see from your eyes is the sun is setting, but what you learn through science is sun doesn’t set. It is the earth which revolves. You have not seen earth revolving through any of the five senses, but through intellect you understand that the earth is revolving and that it is revolving around the sun. This is the intellectual knowledge through intellect which is superior to the senses. Like in a beaker of water you keep a pen, what do you see? The pen is bent. That is the perception, but the intellect says no it is not bent it is an optical illusion. This is the knowledge through intellect.
Now these two levels of knowledge is much inferior to a third level of knowledge. That is intuitive knowledge. That is knowledge from the spirit, that comes from silence. It cannot be verified by the senses or the intellect. Knowledge which comes beyond these two is another level of knowledge. So life begins when we tap into that level of knowledge. Till that time it is existence.
Now how would you tap into this level of knowledge? The level of knowledge which is not through the senses, nor through the intellect. For that you have to let go of the knowledge of the senses and the intellect and relax. The moment you let go then what you gain through senses, the cravings and aversions they stop. All of our cravings and aversions are about the five sensory perceptions. It cannot be anything beyond that. Are you with me?
For some time you say, ‘Now I don’t want to see anything, I don’t want to hear anything, I don’t want to smell anything, I don’t want to taste anything, I don’t want to touch or know anything; I’m just going to be.’ Then intellectual concepts, judgments, decisions, to all that you say, ‘I don’t even need to know anything, I don’t care for anything.’
Letting go of concepts is the second step. How this should be? How that should not be? Things should be like this and things should be like that and blah blah blah and blah blah blah… all these intellectual perceptions.
Or am I doing the right thing? Am I on the right path? Am I on the right track? Should I go on and blah, blah, blah…All these things you drop and then silence begins and when silence begins then the knowledge from the third level dawns and that knowledge is called Ritambhara knowledge; the true knowledge that comes from beyond the intellect and that is the intuitive knowledge.
Everyone has got this ability and you have experienced in your life this gut feeling, knowledge from somewhere, which you cannot really make out what it is. Somewhere you feel this is the right thing to do and something happens in your tummy. And that knowledge comes up at that time but then we don’t honor it. Many times we stick onto the intellect or sensory perceptions.
Sometimes your intellect says this is wrong what I am doing, but you don’t listen to the intellect you keep doing the wrong things. How many of you have this experience? What you do? You stick on to the sensory and ignore the intellectual knowledge. And then what happens? You sometimes go beyond your intellect. Your intellect is saying something but your inner gut feeling is saying something else. And you’re feeling says no, there is something different, something more. And we ignore that and we stick onto the intellect. That’s how many times your judgements have been found to be a failure.
How many of you feel your judgements have been wrong? But sometimes, beyond your judgements you have seen and you have taken a step and have been happy about it. In spite of your intellect saying ‘No’, something says ‘Yes’. Something else triggers and that is what happens when there is faith and that’s when the faith comes up you know.
Sometimes your mind says no I want to quit doing all this spiritual practices, I don’t care for that, I don’t care for hopes. Many people do this, try to quit but something deep inside, the impressions, samskaras, some good karma, they just make you keep going and then you are back on track. And then you are happy. You feel, ‘Good thing I didn’t do it, I didn’t walk on my impulse.’ Those are the moments when something beyond your intellect has taken over and worked.
When we started Art of Living, in the very beginning I could see that there are millions of people going to come on this. I was just 22 or 23, something like that; just out of my teens. I said, ‘No I don’t want to start’. My intellect would say ‘No, so what? Someone else will come and do all this and take care of everybody’. I had no ambition, no desire to start any movement at all. I was happy, I’m happy now also, but I thought why would I take some headache, I don’t want to. I was a little shy also but my intellect was always saying ‘Oh no!’
But then everything kept happening because when the TM movement was there and they very much wanted me to be there. And they were all very friendly with me. So it was difficult for me to say no to my friends, and then all the elders there, and everybody, so I was sort of attached. I said no, I don’t want to start the Art of Living; fought and fought.
I had everything, I didn’t need anything. I had no lack and I have everything. I was flying around in helicopters in those days also. I had seen all the wealth I could see those days. And if I have to start something from the scratch, the intellect was saying ‘no’. But something beyond that was saying ‘yes’.
So I was in the railway station, it was in Hubli somewhere. There were two trains going, one to south and one to north. If I take the train to south that means I will not start this. In the same way, I was in the platform and on one side was this train and on another side the other train. I had tickets for both. (Laughter) I had committed for a program in north. If I go there north then it’s for sure that I’ll continue in the Art of Living. Start this whole thing. That was the most confusing time, conflicting time for me to get on to this train or that train. Then I jumped into the train which went to the north and let go of everything of the past; for no apparent gain. It’s not that I never thought what I will gain from this, no. In fact I thought, you are not gaining anything you are collecting more problems, trouble. There you could just be like a prince, very comfortable, somebody does everything for you.
Why I’m saying this? This is the levels of knowledge, the intuitive knowledge which is beyond intellect. Everyone who knew me those days thought I am gone mad, crazy. Here I’m going to be put as a successor or heir to a huge organization, empire. Everything was there, and I am just washing it all off and getting on to something which has no form, no idea. Not even an organization was there, nothing was there. Only I had 200 kids to take care of and a school which would go with me. I had no money; nothing, no resource, I had never worked and I had no skills. And people say these days it is difficult to take care of two children in a house. Those days India was undergoing a lot of crisis too. Many types of crisis and here I land up with 200 kids or 250 kids to feed and to educate; all these responsibilities. Intellectually it was completely insane even to think about it for anyone who has some sense. But there was another knowledge, which I totally honored and depended upon and I took the step. Do you see what I’m saying? Otherwise there was no way we would have a Montreal ashram or I wouldn't be sitting with you and talking to you.
This possibility is not there at all. So this is the third level of knowledge, that gut feeling, or intuitive knowledge. Now, many times, with your emotions, with your own cravings and aversion you can think, ‘Oh this is my gut feeling, this is my knowledge.’ No! This is called maya,you maya, don’t get into that. When can you honor the knowledge of the spirit or the soul? It is when you are absolutely still. Got it?
So in the beginning it works for others, it doesn’t work for you because with you always there are some cravings, some aversions. Some cravings, some aversions and so you may get confused. So these hollow and empty meditations you do are all are very, very useful in getting to that level of knowledge, which is beyond the senses and beyond the intellect. Now how can you explain this to anybody? That’s big trouble, very difficult to tell somebody, ‘Oh there is one level that’s beyond your logic’. If you say that they will think you are crazy or denying intellect but it’s neither. Neither are you crazy nor do you deny the intellect. You go simply one step beyond and recognize something beautiful. This is the area where the entire cosmos works. All the knowledge in the cosmos is present there. Every invention has happened from this area.
The initial intuitive invention comes from that. Then intellect plays on it and develops it further. All great music or poetry has come from that area; every one of them! So one practical benefit from this is you now understand your intellect is judgmental and you don’t depend on it too much. Got it?
One of the steps is you see, ‘Oh yes my mind, it goes on saying something or the other and I don’t care, I don’t mind that’. You don’t get swept into these mind games. You become a witness to them all. Have you noticed it’s already happening with you? At home when there is some argument, or among the friends there is some argument, something happens. Sometimes you take one step back and say, ‘Oh come on, I have seen many of this. It’s not going to let this affect me.’ How many of you have started noticing this happening to you? There is a gradual progression for that. It’s happening in everyone’s life. Just this awareness, it will happen even faster. It will happen faster, just awareness about it.