Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ignorance and Knowledge

"Into blinding darkness enter they who worship ignorance. And into still greater darkness, as it were, enter those who delight in knowledge itself.." ..........Isa Upanishad - Verse 9

This verse is a prelude to explaining the modes of transcendence and how many of the spiritual seekers are rooted in the deluding stages of ignorance and knowledge which is derived purely from the ego mind.

This reminds me of the words "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few." ........Shunryu Suzuki: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, p. 21
This is the relative darkness of which the sage says in this verse. While there is a floundering darkness in an aspiring soul which is still open to acceptance of alternate knowledge paths, the more ego driven individual who assumes in his or her mind that there is adequate knowledge within his or her reach to know the deeper self, closes off all portals through which illumination can be derived and thus is surrounded by a greater darkness than what an initiate or spiritual amateur experiences in their path of seeking the ultimate truth.

In his comment on this verse Scott Teitsworth, a disciple of Guru Nithya says:
" A significant part of the impact comes from the gauntlet thrown at the feet of our ego, which invariably takes delight in knowledge. Even those who denigrate knowledge are showing off the superior knowledge they have that knowledge is overrated. In fact, knowledge is the ego’s primary protective defense. As we have learned, defenses constrict our world, and so are inimical to the thrust of liberation. There is a very thin line, if any, between bondage and our defensive fortifications. As seekers it is time to free ourselves from these limited parameters." This the blinding darkness which the verse speaks of.

Another great mind, Noam Chomsky, writes in his book, "The Common Good" 
 “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion (relative ignorance)*, but allow very lively debate (conditioned dialectical knowledge)* within that spectrum....”  This is the type of darkness into which people are locked up in organized belief systems or orchestrated instructions by archaic masters, who are typecast in an impervious knowledge domain. Many spiritual commentaries written or interpreted in  per functionary literal tradition fall under this category.

We should carefully note that the Upanishad is speaking here of "worshipping ignorance" and "delighting in knowledge". Ignorance and knowledge are normal and inevitable aspects of objective consciousness, but when we habitually cling to them they tend to isolate our inner experience which always operates in a subjective and dialectical way (this dialectical way might involve the self and another illumined external source or an intuitive alter ego of divine nature). In 'worship' one becomes a slave of the concept that the unknowable is beyond all forms of personal experience and in 'delight' one feeds the ego mind and through both we are sure to become stuck fast in a mental dungeon.
Only by liberating ourselves from the comfort of ignorance and ego attachment to current level of knowledge, we will ever be able to expand our awareness.


Love to you all

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