I said that there are three ways to get right knowledge: direct experience, deduction and testimony.
A person who has dissolved his ignorance about the scriptures but lacks direct experience of the Self is a theoretician. Why? Because he has all the time to resort to the processes of deduction and testimony in order to prove all that is related to the Self. In turn, a person who has direct experience of the Self but has not dissolved his ignorance about the scriptures, always has problems with showing the truth of the Self to the rest of people, i.e. he cannot be a spiritual teacher. Besides, he cannot fully enjoy his spiritual enlightenment till his body falls (dies).
I will explain this with a simple example. A usual argument is the following:
“The universe came out of nothingness. It came from a void and will return to a void.”
Now, imagine a person whose spiritual ignorance is in full vigor (i.e. he lacks direct experience and also retains ignorance about the scriptures) being confronted with that usual argument about “nothingness” or “void” as being the source of all that exists, i.e. “nonexistence is the origin and end of all that exists”. This type of person may agree or disagree with that argument. If he disagrees, he has a problem with exhibiting proof. He will say something like this: “I believe in God!” or “I believe in a superior Reality”, etc. The other person who presented the argument about nonexistence as the source of existence will reply: “Show that superior Reality to me then!” And this believer in a superior Reality will not be able to prove his point satisfactorily because of his inherent spiritual ignorance. Mere belief in a superior Reality just does not cope with the task of proving the existence of such a Reality.
This kind of nonsensical dialogue is very frequent in the world. I have heard it several times. This is why I am using it as an example to teach you. Now, imagine that argument about nothingness (nonexistence) being the source of all that exists is presented to someone who has direct experience of the Self but retains ignorance about the scriptures. He will say, “No, that is not true!” The one arguing that nonexistence is the origin of existence will reply: “Why?” And the dialogue will continue in this way:
“Because I am experiencing the Source of all that exists and this Source does exist (i.e. it is not a void or nothingness).”
“Sure? Show that to me!”
Even if that person could transmit his spiritual state to the person postulating that all arose from nothingness, this would be of no use generally. Why? Because someone who postulates that the Self is mere nothingness or void does not have the power to tolerate direct revelation of his spiritual essence. If the transmission takes place, he will become unconscious like in deep sleep. There is a kind of “fuse” in one’s system that switches it off in case the level of energy is too much. Someone with direct experience of the Self is in contact with the Source of all the energies in the universe. Hence, he cannot transmit his spiritual state to undeserving people just like that, because the latter will immediately become unconscious in order to prevent damage to their systems.
All in all, the one with mere direct experience of the Self cannot prove that the Self “does exist” in a way which is understandable to the person who does not have his high state of consciousness, because he still retains ignorance about the scriptures. Now, what about a theoretician (one who dissolved his ignorance about the scriptures but lacks direct experience of the Self)? The theoretician will say this:
“Nothingness cannot be proved!”
So, he will not attempt to prove the “existence of the Self” but refute the existence of nothingness (nonexistence). He will then say:
“How did you know about nothingness?”
The one postulating that nothingness is the source and end of all that is existing might say that it is something he believes in because he cannot see any superior Reality anywhere. Well, if someone presents this type of argument, do not waste your time with him, please. Anyway, he might say this too, which makes more sense:
“That knowledge was passed to me by my spiritual teachers (in person or by books, etc.)”
In this case, the one who declared that “nothingness” was the source of all is saying that he was taught so by his teachers personally or by books, etc. So, the theoretician will conclude:
“If those teachers had perceived nothingness directly there would not be any remembrance of it. One cannot remember nothingness without existing during the experience. And if one exists during the experience of nothingness, that is not nothingness really. Even postulating that the teaching about nothingness was passed through an uninterrupted lineage of teachers, at least one teacher at the beginning had to experience nothingness directly. But if he could speak about his experience, that means that he remembered it. And if he remembered it, he had to exist during such an experience.
Hence absolute nothingness never exists, because there is always ‘someone’ perceiving it. If nobody perceived it, how could you know about nothingness then? And if somebody perceived it, that person had to exist during the experience of nothingness. Therefore, your declaration that the universe came out of nothingness or a void and will return to this void is not valid, because you cannot prove nothingness. Even if you conceive nothingness to be something completely devoid of everything, there is always someone (you!) perceiving it. Consequently, it is never absolute nothingness.
Therefore, one can say that he does not know what the Source of everything is, but this ignorance is not a solid proof that the Source itself is nothingness (i.e. nonexistent).”
This way, the theoretician, due to his absence of ignorance about the scriptures, knows how to reason properly and can even present quotes of scriptures to back up his reasoning. He cannot be bewildered by any nonsensical arguments about the Self. One can say whatever, but he must prove it. I can say that there is no chip in my computer, you know, but it is nonsensical.
And yes, this theoretician might turn into a teacher, but as he lacks direct experience of the Self (viz. direct experience about what he is proving or simply describing), he is always powerless and his teachings lack soul!
The conclusion is the following then:
- A spiritual aspirant must get rid of ignorance about the scriptures in order to be able to enjoy his future spiritual enlightenment in the present life. Besides, by removing this aspect of spiritual ignorance, he can present valid arguments about the Self and dissipate all the nonsensical statements about Highest Reality that plague this world.
- A spiritual aspirant must get direct experience of the Self to have real power and understanding.
These two aspects of spiritual ignorance are to be dissolved gradually and in a balanced way. This is the right manner to attain spiritual enlightenment, and there is no doubt about it.