Right And Wrong Knowledge




Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Yoga Yoga Sutras of Patanjali


Book 1, Sutra 6






The first sutra:


Pratyaksha, direct cognition, is the first source of right knowledge. Direct cognition means a face-to-face encounter without any mediator, without any medium, without any agent. When you know directly something, the knower faces the known immediately There is no one to relate it, no bridge. Then it is right knowledge. But then many problems arise.

Ordinarily, pratyaksha, direct cognition, has been translated, interpreted, commented, in a very wrong way. The very word pratyaksha means before the eyes, in front of the eyes. But eyes themselves are a mediation, the knower is hidden behind. Eyes are the mediums. You are hearing me, but this is not direct; this is not immediate. You are hearing me through the senses, through the ears. You are seeing me through the eyes.

Your eyes can wrongly report to you; your ears can wrongly report. No one should be believed; no mediator should be believed, because you cannot rely on the mediator. If your eyes are ill, they will report differently; if your eyes are drugged, they will report differently; if your eyes are filled with memory, they will report differently.

If you are in love, then you see something else. If you are not in love then you can never see that. An ordinary woman can become the most beautiful person in the world if you see through love. When your eyes are filled with love, then they report something else. And the same person can appear the ugliest if your eyes are filled with hate. They are not reliable.

You hear through the ears. Ears are just instruments, they can function wrongly; they can hear something which has not been said; they can miss something which was being said. Senses cannot be reliable; senses are just mechanical devices.

Then what is pratyaksha? Then what is direct cognition? Direct cognition can only be when there is no mediator, not even senses. Patanjali says then it is right knowledge. This is the first basic source of right knowledge: when you know something and you need not depend on anybody else.

Only in deep meditation you transcend senses. Then direct cognition becomes possible. When Buddha comes to know his innermost being, that innermost being is pratyaksha; that is direct cognition. No senses are involved; nobody has reported it; there is no one like an agent. The knower and known are face to face. There is nothing in between. This is immediacy, and immediacy can only be true.

So the first right knowledge can only be that of the inner self. You may know the whole world, but if you have not known the innermost core of your being your whole knowledge is absurd it is not really knowledge; it cannot be true, because the first, basic right knowledge has not happened to you. Your whole edifice is false. You may know many things. If you have not known yourself, all your knowledge is based on reports, reports given by the senses. But how can you be certain that senses are reporting rightly?

In the night you dream. While dreaming you start believing in the dream, that it is true. Your senses are reporting the dream -- your eyes are seeing it, your ears are hearing it, you may be touching it. Your senses are reporting to you; that's why you fall under the illusion that it is real. Here you are; it may be just a dream. How can you be certain that I am speaking to you in reality? It is possible it may be just a dream, you are dreaming me. Every dream is true while you dream.

Chuang Tzu once saw a dream that he has become a butterfly. And in the morning he was sad. And his disciples asked, "Why are you so sad?" Chuang Tzu said, "I am in trouble. In such a trouble I have never been before. This puzzle seems to be impossible; it cannot be solved. Last night I saw a dream that I have become a butterfly!"

The disciples laughed. They said, "What is there? This is not a riddle. A dream is just a dream." Chuang Tzu says, "But listen. I am troubled. If Chuang Tzu can dream that he has become a butterfly, a butterfly may be dreaming now that she has become Chuang Tzu. So how to decide whether I am now facing reality or again a dream? And if Chuang Tzu can become a butterfly, why can't a butterfly dream that she has become a Chuang Tzu?"

There is no impossibility; the reverse can occur. You cannot rely on the senses. In the dream they deceive you. If you take a drug, LSD or something, your senses start deceiving you; you start seeing things which are not there. They can deceive you to such an extent that you can start believing things so absolutely, that you may be in danger.

One girl jumped in New York from sixtieth floor because under LSD she thought now she can fly. Chuang Tzu was not wrong: the girl really flew out of the window. Of course, she died. But she will never be able to know that she has been deceived by her senses under the influence of the drug.

Even without drugs we have illusions. You are passing through a dark street, and suddenly you get scared  -- a snake is there. You start running, and later on you come to know that there was no snake, just a rope was Lying there. But when you felt that there was a snake, there was a snake. Your eyes were reporting that the snake is there and you behaved accordingly-you escaped from the place.

Senses cannot be believed. Then what is direct cognition? Direct cognition is something which is known without senses. So the first right knowledge can only be of the inner self because only there senses will not be needed. Everywhere else senses will be needed. If you want to see me you will have to see through the eyes, but if you want to see yourself, eyes are not needed. Even a blind man can see himself. If you want to see me light will be needed, but if you want to see yourself darkness is okay, light is not needed.

Even in the darkest cave you can know yourself. No medium -- light, eyes, anything -- is needed. The inner experience is immediate, and that immediate experience is the basis of all right knowledge.

Once you are rooted in that inner experience then many things will start happening to you. It will not be possible to understand them right now. One is rooted in his center, in his inner being, one has come to feel it as a direct experience, then senses cannot deceive him. He is awakened. Then eyes cannot deceive, then his ears cannot deceive, then nothing can deceive. Deception has dropped.

You can be deceived because you are living in delusion; you cannot be deceived once you have come to be a right knower. You cannot be deceived! Then everything by and by takes the shape of right knowledge. Once you know yourself, then whatsoever you know will fall automatically to be right because you are right now. This is the distinction to be remembered: if you are right, then everything becomes right; if you are wrong, then everything goes wrong. So it is not a question of doing something outside, it is a question of doing something inside.

You cannot deceive a Buddha -- it is impossible. How can you deceive a Buddha? He is rooted in himself. You are transparent to him; you cannot deceive. Before you know, he knows you. Even a glimmer of thought in you is clearly seen by him. He penetrates you to your very being.

Your penetration goes to the same extent in others as it goes into yourself. If you can penetrate into yourself, to the same extent you can penetrate into everything. Deeper you move within, deeper you can move without. And you have not moved within even a single inch, so whatsoever you do outside is just like a dream.

Patanjali says the first source of right knowledge is immediate, direct cognition pratyaksha. He is not concerned with charvakas, old materialists, who said that pratyaksha, that which is before the eyes, is only true.

Because of this word pratyaksha, direct cognition, much misunderstanding has happened. The Indian school of materialists is charvaka. The source of Indian materialism was Brihaspati, a very penetrating thinker, but a thinker; a very profound philosopher, but a philosopher -- not a realized soul. He says only pratyaksha is true, and by pratyaksha he means whatsoever you know is true -- through the senses. And he says there is no way of knowing anything without the senses, so only sense knowledge is real for charvakas.

Hence, he denies there can be any God because no one has ever seen him. And that which can be seen can only be real; that which cannot be seen cannot be real. God is not because you cannot see; the soul is not because you cannot see. And he says, "If there is God, bring him before me so I can see. If I see then he is, because only seeing is truth."

He also uses the word pratyaksha, direct cognition, but his meaning is totally different. When Patanjali uses the word pratyaksha, his meaning is on an altogether different level. He says knowledge not derived from any instrument, not derived from any medium, immediate, is true. And once this knowledge happens, you have become true. And now nothing false can happen to you. When you are true, authentically rooted in truth, then illusions become impossible.

That's why it is said Buddhas never dream; one who is awakened never dreams. Because even dream cannot happen to him; he cannot be deceived. He sleeps, but not like you. He sleeps in a totally different way the quality is different. Only his body sleeps, relaxes. His being remains alert.

And that alertness won't allow any dream to happen. You can dream only when alertness is lost. When you are not aware, when you are deeply hypnotized, then you start dreaming. Dream can happen only when you are completely unaware. More unawareness, more dreams will be there. More awareness, less dreams. Fully aware, no dream. Even dreaming becomes impossible for one who is rooted in himself, who has come to know the inner being immediately.

This is the first source of right knowledge. Second source is inference. That is secondary, but that too is worth consideration because, as you are right now, you don't know whether there is a self within or not. You have no direct knowledge of your inner being. What to do? There are two possibilities. You can simply deny that there is no inner core of your being, there is no soul, like charvakas do or in the West, Epicurus, Marx Engels and others have done.

But Patanjali says that if you know, there is no need for inference, but if you don't know then too it will be helpful to infer. For example, Descartes, one of the greatest thinkers of the West, started his philosophical quest through doubt. He took the standpoint from the very beginning that he will not believe in anything which is not indubitable. That which can be doubted, he will doubt. And he will try to find out a point which can not be doubted, and only on that point he will create the whole edifice of his thinking. A beautiful quest -- honest, arduous, dangerous.

So he denied God because you can doubt. Many have doubted, and no one has been able to answer their doubts. He went on denying. Whatsoever could be doubted, conceived to be dubitable, he denied. For years continuously he was in inner turmoil. Then he fell upon the point which was indubitable: he couldn't deny himself; that was impossible. You cannot say, "I am not." If you say it, your very saying proves that you are. So this was the basic rock -- that "I cannot deny myself; I cannot say I am not. Who will say it? Even to doubt, I am needed."

This is inference. This is not direct cognition. This is through logic and argument, but it gives a shadow, it gives a glimpse, it gives you a possibility, an opening. And then Descartes had the rock, and on this rock a great temple can be built. One indubitable fact, and you can reach to the absolute truth. If you start with a doubtful thing, you will never reach anywhere. In the very base, doubt remains.

Patanjali says inference is the second source of right knowledge. Right logic, right doubting, right argument can give you something which can help towards real knowledge. That he calls inference, anuman. Directly you have not seen, but everything proves it; it must be so. Situational proofs are there that it must be so.

For example, you look around the vast universe. You may not be able to conceive there is a God, but you cannot deny -- even through simple inference you cannot deny -- that the whole world is a system, a coherent whole, a design. That cannot be denied. The design is so apparent, even science cannot deny. Rather, on the contrary, science goes on finding more and more designs, more and more laws.

If the world is just an accident, then science is impossible. But the world doesn't seem to be an accident, it seems to be planned, and it is running according to certain laws, and those laws are never broken.

Patanjali will say that design in the universe cannot be denied, and if once you feel there is a design, the designer has entered. But that is an inference; you have not known him directly -- but the design of the universe, the planning, the laws, the order. And the order is so superb! It is so minute, so superb, so infinite! The order is there; everything is humming with an order, a musical harmony of the whole universe. Someone seems to be hidden behind, but that's an inference.

Patanjali says inference also can be a help towards right knowledge, but it has to be right inference. Logic is dangerous; it is double-edged. You can use logic wrongly; then too you will reach conclusions.

For example, I told you that the plan is there, the design is there; the world has an order, a beautiful order, perfect. Right inference will be that there seems to be somebody's hand behind it. We may not be directly aware, we may not be in direct touch with that hand but a hand seems to be there, hidden. This is the right inference.

But from the same premises you can infer wrongly also. There have been thinkers who have said... Diderot has said that, "Because of order I cannot believe there is God. In the world there seems to be perfect order. Because of this order, I cannot believe in God." What is his logic? He says if there is a person behind, then there cannot be so much order. If a person is behind it, then he must commit sometimes mistakes. Sometimes whimsical he must go, crazy, sometimes he must change. Laws cannot be so perfect if someone is behind. Laws can be perfect if there is no one behind and they are simply mechanical.

That too has an appeal. If everything goes perfectly, it looks mechanical because about man, it is said, to err is human. If some person is there, then he must err sometimes -- he will get bored with so much perfection. And sometimes he must like to change.

The water boils at hundred degrees. It has been boiling at hundred degrees for millennia, always and always. God must get bored, if someone is behind, Diderot says. So just for a change, one day he will say, "Now, from onwards the water will boil at ninety degrees." But it has never happened, so there seems to be no person.

Both arguments look perfect. But Patanjali says right inference is that which gives you possibilities of growth. It is not a question whether the logic is perfect or not. The question is your conclusion should become an opening. If there is no God, it becomes a closing. Then you cannot grow. If you conclude there is some hidden hand, the world becomes a mystery. And then you are not here just by accident. Then your life becomes meaningful. Then you are part of a great scheme. Then something is possible; you can do something you can rise in awareness.

A right inference means one which can give you growth, that which can give you growth; a wrong inference is that, howsoever perfect looking, which closes your growth. Inference can also be a source of right knowledge. Even logic can be used to be a source of right knowledge, but you have to be very aware what you are doing. If you are just logical, you may commit suicide through it. Logic can become a suicide. It becomes for many.

Just a few days before one seeker was here from California. He traveled long. He had come to meet me. And then he said, "Before I meditate or before you tell me to meditate, I have heard that whosoever comes to you you push into meditation, so before you push me in, I have got questions." He had at least a list of hundred questions. I think he has not left any that is possible -- about God, about soul, about truth, about heaven, hell and everything -- a sheet full of questions. He said, "Unless you solve these questions first, I am not going to meditate."

He is logical in a way because he says, "Unless my questions are answered how can I meditate? Unless I feel confident that you are right, you have answered my doubts, how I can go in some direction you show and indicate? You may be wrong. So you can prove your rightness only if my doubts disappear."

And his doubts are such they cannot disappear. This is the dilemma: if he meditates they can disappear, but he says he will meditate only when these doubts are not there. What to do? He says, "First prove there is God. No one has ever proved, no one can ever. That doesn't mean that God is not there, but he cannot be proved. He is not a small thing which can be proved or disproved. It is such a vital thing, you have to live it to know it. No proof can help.

But he is right logically. He says, "Unless you prove how I can start? If there is no soul, who is going to meditate? So first prove that there is a self, then I can meditate."

This man is committing suicide. No one will be ever able to answer him. He has created all the barriers, and through these barriers he will not be able to grow. But he is logical. What should I do with such a person? If I start answering his questions, a person who can create a hundred doubts can create millions, because doubting is a way, a style of mind. You can answer one question through your answer he will create ten because the mind remains the same.

He looks for doubts, and if I answer logically I am helping his logical mind to be fed, to be more strengthened. I am feeding. That will not help. He has to be brought out of his logicalness.

So I told him that, "Have you ever been in love?" He said, "But why? You are changing the subject." I said, "I will come to your points, but suddenly it has become very meaningful to me to ask have you ever loved." He said, "Yes!" His face changed. I asked, "But you loved before or before falling in love you doubted the whole phenomenon?"

Then he was disturbed. He was uncomfortable. He said, "No, I never thought about it. I simply had fallen in love, and then only I became aware." So I said, "You do the opposite. First think about love, whether love is possible, whether love exists, whether love can exist. And first let it be proved, and make it a condition unless it is proved you will not love anybody."

He said, "What you are saying? You will destroy my life. If I make this a condition, then I cannot love." But, I told him, "This is the same you are doing. Meditation is just like love. You have to know it first. God is just like love. That's why Jesus goes on saying that God is love. It is just like love. First one has to experience."

A logical mind can be closed, and so logically, that he will never feel that he has closed his own doors of all possibilities for all growth. So inference, anuman, means thinking in such a way that growth is helped. Then it can become a source of right knowledge.

And the third is most beautiful. And nowhere else it has been made a source of right knowledge -- words of the awakened ones, AGAMA. There has been a long controversy about this third source. Patanjali says you can know directly, then it is okay. You can infer rightly, then too you are on the right path and you will reach the source.

But there are few things you cannot infer even, and you have not known. But you are not the first on this earth, you are not the first seeker. Millions have been seeking for millions of ages -- and not only on this planet, but on other planets also. The search is eternal and many have arrived. They have reached the goal, they have entered the temple. Their words are also a source of right knowledge.

Agama means the words of those who have known. Buddha says something or Jesus says something... We don't know what he is saying. We have not experienced that, so we have no way of judging it.'We don't know what or how to infer rightly through his words. And the words are contradictory, so you can infer anything you like.

Few are there who think Jesus was neurotic. Western psychiatrists have been trying to prove that he was neurotic, he was a maniac. These claims that, "I am the son of God, and the only son," -- he was mad, an egomaniac, neurotic. It can be proved that he was neurotic because there are many neurotic people who claim such things. You can find out. In madhouses there are many people.

In Baghdad it happened once. Caliph Omar was the king, and one man declared on the streets of Baghdad that "I am the Paigamber, I am the messenger, I am the prophet. And now Mohammed is cancelled because I am here. I am the last word, the last message from the divine. And now there is no need for Mohammed, he is just out of date. He was the messenger up to now, but now I have come. You can forget Mohammed."

It was not a Hindu country. Hindus can tolerate everything; no one has tolerated like Hindus. They can tolerate everything because they say, "Unless we know exactly, we cannot say yes, we cannot say no. He may be the messenger, who knows?"

But Mohammedans are different, very dogmatic. They cannot tolerate. So Caliph Omar, having caught the new prophet, threw him in the jail and told him that, "Twenty-four hours are being given to you. Reconsider. If you say you are not the prophet, Mohammed is the prophet, then you will be released. If you insist in your madness, then after twenty-four hours I will come to the jail and you will be killed."

The man laughed. He said, "Look! This is written in the scriptures -- that prophets will always be treated like this, as you are treating me." He was logical. Mohammed himself was treated like that, so this is nothing new. The man said to Omar, "This is nothing new. This is how things are naturally going to be. And I am not in any position to reconsider. I am not the authority, I am just the messenger. Only God can change. In twenty-four hours you can come, you will find me the same. Only he can change who has appointed me."

While this talk was going on, another madman, who was chained to a pillar, started laughing. So Omar asked, "Why are you laughing?" He said, "This man is absolutely wrong. I never appointed him! I cannot allow this. After Mohammed I have not sent any messenger." In every madhouse these people are there, and Jesus can be proved that he is a similar case.

And the words are so contradictory and illogical. And every person who has known is compelled to speak contradictorily, paradoxically, because the truth is such it can be expressed only through paradoxes. Their statements are not clear; they are mysterious. And you can conclude anything out of them if you infer. You infer. Your mind is there; the inference is going to be your inference.

So Patanjali says, a third source. You don't know. If you know directly, then there is no question, then there is no need of any other source. If you have direct cognition, then there is no need for inference or for the words of the enlightened ones, you yourself have become enlightened. Then you can drop the two other sources. But if this has not happened, then inference, but inference will be yours. If you are mad, then your inference will be mad. Then the third source is worth trying -- the words of the enlightened ones.

You cannot prove them, you cannot disprove them. You can only have a trust, and that trust is hypothetical; it is very scientific. In science also you cannot proceed without a hypothesis. But hypothesis is not belief. It is just a working arrangement. A hypothesis is just a direction; you will have to experiment. And if the experiment proves right, then the hypothesis becomes a theory. If the experiment goes wrong, then the hypothesis is discarded. The words of the enlightened ones are to be taken on trust, as a hypothesis. Then work them out in your life. If they prove true, then the hypothesis has become a faith; if they prove false, then the hypothesis has to be discarded.

You go to a Buddha. He will say, 'Wait! Be patient, meditate, and for two years don't ask any question." This you have to take on trust; there is no other way.

You can think, "This man may be just deceiving me. Then my two years life is wasted. If after two years it is proved that this man was just hocus-pocus, just a deceiver, or self-deceived -- in an illusion that he has become enlightened -- then my two years are wasted." But there is no other way. You have to take the risk. And if without trusting Buddha you remain there, these two years will be useless -- because unless you trust you cannot work. And the work is so intense that if you have trust only can you move wholly into it, totally into it. If you don't have trust, then you go on withholding something. And that withholding will not allow you to experience what Buddha is indicating

Risk is there, but life itself is risk. For higher life, higher risks will be there. You move on a dangerous path. But remember, there is only one error in life, and that is not moving at all; that is just afraid, sitting, just afraid if you move something may go wrong, so it is better to wait and sit. This is the only error. You will not be in danger, but no growth will be possible.

Patanjali says there are things which you do not know, there are things which your logic cannot infer. You have to take on trust. Because of this third source, the guru, the Master, becomes a necessity, someone who knows. And you have to take the risk, and I say it is a risk, because there is no guarantee. The whole thing may prove just a wastage, but it is better to take the risk, because even if it is proved a wastage, you have learned much. Now no other person will be able to deceive you so easily. At least you have learned this much.

And if you move with trust, if you move totally follow a Buddha like a shadow, things may start happening, because they have happened the person: to this Gautam Buddha, to Jesus, to Mahavira. They have happened, and they know the path; they have traveled. If you argue with them, you will be the loser. They cannot be the losers. They will simply leave you aside.

In this century this has happened with Gurdjieff. So many people were attracted towards him, but he would create such a situation for the new disciples that unless they can trust totally, they will have to leave immediately -- unless they can trust even in absurdities. And those absurdities were planned. Gurdjieff will go on lying. In the morning he will say something, in the afternoon something else. And you are not to ask! He will shatter your logical mind completely.

In the morning he will say, "Dig this ditch. And this is a must! By the evening this must be complete. And the whole day you have been digging it. You have exerted, you are tired, you will be perspiring, you have not taken food, and by evening he comes and he says, "Throw the mud back in the ditch! And before you go to bed it has to be completed."

Now even an ordinary mind will say, 'What do you mean? The whole day I have wasted. And I was thinking it was something very necessary, by the evening it has to be completed, and now you say, "Throw the mud back!" If you ask such a thing, Gurdjieff will say, "You simply leave! You go away! I am not for you; you are not for me."

The ditch or the digging is not the thing. What he is trying is whether you can trust him even when he is absurd. And once he knows that you can trust him and you can move with him wherever he leads, only then real things will follow. Then the test is over; you have been examined and found authentic -- a real seeker who can work and who can trust. And then real things can happen to you, never before.

Patanjali is a Master, and this third source he knows very well through his own experience with thousands and thousands of disciples. He must have worked with many, many disciples and seekers, only then it is possible to write such a treatise as YOGA SUTRAS. It is not by a thinker. It is by one who has experimented with many types of minds and who has penetrated with many many layers of minds, every type of person who has worked. This he makes the third source: the words of the awakened ones.


Next: Next: Chapter 5, Rigth And Wrong Knowledge, Book 1, Sutra 7


Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Yoga Yoga Sutras of Patanjali






Energy Enhancement Enlightened Texts Yoga Yoga Sutras of Patanjali



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