We must know what we do not know
Look at a baby crawling or creeping, holding fast an insect and pressing the same into his mouth. The mother in anxiety rushes towards the baby and screams out at this dangerous sight. The baby does not bother; rather he hastens up the process and lands himself in trouble. The baby in fact does not know that he does not know. "He is doing what he should do."- He thinks.
When he grows up, most of his mistakes are corrected, at home by his parents and at school by his teachers. The darkness of ignorance in him gradually disappears on the touch of the magic wand of knowledge. Acquisition of more and more knowledge and experience makes him more and more refined and sensible. True, darkness of ignorance slowly fades away but still it remains. The intensity of it only differs from man to man. Normally whenever we do certain type of work, we think that we are doing the right thing and pursuing the right object. If at all we know that we are doing a wrong thing or we are treading on an undesirable tract, we, by our hazy knowledge, are probably convinced of the dire necessity or unavoidable nature of such wrong pursuit. In other words, we take a positive decision to do a negative thing.
There is no wonder that a blind man falls into a ditch. There is no wonder that an ignorant man may trespass into a prohibited area and be prosecuted. "Ignorance is no excuse". That is what the law says. That is also true so far as the cosmic law is concerned. God has given us senses, mind and intellect as our guides to lead us on the right path, but if we misuse, we land ourselves in problems and consequently we suffer.
It is right to treat right as right. It is wrong to treat right as wrong. It is wrong to treat wrong as right. It is right to treat wrong as wrong. It is by the knowledge of the Supreme alone that we can discriminate between right and wrong in course of our many and varied activities. Other wise, doubts will confuse and confound us. In the epoch-making Mahabharat war, Arjuna, the scorcher of foes, the greatest hero of the time, was also beset with doubt. "To be or not to be", was the question before him. There were shivering all over his body. He felt as if the famous arch 'Gandiva' was dropping down from his hands. When he vacillated, Lord Srikrishna indoctrinated him with true knowledge, the knowledge of the Supreme. The dilemma that deluded Arjuna disappeared. He cast off his ego and faintheartedness and rose up to the occasion.
Such crucial moments do come in our lives. We take innumerable decisions during our lifetime. More often than not, our decisions are influenced by our multifarious moods. Decisions differ as our moods differ. Then what should be our correct moods? What should be the correct decision? It is only proper knowledge that provides us with the light. We comment on others. We liberally pour out applause on others' deeds. Persons who are applauded today are looked down upon the next day. We uphold now to reject later. We praise, we condemn, we reward, we punish, we love, and we hate. Such dualities occur in everybody's life. That is mainly because our knowing is imperfect. We judge things from our own standpoints. By our angle of vision, we try to measure things. This appears convenient for us since we cannot so easily conceive anything beyond the framework of our knowledge. How illogical and improper it is to weigh things with a balance whose correctness has hardly been verified, whose limitations have hardly been taken into cognizance? Posing like a professional examiner with a red pencil in hand, we tick, we cross and we strike off, sometimes subjects beyond our comprehensions. Sometimes we do not bother to know that we do not have the requisite qualifications or competence to do so. It is vague and meaningless therefore to take rash decisions or make sweeping remarks on things on which we possess little or no ideas. While we try to know about others, we rarely evince interest to know ourselves.
The mathematical astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington gives an example regarding the limitations of our senses, which is mentioned below in brief.
"A fisherman casts his net into the ocean. He catches some fish. Surveying his fish, which he has caught with his net, if he concludes that no sea creature is less than two inches long and all sea creatures have gills, it will be wrong, because he has not studied the size of the holes in the net." Similarly, without studying the nature of our senses, its limitations etc. we cannot weigh or analyze things properly. Just as the fisherman's statements are correct so far as the fish he has caught are concerned, similarly physical science is true so fare as the things within the sensory level are concerned. For things beyond the sensory level, the science of spirituality reigns supreme.
The science of spirituality deals with the metaphysical world just as physical science deals with the truths of the physical world. Physical science studies the nature without and the science of spiritually deals with the nature within. Swami Vivekananda was of the opinion that realities may be studied but not exhausted by the physical sciences. Physical sciences depend upon the sense data for which the limiting adjective 'physical' is used.
Social Philosopher E.F.Schumacher, Author of 'Small is beautiful 'notes that in our modern society when people are out of touch with nature, with their traditional wisdom they 'consider it fashionable to ridicule and only believe in what they see and touch and measure." According to them, "Seeing is believing".
As long as we do not know 'Truth', we shall be groping in darkness in the area of 'Avidya' or ignorance, with our limited and circumscribed vision. We should seek to cross the border of 'Avidya' by conscious endeavour otherwise we shall be seeing darkness only in the dark house. Any amount of search for a ray of light will be futile unless the lamp within is enkindled.
The science of spirituality does not contradict or clash in any way with the physical science. The scope of the former is total whereas the scope of the latter is partial. The great scientist Neil Bohr said, "We can admittedly find nothing in physics or chemistry that has even a remote bearing on Consciousness." Einstein the father of modern physics admitted that Consciousness could not be adequately described in terms of physical phenomena.
Knowledge of the supreme is therefore the most fundamental and the highest knowledge, which everyone must try to learn and experience. Sincere efforts should be made to have a direct experience of the infinity within and without who is described as Sat Chit Ananda or Existence, Consciousness and Bliss.
We must be convinced of the fact that whatever we have learnt is inadequate. We have not fathomed the basics. We have started learning from the world of relativities basing on some assumptions we have made out of our own imagination. Even beyond our imagination level there remains some consciousness from out of which all imaginations emanate, get activated and again die down after some time. More and higher things still remain to be known. Before knowing the outside world, we must try to probe inside and try to see if any other greater truth remains as the sub-stratum from which all other relative truths flow out with the flow of our imagination.
We must know what we do not know.