8 Knowledge is Contemplation Knowledge is Life
“The Time Calls You Now…!”
-Author by :D. Ramachandra Raju.”
-Cell : 98499 04513, 99083 24214
Vivekanandasays the foremost character of knowledge is the perception of being.
What is knowledge?
“What is wisdom?”
“Thoroughly knowing the subject.”
“What is the subject?”
“On objective being”
“What does it mean?”
“Knowing what is what and who is who.”
“What do you know?”
“I know reading, writing. I know my village. I know few
names, some history, some science, I know birth and death.”
“Do you know everything?”
“There is a lot to know.”
“I do not know. Perhaps as huge as the whole universe.”
“Minus what you know from the universe. You have no clue about what remains.”
“So, how much do you know?”
What one knows in this vast, unending universe is minuscule. What man knows is nothing. If anyone claims to know everything, he must verily be the first rate ignoramus. What do you know about the universe? Sun, Moon, planets, satellites, the space and the space above the space. …. Mind-boggling. Isn’t it? In your tiny village, you have no clue who resides in which house and how many reside in each house.
You do not even know about your body and its parts. Once the Greeks asked the Oracle: “Who is the most knowledgeable?” “Socrates.” Replied the oracle. When Socrates came to know about this, he said: “I know one thing, that I know nothing.” “So, you do not know anything?” “I do know. I know about my friends. I know Telugu and English.” “Stop there. You know your friend’s name. You know his father and mother’s name. But, you have no idea about his relatives. You have no idea where they hail from. “Knowing the unknown is knowledge.” “How much knowledge does a man need?” “Enough knowledge to enable him to live happily.” “Where does it come from?” “By knowing. You need to make an effort to know.” “If you want to know about the collector, what would you do? Go to him or his staff to know what he does.” Learning about everything is impossible. The best way to learn is through books. Hence, you need to know how to read and write. You need to learn and you learn from others. How quickly you learn is based on your capabilities. For this, you need focus and concentration. The unwise says: “Nobody taught me. So I did not learn,” The wise says: “I could learn this. I could know about this.” At the young age of thirteen Guru Sankara mastered Upanishads, Vedas and Bhagavadgita and wrote commentaries on them. He defeated many a scholar in arguments. He strove to rejuvenate Hindu dharma through his teachings. He had established four mathas in memory of four Vedas and propagated Hinduism through them. He wrote such masterpieces as Vishnu Sahasra Namam and Sivananda Lahari. He penned commentaries on Brahma Sutras. Yet, he was a normal mortal like anyone of us. Ramanujacharya too had mastered the Vedas and the Vedangas. He belived that the value of the Vedas would go up only when it reaches the masses. The teachers who taught Sankara and Ramanuja had also taught countless others. Where are they? Why didnot every other disciple become a Sankara or Ramanuja? Not everyone will have the memory, the grasping power, retention and the learning ability. Only those with such abilities excel. Only such people can be masters of their lives. Aurobindo Ghosh shone in the ICS examination at a very young age of 24. His mastery over the English language would put the Englishmen beyond the pale. His memory and retention were remarkable. He penned the remarkable and epic story of Savitri in English. Subhash Chandra Bose. The very mention of this name is enough to fill every Indian chest with pride. He stood fourth in the ICS examinations at a young age of 23 years. Yet, he did not like the idea of serving the alien masters and plunged himself into the freedom movement leaving the job aside. Ekalavya episode is a glimmering chapter in the glorious Mahabharata. Though Drona refused to teach him, Ekalavya learnt the art and craft of archery treating an idol of that very Guru as his preceptor. Similarly, Drona taught archery to all the Pandavas and Kauravas. But, Only Arjun could go on to excel his teacher in the craft. Why did the others lag behind? It is simply that they did not have it in them. They did not have the passion to learn. How to become passionate? We become passionate when we are disciplined.
What is discipline? Our teachers in school always tell us to be disciplined, but never tell us the benefits of being disciplined. A student raised the same question. “What are good habits?” he asked. “Waking up early, having a shower every day, reading regularly, obeying the elders and going to the school every day.” “But, I am doing all of them every day.” “OK. You will then become a good student. Now, don’t ask me any more questions,” said the harried teacher. The boy went to the head master. “You will become educated if you are disciplined” said he. The boy went to his illiterate father. There was little use. He then went to his grandpa. The grandfather stopped his work and ushered him in. He made his sit. He said: “Discipline is good behaviour. Discipline is possessing good qualities.” “What are the benefits?” A visibly happy grandfather took a deep breath, cast a contented look at his grandson and began. “Nobody taught me all these. We shall learn together. You must wake up at dawn.” “What is wrong if I get up late?” “Wake up early. Come out into the open. Feel the gentle, cool breeze. It is good for your wellbeing. It gives you new energy. You will then feel the first rays of the rising son….You will get to listen to the chirping of birds. Your mind is filled with new thoughts. Whatever you do at that time, your mind will be fresh and receptive. Take a book and begin to read. The lesson sinks into your fresh and receptive mind and it gets etched on your mind.” “Is that all?” “Good behaviour…. Obeying the elders… and abstaining from stealing from others.” “Is that discipline too?” “Surely. If you steal from someone, your mind will become agitated and restless. You are caught in perpetual fear that someone might catch you and question you. You are worried that you may have to face the police. Can you study with an agitated mind? Can you be at peace? Can you remain attentive while your teacher teaches in the classroom? “I now understand. Stealing is such a bad thing.” “Yes. Get up early. Take a shower and begin to study. You will realise how interesting and easy the learning could be. Going to the school every day too is part of discipline. If you miss one day, you would not be in a position to understand the lessons. “True. We can never understand the second sentence without understanding the first sentence.” “Hence, you must be regular to your school if you want to excel in studies.” “I understand now.” “You must not quarrel with the others.” “what if they quarrel with me?” “If your remain silent, they would have no occasion to quarrel with you. What happens when you quarrel? The impact would remain on you for quite some time. Your mind becomes restless. You cannot do anything. The incident eats into you.” “True?” “Yes…. Being healthy and peaceful and possessing all good qualities is important. That is discipline.” “Even being healthy is important?” “Yes. If you over eat, you suffer constipation, diarrhoea and other stomach-related ailments. If you do not eat, you shall
suffer pangs of hunger and cannot sleep properly.” “Is regularly studying discipline too?” “Yes. You will become knowledgeable when you get educated. You will get better opportunities in life. You will have the felicity to express and share your thoughts. You shall be of help to others. So, you shall succeed in all your endeavours if you are disciplined. For this, you need focus. The prerequisite for being focussed is peace of mind. It is this lack of discipline and peace of mind that made Kauravas fight all their life, become unpopular and finally perish in war. A powerful king like Ravana had to perish for eying what does not belong to him. A person without discipline can never be self-confident. You have to toil like a disciplined soldier to succeed in life.” “Grandpa… I understand now. A disciplined life is eternally beautiful. A kind heart is an abode of God,” so said my teacher.” “You shall succeed in all your endeavours if you are disciplined.” Everyone asks you to be disciplined. But, no one tells you why you should be disciplined? In my childhood, there was this teacher who used to thrash us if we miss the class one day. Instead of mindless thrashing, hadshe cared to explain why we should attend the classes regularly? Rigveda says:“ Let noble thoughts come from all sides.” This exalted thinking turns an ordinary man into an extraordinary man.
* * * * *
Some 2500 years ago, naked mendicant Mahaveera averred: “Those without wisdom are always in slumber Those with wisdom are always awake” You may be recounting something very seriously and find your friend inattentive. You get annoyed and chide him. Many people do things mindlessly. They do things mechanically and absent-mindedly. They are shaken awake when someone alerts them. But, few others do things with utmost alertness. They know how to live. They know how to partition their lives.
A newly-wed couple discuss their lives on their first night. The man pulls his wife closer and tells her that now they are man and wife, there should be total openness between them and that none should keep secrets. He tells her about his duping a girl and later repenting for what he has done. He then asks the girl to open up. The woman tells him that while working at a farmhouse, she was raped by the farmhouse owner. There was no any fault of her but the owner forced. That was it. The man leaves her. He does not want to live with a girl who had pre-marital sex, no matter if it was much against her wishes. This is the theme of Thomas Hardy’s classic Tess of D’ Urber Vellis. The woman innocently reveals all without trying to understand why she was being asked to open up. Her life gets ruined and she then kills the farmhouse owner who ruined her.
It was when she was on her way to the prison that she countenances a remorse-filled husband. The woman in the block booster english movie “TITANIC” tells the waiting reporters that “the woman’s heart is ocean of secrets.” “ There are many wise men, who have secret hearts and transparent countenances,” said Francis Bacon. Everyone has secrets. But, one should know what to hide and what to reveal. We end up in soup without realising this. A soldier in war has to know everything happening around him and be watchful about everyone moving around. He should know his friend and his enemy. If he fails in this, he may well have to pay with his life. Is it not the life a war? Most of you must have faced the following situation. It’s midnight and your parents are in deep slumber. Suddenly, some sound emanates from the kitchen. Mother says: “There’s some noise in kitchen. A thief perhaps…” “It could be a cat or a rat…” says your father and both slip into slumber once again. Or your father might ask your mother on hearing sounds emanating from the kitchen. “Is that cat…Have you put a lid on the milk container?” “I did… Do not disturb me….” the wife in sleeping mood says.
They wake up tomorrow to find that a thief made his way into the house and made good with all valuables. When Duryodhana gifted the Pandavas a house made of highly inflammable lac, the Pandavas entered it unsuspectingly. But, Lord Krshna knew something was wrong. He could sniff something was amiss as he was mentally awake and alert. You may have been cheated many a times. You are deceived because you are deceivable. As long as there are gullible, there are going to be conmen. Your friend comes in anxiously and asks you to lend some money claiming that his wife is seriously ill. You mortgage your gold and give him money. The next day, you call on your friend’s home to enquire about his wife’s health. You are shocked to find her hale and healthy. You are crestfallen when she tells you that your friend had of late been addicted to betting and that he had lost all money and every asset in gambling. You are a fool for not trying to ascertain whether your friend was trying to con you. Had you been alert, you would have been saved of this loss. Did you notice that he was really anxious about his wife?
Did you ask the name of the hospital where she was admitted?
Did you ask as to what was the ailment she was suffering from?
Did you ask as to what was the name of the doctor treating her?
Did you enquire when was the surgery going to be performed?
Why did you not decide to go to the hospital personally and pay up the expenses?
A little alertness would have saved you of the blushes. When your ever-bubbly friend is moody, realise something is amiss. When your sister comes home trembling with fear, she must have been stalked. When your best buddy is trying to avoid you, realise that someone has poisoned his ears. A boy and a girl are in love. In a moment of solitude, the boy kisses her. The girl spurns him off. The boy aks: “Why…. ? Aren’t we in love?”
“How do I believe that you will marry me?”
“Don’t you trust my love?”
The girl suddenly pulls out a photograph and counters him. That is a photograph of the boy’s earlier lover. The boy is shocked. “How did you get this?” he asks feebly “When I am in love with you, isn’t it imperative that I should know everything about you? I must know everything about you. Your caste, your friends, your background, your enemies, your likes and dislikes, your strengths and weaknesses? What are your words and what are your actions. Without knowing these, how can I advance. Needless to say, the boy had scooted away from the scene. This is a real life incident reported from Tirupati. A boy brought his lover home. His parents were away and there were two friends. As the conversation went on, someone brought cool drinks. The unsuspecting girl drank it and fell unconscious soon. A sedative was mixed in the cool drink. It’s not difficult to guess what may have happened next.
Another clever girl in a similar situation noticed that the bottle was already uncorked. If there was nothing wrong, the bottles would have been uncorked in her presence. The alert girl feigned drinking, but collected the sample to get it chemically tested. In the tests, she found out that sedatives were mixed in the drink. Her enquiries showed that the man was in the habit of duping the girls this way. This is due to the girl’s alertness. Many a girls wail and weep after she gets duped.
Is the husband coming home late every day? Is it due to work? Is there so much work to do? Why is he becoming pesky at home? Is he secretly gambling? Is he talking in hushed tones into his phone? You can observe all these even while doing your daily chores. All thatyou need is to be alert As you are walking down the lane, you find a man in crumpled clothes and grubby looks following you. Is he your former lover? Will he attack you? Will he throw acid on you? If so, what precautions should you take?It is because Srilaxmi was not alert, in the class room that she died. A spurned youth stabbed her. Had she been alert and courageous, she could have saved herself.
When you find a vehicle hurtling along behind you, you must realise it could hit you and be alert to save yourselves. When you are teaching in the class, are you merely going through the grind or are you alert? Why is the boy casting his glances on the girl? Why is the girl looking sideways? Yes… ” Those without wisdom are always in slumber Those with wisdom are always awake” You have an exam tomorrow. You need to study at night.
There is a likelihood of power outage. Are you ready with the candles in case you need them? The exam is at 10 AM. You are denied entry even if you are late by one minute? Have you taken into account the vehicular traffic rush on the roads? Have you factored in the frequency of the buses? Reach early. You will have some time to study at the examination hall. The interviewer might ask you about the day’s top news. Have you glanced through today’s newspaper? You have an important meeting tomorrow. Is your file ready today? Otherwise, you have to hurry through in the last minute and face the music.
You are ten years into your job. But, you haven’t saved anything. It’s time to save. The money would come handy when you retire. Your girl is coming of age. You need to invest on her education. Save money for her in recurring deposit schemes. You are nearing retirement. You still don’t own a house. It’s time to build a house lest you face troubles later. What does one need to stay awake at all times? He needs to understand the ways of the world. He should focus on what he is doing.
He needs to plan his action. After all, planning leads to perfection. When you embark upon something, plan in advance things like what to tell whom. Famous Tamil writer Akhilan says: “Learn to live beautifully. Make your life as happy as you can.” Beauty does not merely lie in adorning oneself. Beauty lies in thinking on a higher plane. Poet Seshendra too said the same thing when he wrote: “One who doesn’t know how to create a new realm, passes off with the rotten words. But, one whose ideas have wings, takes off, crosses oceans and scales mountains.” An officer comes home after a gruelling day at work. He has a load of files tucked in his hands. His daughter comes and demands: “take me to the market. I need to make some purchases.” The exhausted officer loses cool and yells at her. The girl is shocked. She silently walks away. “Why did you yell at her,” asks his wife “Shut up. I’ve just come home… and see this heap of files… She wants me to take her to the market?” She enquired from his attender as to what happened at the office. She understood that he had a tough day at the office. She at once realised what the problem was. She looked at her husband. He was immersed in the files. She has been putting up with his anger and mood swings ever since she married him. She made a hot cup of coffee and took it to him.
After keeping the coffee on the table, she gently took his pen from his hands and said “Have coffee. I have something to tell you.” Another of those serious complaints, the officer thought to himself.”You are an officer and you know quite a few things.” “So what….?” “When you come home, you leave your footwear outside. You never bring them in. Why don’t you leave your office and your tensions outside while entering home? Why can’t you come home as a husband and a father and not as an officer? Ever realised how happy we would feel?” The officer was speechless. How come it never occurred to him? His wife is a mere matriculate, but could think so rationally, while he was educated but never ever thought of this. From then on, he stopped brining office files and worries home.
He left them outside his home If you begin some task with enthusiasm, there are more chances that it would become successful. Begin something with doubts and prevarication; it ends up as a failure. If you are enthusiastic, you are respected and adored. A morose, doubting Thomas is always shunned. Even your colleagues would think you are a bore and don’t even invite you for a cup of tea. Being enthusiastic always is a state of mind. In a cricket match, we often find the non-striker walking up to the batman to pat him on the back for a well-hit sixer. Why is he doing so? To encourage the batsman to excel. If there is no encouragement, the batsman may well get clean bowled. Being enthusiastic all times is to recharge self continuously. Being enthusiastic is to focus on the work at hand. Being enthusiastic is to let the world know who you are. Being enthusiastic is to be happy at all times. Being enthusiastic is to anticipate happiness. Being enthusiastic is to be tireless.
When you stay focussed, you stay enthusiastic. If you are defocused, your enthusiasm evanesces. Isn’t it said that, “ Most of the people spend their lives either in the past or in the future. But my life is supremely concentrated in the present. Nearly all the worries and unhappiness of the Indians ome From their imagination and not from reality.” – The great Indian Master Gnana is knowing what to do and to know what not to do is greater gnana. Your friend comes while you are deeply engaged in studies and offers to take you to a movie. You want to study, but ultimately go to the movie. For whose enjoyment? His’ or yours? This is where your personality gets exposed.
* * * * *
These days, anyone not using Internet, facebook, blog or e mail is considered an illiterate. Being in tune with the times and updating oneself is like sharpening our weapons to face the future war. The very realisation that you need to update yourselves is half battle won. You will never learn to swim as long as you do refuse to venture into water. Your fear of drowning never vanishes so long as you sit at the shore. Hence, you need to begin and start doing. Then alone will you know what is right and what is wrong. In the famous TV serial ‘Har Har Mahadev,’ Sati Devi goes in search of Parijaata flowers. On her way, she finds ascetics with ash smeared wearing Rudraksha beads. She feels she had come the wrong way. It is then an ascetic says: “You will know what is right only when you go wrong.” Knowing what is right and what is wrong is important. When you know how the life of a non-disciplined person got ruined, you will understand the need for discipline. There is a lot we can learn even from the defeated A scientist had 365 patents on his name. Imagine how many hundreds of failed experiments led him to this success You can savour the taste of success only when you know what failure is. In fact, famous Telugu writer Yandamoori Veerendranath had even written a book titled, “Come. Let’s make mistakes.” So, You need to be constantly awake. Being awake is to know what is right and what is not. If you did not face any hurdle or challenge, it only means you did nothing today. If you made no mistake, it only means you did not begin any work today. We can learn the road by walking on it only .
Is Gnana mere wisdom?
Gnana is to know?
How much do you know?
Who do you know?
Life is to know the unknown.
Gnana is courage
Gnana is happiness.
Gnana is the world.
The world is a zilch if you lack gnana.