Inquiry Into Knowledge

Below is an inquiry into knowledge undertaken the last few days. Writing about Vedanta helps shine a light on where my knowledge is limited and offers the opportunity for further study.

Relative knowledge: Knowledge of objects that change based upon one’s point of view in time and space. Examples: gravity on earth versus gravity on the moon, a healthy diet from the perspective of a holistic doctor versus the FDA, and an experience perceived by two different human beings, colored by their conditioning.

Absolute knowledge: is that which never changes and is always good. Examples: 2 + 2 = 4, fire is hot and sugar is sweet. Without which a thing is not a thing, its essence. With regards to liberation, the absolute knowledge sought is the Self which is always present, all pervasive and never changing. The Self (awareness) is that by which all knowledge is known and that which every thing (object) is dependent upon.

Revealed Knowledge: obtained knowledge, already present but not yet known. For example, gravity was not invented by Newton, it was here when the earth was created and was revealed to his mind, which was prepared to receive the knowledge. This is true for Edison and electricity and Vedanta. Vedanta is not from humans, it is the revealed knowledge of human beings (jivas), creation (jagat), creator (Isvara), intelligent ignorance (Maya) and the Self (sat-chit-ananda).

Object Knowledge: knowledge of objects. If I stand before a tree, tree knowledge appears in my mind, not dog knowledge.

Subject Knowledge: both indirect and direct knowledge, presented below.

Indirect Knowledge: Intellectual knowledge of the Self, as an object, from the point of view of the jiva, the experiencing entity.

Direct Knowledge: I am non-dual, ever-present, all-pervasive, limitless existence, consciousness. Standing in awareness as awareness.

One can also have direct knowledge of an object, not just the Self. For example, you are eating a Breadfruit for the first time and don’t know its name. Someone describes a Breadfruit to you (indirect knowledge), they then share that you are eating Breadfruit, which converts your indirect knowledge to direct knowledge.

Indirect knowledge of the Self can be converted to direct knowledge of the Self, which is moksha, with the help of a competent teacher and a means of Self-knowledge – Vedanta.

“Self-knowledge is not the accumulation of information, but rather the removal of ignorance. Through self-inquiry, we strip away all the erroneous or false notions we have about who we are and what remains at the end of it all is the recognition that we are the limitless conscious existence in which all objects appear.” ~ Ted Schmidt

“Enlightenment is the hard and fast (direct) knowledge that I am ordinary awareness and not the experiencing entity I think I am. It is only knowledge for one simple reason, I am already free.” ~ Ramji

Enlightenment sickness is when a jiva has indirect knowledge of the Self but believes he or she has direct knowledge. Read about this trap in a share by Arlindo Nagar Moraes: The Three Types of Enlightenment Sickness.

Learn more about traditional Vedanta at ShiningWorld a website created by Ramji (James Swartz).


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