In previous part 6 conversation, teacher explained one of most integral teachings leading to vision of Oneness; how individual (microcosmic; vyaṣṭi) and TOTAL (macrocosmic; samaṣṭi) are are of the one SAME substance.
Now student continues questioning on bases of previous conversation, “If we are equal to the Limitless One, why do we need the sacred books? A knower by definition has a capacity to know. Can't we come to know who or what the knower is… through our own analysis?”
The knower is you. For example, you know about status of your body, so we say “My body is feeling…”
You know about contents of your memories, so we share “I remember when…”
You know about the weather, so we cry “Today is too…”
You know what you like or dislike, thus we express “I like, I don't like so much…”
Which means you, the knower, always comes FIRST.
In other words, it is only because of your knowing-presence that the known objects of the world are immediately registered. Then the registered is spoken of, acted upon or thought about.
So if the knower always comes FIRST, then how is the knower supposed to know itself?
For example, I can't know the knower because I AM the knower.
If we try to know the knower, then notice how there remains a knower throughout, who knows about the attempt of trying to know the knower.
Which means we can never gain knowledge about the knower through our own effort.
All we know through our experience is that the knower exists. For example, “I know that I see you”. And “You know that you are seeing me”.
This much is an established fact.
With the knower's presence established, how does the knower know himself? The knower obviously will need help from an external source.
Just as the eye cannot see itself, it needs a mirror.
In same way, the knower require an external means… a mirror to reflect his or her nature which is Consciousness. To say “I know about…”, is to say “I am conscious of…”. Therefore Consciousness is the very knower principle.
Consciousness is never an object. It is the one real subject. It is formless. And neither our mind nor our senses can objectify it.
This is where words play a part. Words from books, words of a master. It is our valid means to know. Just like mirror is a valid means for the eye to know or see itself.
Words of Vedanta reveal the ONE true knowledge, knowing which everything else is as known. Just like ONE true knowledge of ornaments is gold. Knowing the one gold, the nature of all ornaments is instantaneously known.
Our sacred books (śāstra), the Upanishads are indispensable to reveal the knower's essence as the One Universal Consciousness… which is the cause of the entire creation.
“These books were written by people like us. Why do we need them? What is their status as the judge of these subtle issues?”
Our sacred books and texts are a compendium or collection of knowledge equal to no other.
They hold within their pages the truth of the world and us.
Their words are reflected through the wisest of minds whose identities are lost in the mists of time.
Without identity there is no ego, neither subjectivity nor interpretation.
Thus the knowledge has flowed chaste, pure and untouched by the vagaries of individual minds.
Our Upanishads are revelations. They are not interpretations. They reveal the eternal truth. The truth of our self.
More in our sacred texts in our next talk.
Continue reading part 8 of this teacher-student conversation…