Without practising a particular religion, how do we go beyond religion? What leads us beyond dogma? How much do we have to progress in religion to be infinitely tolerant?
How and when do we understand the exact meaning of the great words, of the great people, who were originators of the great religions? How do we go beyond the duality that surrounds us, and is within most of our actions?
I donot have answers.
The Mahavakya from Aitareya Upanishad (from Rig Veda) "Pragyanam Brahman" is apt. If the great seers have experienced Brahman knowingly, and want to describe that Brahman to the common people, that Brahman which has been said to be -- among its various attributes -- indescribable, how do the common people, who have not experienced Brahman knowingly, know that the purport of the words of the seers in the right context? How do the common people, the multitudes, know that there is imperfection in description of Brahman by those seers themselves, those who were that wise to know that what they have experienced is Brahman? After all, Isn't Brahman what we experience everyday, whenever we are experiencing Truth, Consciousness or Bliss? This, however does not make us experience it knowingly as, even animals experience it unknowingly. Do the animals know what they are experiencing? Do the multitudes know what makes them happy? Experiencing Brahman knowingly is what differentiates the seers from the rest. How many of the wise seers, who were kind enough to come back and explain to the multitudes, know that there is bound to be imperfectness, some infidelity in their communication? If they did know, how many later tried to contradict their previous words, to explain their experience exactly? If so, how many of those seers were thought by the multitudes to lose their power of communication, lose their special touch, lose their magical words, lose their simplicity and thereby left to be old seers who have no more understanding of their own experience, than any other man? Later, how of the multitudes settled among themselves that, the words of the seers the first time they uttered were sacrosant, more sacrosant than any other human being, including the seers who uttered the words themselves? If so, why did it happen after some more time, that some of the multitudes turned skeptical of the words, the words which they themselves approved of before? Why did the skeptics began to feel that the words had lost their magic touch, lost the power which they had earlier? The seers themselves, either turned into skeptics themselves and thought to be madmen, or turned into sophists and fade into glory, or worst of all, saw the misunderstanding that happened and did not comment so that they can be adulated by the masses, knowing within their heart of hearts, that no one understood the words? What happened to the masses themselves, ones who remained faithful to the words and repeated them, but did not understand the purport? Forget the purport, the masses who did not even understand the meaning of the words as uttered by the seers, the first time they were uttered? The masses who did not even know that they did not know? What happened to all these types of people? How did history judge them? How did they judge themselves, just before their final breath? The seers, of course, being wise, unioned with the Brahman. What happened to the skeptics? What happened to the faithful?
I do not know.
I, however, remember the following passage from Siddhartha by Hesse:
Quoth Siddhartha: “I’ve had thoughts, yes, and insight, again and again. Sometimes, for an hour or for an entire day, I have felt knowledge in me, as one would feel life in one’s heart. There have been many thoughts, but it would be hard for me to convey them to you. Look, my dear Govinda, this is one of my thoughts, which I have found: wisdom cannot be passed on. Wisdom which a wise man tries to pass on to someone always sounds like foolishness.”
“Are you kidding?” asked Govinda.
“I’m not kidding. I’m telling you what I’ve found. Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught. This was what I, even as a young man, sometimes suspected, what has driven me away from the teachers. I have found a thought, Govinda, which you’ll again regard as a joke or foolishness, but which is my best thought. It says: The opposite of every truth is just as true! That’s like this: any truth can only be expressed and put into words when it is one-sided. Everything is one-sided which can be thought with thoughts and said with words, it’s all one-sided, all just one half, all lacks completeness, roundness, oneness.
What is the proof that me, who wrote these words, me who felt all these in a spirit of inspiration, I will understand the message in the above words after some time, whatever it is? I would, I truly would, if the words were written with true Brahman experience. Why do great seers from India pray for smriti? Why do seers pray for everlasting experiences?