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Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra – Revealing True Knowledge

Knowledge is widely glorified. Pujya Gurudevshri based on the wisdom of Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra explains what the knowledge eulogised by the Enlightened Ones is; the knowledge that can remove our malady of delusion

Param Krupalu Dev in Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra unfolds the knowledge that alone can keep us happy and unaffected in the world of changes, so also the path to attain that knowledge. In the field of engineering, the knowledge of medicine and surgery becomes useless. The law books have no value for a doctor, as a deep study of law does not help in diagnosing or treating a disease. In every field, knowledge means knowledge about the subjects related to that field. For a doctor, knowledge about anatomy, diseases, symptoms of the diseases and the requisite medicine is necessary. A lawyer needs knowledge of law and how to interrogate the witness. For a businessman, knowledge of the customer’s mentality, products, the market’s trend is considered useful. In the same way, in the spiritual field, knowledge regarding the Self alone is called knowledge. The aspirant of liberation acquires knowledge about the world or other things only to understand the relationship between the Self and the world. Even while acquiring information regarding the world, his focus remains on consciousness alone. Any knowledge that helps in manifesting the purity of the Self, that alone is valued here. In the spiritual field, no matter how much worldly information one may acquire, if one doesn’t have consciousness in focus, it carries no importance.

Knowledge of the Consciousness

By merely studying the scriptures, one cannot gain the right knowledge of the Self. The knowledge gained from scriptures is indirect; it cannot be completely clear. Therefore, one must attain direct knowledge of the Self. Even in our daily worldly life, what is seen as important is not how many books a doctor has read but how correctly he can diagnose the disease and bring us relief by giving the right medicines. One who can do that is accepted as a doctor. Likewise, a lawyer who can win our case in the court is accepted as a lawyer. Similarly, the aspirant of liberation seeks the knowledge that can make him win over karma. Scriptural knowledge cannot dispel ignorance; experiential knowledge alone can.

Scriptures Alone Are Not Enough

The vast scriptural knowledge acquired by a lifetime of immense efforts seems pale, a falsity in comparison with the pure light of Self-realisation. Unawareness of the nature of the Self is principally ignorance. That which annihilates that ignorance is knowledge. True knowledge is when identification with the body drops, abidance in the Self remains, and sense of I-ness is absent in the feelings arising due to karma. To gain a personal, pure and clear knowledge of the Self and not the knowledge heard, a direct realisation of the Self is necessary. In the field of spirituality, such experiential knowledge alone is counted as knowledge. Reading books on mangoes does not give the taste of mango. Without eating a mango, not only does one not get its taste, but one fails to understand even the nature of the taste. It is the same with the Self. From the scriptures, one can get intellectual conviction but how much ever one may read, listen or discuss, unless one directly realises the Self, experiences the ocean of bliss, all understanding about the Self remains incomplete. Only the one who has tasted the bliss of the Self at least once can correctly understand the Self.

To Reach the Experience

To reach Self-realisation we must rely on the words of the Enlightened Ones. One who has never been to a foreign land can gain information regarding the people, lifestyle, customs and traditions etc. by listening to those who have been there or by reading their travel diaries; in the same way, from the scriptures one can gain the knowledge of insentient and sentient substances of the world, vision acquired by the Enlightened Ones regarding situations and feelings, and their experiences on the path of spiritual practices. In the beginning, the seeker should obtain this knowledge from the scriptures so that such knowledge can become helpful for him to remain in the nature of the Self or to say closer to it.

Senses and Beyond

Mind gathers experiences collected only by the sense organs. All these are from the external world because the senses are capable of knowing only that which is outside. Senses cannot reach within. These subtle waves of sense experiences give birth to thoughts. Therefore, thoughts can become helpful in scientific research but not for tuning towards the supreme truth. The consciousness in one’s inner centre cannot be reached by mere words.

Thoughts cannot unveil the existence of the Self. On the contrary, the smoke of thoughts veils one’s presence. They make the entry into the nature of the Self difficult.

Reflection and Treatment

To sit and reflect on the intellectual concept of truth is like a blind person reflecting upon light. All his reflections will go in vain because light is not a matter for thinking, it is a matter of seeing. Therefore, he needs no deliberation, he needs to get the eyes treated. He needs doctor’s advice and not a philosopher’s counsel.

A thought is ‘reflecting’ and seeing is ‘treatment.’ To attain the truth, treatment is needed. To see light, he needs to treat his eyes. Reflection is the endeavour of thought about light being done by the blind person while spiritual practices are like the treatment being taken by him, and his effort to create worthiness of the eyes for becoming capable of seeing the light.

Experiment to Experience

Your mind generally remains clouded by thoughts of and reactions towards the sense objects. Their turbulent waves create a huge wall that keeps you out of the experience of your own pure nature. Like the sun throws light on the waters of the ocean and creates clouds that become capable of hiding the same sun, man’s consciousness associating with the sense objects creates thoughts and reactions and then gets lost in them. Man is free to shut the doors of reaching his own true existence. But the one who can shackle himself is also capable of breaking free from them. Freedom is always from both sides. The power to create contains within itself the power to destroy. It is very important to bear this truth in mind.

Experiential Knowledge

Until the sown seed in the soil sprouts and get sunlight, it has to undergo deep agony. Man is like the seed in darkness. Until he attains illumination, Self-realisation, he suffers and experiences disquiet. Only when his attention turns towards the nature of the Self, he attains true peace. Only an experiential knowledge is called attainment of Self-realisation and only then the suffering since time immemorial comes to an end and the eternal bliss manifests.

That by which the soul becomes pure, the mind dissolves, the truth is realised is called knowledge by God. What is given in the scriptures is only information and is very superficial. Such information cannot bring about a transformation. It surely increases one’s vocabulary and gives an illusion of transformation. Param Krupalu Dev in Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra has explained clearly that mere intellectual knowledge of the scriptures is a hindrance to one’s spiritual welfare, whilst a worthy seeker following the instructions of one’s Sadguru attains experiential knowledge which eventually liberates him from the cycles of birth and death.

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