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Chapter 4: The Unknowable Self

This is the second way of knowing. The scientific way is to know a thing as an object. The religious way is to know the subject as the subject. In a scientific way, knowledge has three parts: the knower, the known and the knowledge. The knowledge is just a bridge between the knower and the known. But the religious knowing does not have three parts. The knower is the known and the knower is the knowledge. This knowing is not divided into three. It is one, it is undivided.

Now we will enter the sutra:

The eyes cannot approach it, neither can speech nor mind. We do not, therefore, know it, nor do we know how to teach it. It is different from what is known and it is different from what is unknown. Thus we have heard from our predecessors who instructed us about it.

The eyes cannot approach it, neither can speech nor mind. The eyes can approach everything else because everything else is in front of the eyes and the self is not in the front. The self is behind the eyes, only the self is behind the eyes. Everything else is in front. You can encounter everything through the eyes, but you cannot encounter the self because it is not in front; that is one thing. So eyes cannot be used to see it. Really, you will have to become blind to see it. Not actually, but the eyes must become so vacant, nonseeing, so closed, not functioning, only then will you know it. Eyes cannot approach it. You will have to come to it without eyes. You will have to come to it just like a blind man.

So really, a blind man and a man with eyes are not different as far as the self is concerned. As far as the world is concerned the blind man is at a great loss; he cannot know anything. But as far as the self is concerned he is not at any loss - not at all. And if he is a wise man, his blindness may be a help to him.

That is why we in India have called blind men pragya chakshu - wise eyes. It is not that every blind man is wise, but potentially he is nearer to the self than those who have eyes because those who have eyes have wandered faraway through the eyes into the world. They have gone very very faraway. You can move on through the eyes to the very end of the world. And science goes on creating more powerful eyes for you so that you can see minute parts, atomic phenomena, and so that you can see to distant stars.

Science goes on removing you from the self. So the more an age becomes scientific, the less it comes to religious knowledge. Now you have more powerful instruments with which to go away, and you have gone - faraway from your self.

Senses have become powerful. Really, science is doing nothing but creating more powerful senses for man: your hand can now reach to the moon; your eyes can now reach to distant stars. Every sense has been magnified, and this goes on.

A blind man is closed in himself; he cannot go out. But he can go in, if he is not disturbed by the fact that he is blind and if he is helped by the society to know that this is not a misfortune but a blessing in disguise.

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