Chapter 3: A Sense of Separateness
But this is extremely difficult. This means we will have to wait until all is known. And how is it possible to know about the whole? - it is so vast. In order to know even one small thing in this world, many other things need to be known first. So this means that ignorance becomes eternal.that we will never come to know.
The intellect helps us to know. It can do so because it can break things down and divide them into categories. It says that it is not necessary to know everything at once; one can also come to know something by breaking it down into parts. Science can stand on the strength of intellect. But there is a danger - and this is that the intellect also breaks down whatever is unified. It divides what is by its very nature an integral whole, into many parts. That’s why whatever you learn with the help of the intellect can never be the ultimate knowing. It has to be a half-truth because so many parts remain unknown, so many basic aspects remain undiscovered. That’s why science says that all its knowledge is only temporary, it can never be permanent. That’s why science has to change and update its knowledge every day. Science keeps on changing every day.
Religion asks: what is the value of a knowledge that changes every day? What is the value of temporary knowledge? This means that what was understood to be knowledge yesterday becomes ignorance today - although it was ignorance yesterday too, but we didn’t know that. What is knowledge today becomes ignorance tomorrow. As we come to know more, our knowledge will become ignorance. So then, what is knowledge?
Religion says that until we come to know the whole as the whole, we will remain ignorant. To try to know the whole by dividing it into parts is an illusion. It is useful, but an illusion. Illusions can also be useful. Science is one such illusion, it is very useful. Religion searches for another form of knowledge - real knowledge, knowledge which once known can never again become ignorance because it is eternal.
What do we have to do to attain this eternal knowledge? Just as science divides and breaks down, if we want eternal knowledge we must learn the art of synthesis. This first sutra points towards that very art. It says:
Kill out all sense of separateness.
There should be no duality, no sense of two. Only one should remain. And the day there is no distance remaining between you and existence, when you no longer even feel, “I am the knower and the universe outside is the one to be known,” the day there is no distance between even the knower and the known, when all duality disappears, all barriers fall and you become one with existence - just as a dewdrop falls from the lotus and becomes one with the pond - the day when there is such a meeting between you and existence, only then what is worth knowing becomes known. Only on that day will what is known not be lost again.