Chapter 17: Such Is This Mystery
Understand it like this: we can see everything through our eyes except our eyes themselves. And if you are seeing them in a mirror you are not seeing your eyes, you are seeing only the reflection of your eyes. The reflection is something else. The eyes see everything, but why can’t they see themselves? What is the problem? In order to see a thing a distance is needed, a gap is needed to see something; it is necessary that they are facing each other in some way. Now how can your eye face itself? It is not possible. That is why the eye can see everything except itself.
Knowledge too can know everything in this world except for the brahman, the ultimate reality - that which is hidden within us, that which we are. Knowledge is the eye of that brahman within us and all else can be perceived through it. The collection of all that perception is called veda, knowledge. What the brahman knows is called veda, knowledge, and that through which the brahman can be known is called vedanta, the state beyond knowledge.
Now, how to know the brahman, the ultimate reality? Who is it who will know it? In fact the very language of knowing has to be abandoned because knowing always implies the other. How is it possible to know oneself? How can you know what you yourself are? - and who will know it? From what dimension, in which way will you come to know it? That is why whatever we come to know about ourselves will become something other than ourselves - just in the very knowing of it. In fact one’s own self is beyond the reach of one’s knowing.
There is only one way and that is to take all our knowledge off like clothes and to put it aside, to become naked, as it were, without clothes. In the same way, when you can become naked of all knowledge then the revelation that happens is not knowledge, it is an inner revelation. The thrill of ecstasy that spreads within, the recognition that happens without any formal knowing, is called vedanta, the state which is beyond knowledge. A mind that discards all knowledge enters that state.
Man is very clever, he has created scriptures even around vedanta - that state which is beyond knowledge. He has created knowledge even out of the state which is beyond knowledge. Pundits go on propagating that vedanta is not the end of the scriptures called the Vedas, the knowledge, but the very essence of these scriptures. They go on insisting that vedanta is a physical part of these scriptures. This is an absolute lie, it is absolutely wrong.
The whole effort of the sages has been to somehow free you from words, dogmas, knowledge so that you can become settled in that ultimate realm which is not available through knowledge but only through being. Knowledge is a barrier to being, because knowledge is nothing but an extension, an expanding outside of oneself. Being is to sink within oneself, to settle within one’s own self, to come to the original center.
So vedanta means the state when you are ready to renounce all your knowledge, just as Gautam Buddha is ready to renounce all his wealth. Your knowledge too is a kind of wealth, it is an accumulation of an inner wealth.