The eternal consciousness,
which is beyond creation and destruction,
is called knowing.
The consciousness which fills and pervades
the whole universe –
like clay in things made of clay,
like gold in things made of gold,
and like yarn in things made of yarn
– is called the infinite.
The joyful consciousness,
the oceanic bliss without limit,
that which is the essential nature of all joy,
The sage has called the ultimate existence, the brahman, the absolute, the imperishable one – knowledge, knowing. But it has nothing to do with what we call knowledge. If we can rightly understand what we call knowledge, then it will be easy to understand what the sage calls knowledge.
The first thing is: that our knowledge is always about some object of knowing; just knowing, pure knowing never happens to us. We always attain to knowledge about some object; just the knowing, the pure phenomenon of knowing never happens to us. We know a tree, a man, a stone in the street, the sun in the sky; whenever we know, we know something as an object. Pure knowing is never experienced.
The sages call the knowing of objects impure knowledge, because in it the emphasis is on the object, not on the knowing itself. When we look at the sun in the sky, the sun becomes our focus, not the phenomenon of perception, of knowing.
If we were deprived of all objects our knowledge would disappear at once because it has no existence without these objects. It means that this knowledge does not depend on us, it depends on the objects. If all the objects were removed and there was only a void around us our knowledge would disappear. We have not known knowledge rooted in itself; our knowledge is rooted in objects. This is a very simple conclusion: with the removal of all objects, our knowledge will also vanish. This is amazing – it means that this knowledge does not depend on us, it depends on the objects we experience. This is the state of our knowledge.
The sage does not mean this kind of knowing when he says, “Brahman is knowing,” because knowledge which depends on others the sages call ignorance. If you haven’t the freedom to be the master of your own knowledge, then where else can you have freedom and mastery?
This knowledge of ours is related to all our other experiences. All our experiences are like this knowledge. Can you remain in the state of love when there is no one to be loved? Can you still love in the absence of your beloved? You may think you can, but it is possible only when you at least bring your beloved into your imagination, otherwise not. This imagination of the object will help, but you cannot be loving on your own, so how can this love be your intrinsic nature? This love is dependent on others.
That is why lovers become the worst slaves on earth – although love should bring the mastery of one’s self, love should be your ultimate freedom because it is the greatest treasure. But we do not know this treasure. What we call love is always dependent on others. It becomes such a dependence that it becomes slavery.
Love is freedom, so our love, and the love talked about by Jesus or Buddha as freedom, are quite different things.