“So-aham – I am That,” or “Aham brahmasmi – I am the brahman,” or “Ana’l-haq”: all these statements seem to be that of a gyani, one who is on the path of knowledge. Last night’s sutra says: “I am That – so-aham – is the salutation.” The second part seems to be that of a bhakta, one who is on the path of devotion, whereas the first part seems to be that of a gyani. This is a rare combination. Please explain why the statements of gyana and bhakti have been put together.
In this reference, please explain the difference between a gyani and a bhakta.
How do gyanis like Rishi Kapil and Shankara differ from bhaktas such as Chaitanya and Meera?
Why have great bhaktas preferred to keep themselves separate from bhagwan, the divine, such as Meera from Lord Krishna?
Does bhakti culminate into gyana or gyana culminate into bhakti?
The ultimate is one, but it can be viewed from many angles. It can be looked at from various points of view. It is one, but when it is expressed the expression can take multi-shapes. It is one, but when one reaches towards it the paths differ. And whatsoever is said from a particular path is just one aspect of the reality. It is not the total reality.
Experience of the total is possible, but expression of the total is not possible. Expression is always partial. You can feel and realize the total, but the moment you express it, it is only a viewpoint, it is never the total.
There are two basic divisions of approach: the path of knowing and the path of love. Man’s mind is divided between these two aspects. These are not divisions of the ultimate reality: these are divisions of the human mind. The mind can look at the truth as a knower or as a lover. That depends not on the ultimate reality but on you. If you look through a lover’s eyes, then your experience will be the same as when you look through the knower’s eyes, but the expression will differ. When you look through love, your expression will be totally different.
Why this difference? Why this total difference? Because love has its own language. Knowledge has its own language, love has its own language. Those languages are quite contradictory. For example, knowledge always strives towards one, and love is impossible if there are not two. Love is possible only when there is a duality. But I must make haste to say that love is a very mysterious experience: it is oneness between two. The two must be there, but just the two being there doesn’t mean that love is there. When the two begin to feel a deep oneness, then love happens.
So love has a double reality: oneness in two. The duality must be there and at the same time oneness should be felt. And the language of love will retain this duality, because the lover and the beloved, these are the two polarities. Between these two polarities oneness has been felt, but that oneness cannot exist without these two polarities.
The lover will say, “I have become one with my beloved. The beloved is in me.” But he cannot speak the language of knowledge, he cannot say that duality has disappeared. He can only say that duality has become illusory: “We are two and yet we are not two.” This paradox, “We are two, yet we are not two,” is love’s language. It is not mathematical; it cannot be. It is the language of feeling.