Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.advaitapublications.com
25th January 2009
“Timeless and thoughtless kingdom”
To be wise is every man’s dream. Every man and woman loves to be wise and be known as the wise one during his lifetime and after it too. There have been intelligent men and women in history and in every generation, including the present. They are usually those who have scripted religious texts, texts depicting mythology, the philosophers, the geniuses, the inventors, Nobel laureates, professors and the knowledgeable elite. Such men are adored and man longs to follow in their footsteps or become just as they were and are. Intelligent men or women are commonly known and considered as the wise.
So, wisdom refers to the known or the depth of it. Every parent wishes his or her child to be wise in the world. Hence, every child is groomed and disciplined with an iron fist or lovingly to accumulate knowledge. The compulsions imposed by the parents are well-intended and therefore have been handed down from each generation to the next. The quest is always for stardom and nothing less, and to be wise is the brightest star.
Knowledge has been dispensed ever since it became documented. Schools, colleges and places of higher learning have mushroomed around the globe. Universities have sprouted and many are acclaimed as being second to none. It is the aspiration of every student as the places to be found in to gain knowledge. But when did knowledge come into existence and what is its nature? Is man certain? No, he is not.
Did man manifest knowledge? It appears as if he has developed knowledge and spreads it too. But he is not certain whether he has manifested knowledge, let alone wisdom. Every man only believes that he has developed knowledge and this belief strengthens the conviction that he should and could become wise. This is the reason why he hungers for knowledge and believes the more of it the better. Man is convinced that knowledge paves the way for a comfortable and happy life and in achieving it he thinks he has been wise.
But is man happy? Are the knowledgeable elite happy? This calls honesty to the fore. If knowledge were wisdom, then one would and should be happy and blissful. But man is still in search of bliss or permanent happiness. It is paradoxical that knowledge keeps man ignorant of the real nature of life and mind; yet he hungers for more. This puts an important question into contention - could knowledge be wisdom?
Every man comes into this world and believes knowledge is the most important thing to possess in life. If he does not gain enough or has little of it, he wishes his children should not be deprived. This cycle of being fortunate to possess knowledge or being deprived of it does not end nor is man sure when it began. The common finding is that man is not happy whether he is endowed with knowledge or not. Happiness does not seem to depend on knowledge. More of it or the lack of it has no relationship to happiness or bliss.
Man is not certain, in this conundrum of beliefs, when or where anyone could become wise. Every man hopes and prays to be the one chosen to be wise, and if so, who determines this choice? It cannot be man, for, if it were, every man would become wise, because who would not like to be? But, before that, man needs to understand whether wisdom and knowledge are synonymous. Wisdom and knowledge are definitely not and cannot be. Man has gathered enough knowledge to become blissful, and he has not, and that is proof enough that knowledge is not wisdom.
The question when knowledge began cannot be determined as life is beginningless and endless. Life is beginningless and endless because no man can define absolutely what time is or what time it is at any given moment. Life is taken for granted, which also includes time. Man needs to understand that he lives in a relative world for the mind is relative and, if so, even time needs to be relative and not absolute. The wise have proclaimed the world is illusory and this means that knowledge and time need to be illusory.
If life is timeless, and it is, then time that is measured, no matter how accurately, needs to be illusory and not real. Even ‘accurate’ would be illusory if the world were illusory. Given that life is timeless, meaning that time is absent in life, all that would be present in life would be just the moment in which life happens. Words such as ‘previous’ and ‘next’ would be meaningless, as time would be needed to determine what was ‘previous’ and what would be ‘next’, or even what is happening in the ‘now’. It is impossible to determine what is in the moment, not even momentarily.
The significance that life is timeless would mean that man and mind, which would include knowledge, would be illusory too. Knowledge includes every subject known, religion and spirituality, knowledge about everyday issues, events, situations, emotions and feelings. If such were the case, then wisdom could not be knowledge for, if it were, and man believes it is, then wisdom too would be illusory.
So, it is not important to determine what wisdom is or when knowledge began. On the other hand, if it were determined with absolute understanding what knowledge is, then wisdom would become as apparent as day and night.
If a moment is all there is in life, what can possibly happen in a moment where time does not exist? Besides, man is able to hear, think, speak, write and do. How could all this possibly happen in a moment that could never be known, not even momentarily? Man needs to understand that space can be visualised and measured. The space that is visualised and measured is relative and never absolute. Man needs to understand that time can only be measured, but cannot be seen. Time that is measured and visualised on a watch or atomic clock is relative and never absolute. Space and time too are relative to the movement of another or to what is next to man in space and time. No man can claim his time and space is absolute; it is and can only be relative.
Man needs to understand how the moment in which he is alive gets manifested. Is it he who manifests the moment in which he is alive or does he find himself alive in the moment which is? The moment happens and man finds himself in it. This can only mean that man and the world too happen. It is not man who manifests the moment: it is life and the moment is life. Life or God is synonymous.
Life is energy and science provides proof that it is so. Such is the intelligence of life to disclose its nature through and as science. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only transform into another form. Therefore, life is energy that spontaneously transforms, continuously, uncontrollably, unpredictably and precisely every moment, which is the same moment eternally.
Energy is light and the innate nature of light is to reflect. This can only mean that life reflects an optical and auditory illusion of light and sound, for reflection is illusory and a look in the mirror would be an enlightening reminder. The optical illusions appear as form, shape, colour and movement. The auditory illusions appear as words with meanings that suggest actions, situations, feelings and knowledge. This gives rise to a conviction to illusory man that he is a thinker, speaker and a doer, who is capable of becoming wise. Now, can man who is illusory become wise? If he could, would not wisdom be illusory too? Yes, it certainly would. The understanding that man is illusory reveals wisdom.
Man needs to understand that he is part and parcel of this energy, which reflects as nature. He needs to understand that he is nature and not an individual separate from it. He cannot be separate from energy as he is energy too. He does not decide on how many species of vegetation should flourish or perish; he has no control over the number of flowers or fruit a tree should bear; he does not decide nor control the number of offspring an animal should have. Nature displays tremendous variety in its reflection, which needs to be understood.
Similarly, how much or how little man achieves is variable and not under his control; how much or little he knows is not within his control; how much breath a man breathes is not under his control. It is not man who controls his birth for he cannot control the movement of his sperm or give directions to its movement to meet up with ovum. Similarly, women cannot decide or control the movement of the ovum or eventual fertilisation.
Man will come to know what he is meant to know; he will come to do what is meant to happen; he will think what he is meant to think. He will speak what he is meant to speak; he will come to have what he is meant to have - all illusory though, just an optical and auditory illusion of light and sound.
Man is a sophisticated form of consciousness, five elements, vegetation and animal kingdom. Basically, he is a miniature cosmos. Every form, animate or inanimate, that has preceded him appears in a sophisticated form as man. Therefore, man is an amalgam of sophisticated energy. Knowledge imparts the conviction that he is an individual separate from nature. Wisdom is the realisation that this conviction is illusory because the world is illusory, as proclaimed by the enlightened beings.
Life is a process of sophistication. This process is without cause or effect and cannot be otherwise because time is absent in life. Every moment is sophisticated, it was and it will always be eternally. The process of sophistication is a flow, which means that life is a precise flow. The optical and auditory illusion, which life reflects, is, was and will be precise eternally.
The moment is light and sound; the moment is unknowable because it is timeless and thoughtless. What is known will always be illusory and not absolute. Everything that happens in the moment needs to be illusory and precise because neither thought nor time exists in the moment. The precision of life is, therefore, unknowable. Life is the moment - therefore life is unknowable; love is the moment - therefore love is unknowable; God is the moment - therefore God is unknowable. Reality is the moment and the illusory too. Reality cannot be known, but the illusory can and is known. The realisation that life is a wonderful show of light and sound is wisdom.
A man who knows a lot is not a wise man, as it is believed. The wise one is he or she who knows that every form of the known - time, spirituality, religion, academia or daily life - is illusory. The knowledgeable man believes that he is the thinker, speaker and the doer who has gained knowledge. A wise one realises that thinking, speaking and doing happen to man and knowledge too, because he understands that life is a singular, spontaneous, uncontrollable, unpredictable and precise movement of light and sound that reflects an optical and auditory illusion, appearing as the world and the relative knowledge of it.
A wise man is he or she who realises that man cannot see thought, word, action, space or time. A wise man is he or she who realises that seeing happens when labels are absent. The man who lives in the moment and admires the optical and auditory illusion reflected by the moment is the wise one.
© Copyright 2009 V. S. Shankar