knowledge gnosis

Avadhut (the ever free)


      There are many instances in both ancient and modern Advaitic writings that a student of these types of teachings has to become somewhat of a “scholar”, familiarizing himself/herself with all the particular aspects of Advaitic knowledge.  Yet, there are records of self-realized individuals who were completely or nearly illiterate. This mention of Advaitic scholasticism had virtually nothing to do with reading and writing skills, although these are a prime necessity if one has no access to a realized teacher.   The skill of “scholarliness” referred to is “skill in knowledge” – a certain kind of abstract knowledge (or Gnosis) which eventually can be used to transcend the usual limitations of knowledge processed at the level of the body-mind.  The paradox of good Advaitic teaching is just this use of knowledge in order to transcend the limitations of the mind;  this is why Advaita can be such a highly abstract system.  Ultimately it is necessary to accumulate enough of a certain kind of knowledge so that the relative limitations of mental data can be overcome. Ignorance has to be invalidated with knowledge, then knowledge (at the limited level of the body-mind) has to be invalidated also. This is called Moksha (liberation) or enlightenment (bodhi) or self-realization (atmabodhi) and a great number of other descriptive terms, all of which denote the fact that it is possible to recover one’s primordial essential freedom,  Avadhut – “the ever free”.

   Liberation from the ego-notion, self-realization, self-knowledge, Avadhut, and several other descriptive terms and phrases denote a condition of mind in which the truth is to be known.  In several traditional approaches there have been several duties to be performed which have been determined to be helpful qualifications that support and advance the quest for knowledge of the truth. These can be roughly listed as duty, devotion, preliminary study, thoughtful reflection, meditation, dispassion, indifference, virtue, concentration, wisdom, discrimination, yearning, faith, tranquility, and many other terms that indicate stepping-stones to advancement in preparation and achievement of the goal.   Of first importance at a higher level of advancement, after the preliminary preparatory phases have become well established, is the developing ability to discriminate between the real and the unreal, the true from the false.   Within this subject is found also discrimination between the state of pure witnessing consciousness and the functions of mind.   This is important in attaining a capacity to be able to turn away from the activities of desire based on the egoistic motivations.   Patient endurance of suffering, pain, misery, sorrow, and frustration is important and gets easier when we understand the temporary nature of all relative phenomena.  Only those who have become firm in prerequisite qualifications can actually approach getting any meaningful understanding through knowledge. Only knowledge can defeat ignorance.


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