Knowing is something very mysterious. How do we “know” a knowledge? Why do we know? When do we know Knowledge? How a person gets to “know” the “knowledge” and become “knower” is quite explainable. Why only Newton could discover gravity and Einstein could discover Relativity when it existed right from the day when the universe was created.
How can you explain Einstein grasping the theory of relativity which could be proven only after decades by experiments? How does one explain the creation of a beautiful song that touches the heart of millions? How does one explain the emergence of a leaders that captures the imagination of millions.
Often people consider knowledge as something that has its independent identity. Knowledge is believed to be something that can be expressed in words. The expressed knowledge is also called “explicit knowledge”. There are other forms of knowledge that only resides in the mind of the person and can not be expressed in words. This knowledge is called “implicit knowledge” or “tacit knowledge”.
The tacit knowledge is difficult to express in words, therefore, it is often called “knowing” as only the person who has this knowledge is the “knower” of this knowledge. An example of tacit knowledge is “to know how to walk”. Every person and indeed every specie knows how to walk. Yet this knowledge is difficult to be expressed in words. If you ask a person how he walks, he would simply reply that he desires to walk then all the limbs of the body work together to produce the action of walking automatically. Same is true with the action of speaking, sleeping or eating. We don’t even know, how we pronounce a word?
Tacit knowledge can be learned as well as inborn. You don’t have to teach a child to walk, or a fish to swim. It simply knows it. However, other such tacit knowledge comes from experience like motor driving, speaking, thinking, wringing, and typing.
Yet if asked, man can attempt to explain, what he “knows” in words and make the “implicit” knowledge “explicit”. Only when the implicit knowledge gets converted to words, it becomes explicit and only this form of knowledge is understood as “knowledge” while the tacit knowledge is called “knowing”. Tacit knowledge is the act of “knowing” something hence the person who knows it is the “knower” of the knowledge.
Information is not knowledge
Einstein said, “Information is not knowledge”. Mere writing or remembering some words or sentences can not be called knowledge. It must carry a meaning and must make sense to others. How certain piece of information does make sense while other pieces of information do not? The difference lies in the understanding the knowledge.
Margaret Fuller has wisely said, “If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.” Hence only if the concept in the mind of the knower can be transferred to other people so that they become the knower of the concept themselves, can this concept be called knowledge.
Therefore, every abstract concept can not be said to be knowledge. The real test of knowledge is that it must be transferable and understandable to other people. In the words of Frank Herbert, “The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.”
In reality, no knowledge can be understood by all as only a person who has in his self the attributes of knowledge can know it. Even the greatest scriptures are useless to a person who is purely materialistic. Socrates has explained this truth in following words,
“You can’t teach a person a thing. You can only help him discover within himself.”
The Mystery of Understanding
How do the knowledge get transferred from one person to other is a great mystery. We all are capable of understanding knowledge as we learn so many things in our life from other people or books. Yet the entire process of transfer of knowledge is so mysterious though so obvious that it baffled even Einstein when he said,
“We can understand almost anything, but we can’t understand how we understand”
We do not know if it is the words that have the knowledge, though we know that most knowledge is transferred through words. Yet knowledge is not contained in words. If it is in the spoken words then how dumb and deaf people communicate? If is in written words, the how an illiterate person like Kabir became so a Sufi poet and one of the greatest philosopher, India even had. If it is it by observation, then how a blind person like Surdas became a poet and a saint?. If is inborn, how Einstein and Newton’s parents were so ordinary.
Be the Knowledge
The mystery of understanding is difficult to be understood logically yet easiest to be understood intuitively. This is clear from the following story, which was a favourite story of Gandhi.
One mother was extremely worried about her son who was in the habit of eating lot of sweets. All her persuasions failed to yield any result. She then learned that in a remote village, a great saint, with great magical powers, was camping. She went to meet the saint along with the boy. There was a big rush and she had to wait for many hours before her turn came. When she explained the problem of the child to the saint, the saint asked her to come again after a week.
The poor old lady went to meet the saint again after a week. This time again, when her turn came, the saint did not do anything but asked her to come again after a week.
The old woman visited the saint in the following week. The saint looked at the boy and said “Please don’t eat sweets. It is bad for your health”. The old women felt quite disappointed with such a small advice and asked the saint, “You could have given this advice two weeks back. Why did you ask me to wait for two weeks?”
The saint explained to the lady “When you came two weeks back, I was myself quite fond of sweets. After you left, I gave up sweets, yet even after a week my temptation for sweet persisted. In the last week, I could finally overcome the temptation of sweets too. Thus now I can ask the child to stop eating sweets”.
This small story contains the truth of knowledge. It explains that knowledge is same as knower. One can remember a lot of things or have unlimited information which can be produced verbatim. Yet even with all the knowledge of the world, a man is no better than a computer or a library where millions of books are stored. He can never acquire the knowledge unless he decides to be that knowledge. It is far this reason that even the most powerful computer of the world is infinitely less knowledgeable than the dumbest man. In the story, the saint was able to effectively communicate the knowledge of the harmful effect of the sweets to the child because he himself became that knowledge.
Knowledge is Same as Knower
The paradox between the knowledge and the knower can be easily resolved by studying the lives of the people who created the knowledge. The knowledge of Buddha was same as Buddha the person and the knowledge of Christ is same as Christ the person. It has never happened in the history of the mankind that any non-spiritual person would have ever created a spiritual knowledge or a criminal would have written a scripture. It was not a mere accident that Einstein always dwelled in the “other world” and cared little about the worldly pursuits. He, therefore, created the knowledge beyond the realm of senses because he himself was other worldly. Hitler could have only created “Mein Kempf”, which is nothing but Hitler in words.
Thus if one wants to create a knowledge he has to be that knowledge. The same hold goods for understanding the knowledge. Gandhi once said,
“I have nothing new to teach to this world. My principles of Nonviolence are as old as stones.”
All knowledge in the world was always available in this world yet only those who have developed their “being” (self) same as the knowledge can understand the knowledge. It is therefore no surprise that in the western countries, people find it extremely difficult to understand the knowledge of Bible as their Self are different than the Self of Christ. In fact Gandhi was more Christian than most Christian as his self was similar to Christ. All spiritual people automatically know each verse of Bible or Gita even without any reading. They only validate their knowledge or rediscover it through the scriptures when they read it. The modern generation of the west can never understand their religion if their beings are totally different than the knowledge of the scripture which again was same as the knowledge of the knower. Hence unless you become like Christ you can never understand Christ.
Thus if a person has his self as Christ, he knows everything that is written in New Testament even without reading a word of it. It is for this reason that all scriptures have common knowledge though they were written in different part of the world at different point of time because the knower of all scriptures had similar self.
So if you want knowledge you have to become that knowledge. If you want to be a good Christian don’t read Bible just become like Christ. Knowledge will come automatically. Same is true for every religion.
The Trinity of Knowledge
It has been explained above that knowledge is same as knower. Yet it remains to be explained as to how, a person knows. Why Einstein only could discover theory for relativity or why only Newton could discover gravity. These pieces of information were available in this world since the formation of the universe itself. In a way, they have not discovered anything new. Their greatness lies in the fact that changed their self so that they could understand the knowledge. Their role then was only to convert the implicit knowledge into explicit or material knowledge of words so that others too can explore these truths from their (implicit) knowledge that is hidden in their own self.
Bible explains that even though God is one, yet He has three distinct manifestations. God as Father is God who is unknown to the senses and mind, God the Son, who is the manifestation of God in the form of human being who is known to the mankind and God the Holy Spirit that is eternal and omnipresent in all the beings. Yet the three are not different but One.
The same concept is found in Hinduism where God of Upanishads is Brahma or Absolute who is beyond the conception of mind and senses similar to the God the Father. God is also manifested in His different incarnations in this world in the human form like Rama and Krishna which is similar to God the Son. God is also the Paramatma (Universal Soul) or Spirit which is present in all beings.
Everything in this universe being the manifestation of God is, therefore, have all the three manifestations. Man is a body, a spirit and also divinity. The words of the knowledge are the material manifestation of the knowledge that can seen and realized by senses. Yet knowledge is also like God the Father or God the Unknown which created this piece of knowledge from the mind of the human mind and the man “knows” it. The third manifestation of knowledge is like God the Holy Spirit, which is invisible form of knowledge that gets transferred to the mind of the knower through the words in a very mysterious manner. Bible says that Son is same as Father. Thus all the knowers of the knowledge are same. Accordingly, the knowledge gets transferred from the mind of the knower to another person (knower) whose self has become the same as knowledge.
Knowledge like all creations of this universe has three manifestations viz. knowledge the word, knowledge the knower and knowledge the known. Knowledge is known only when the self of the knower become same as knowledge. Hence every seeker of knowledge has to transform himself similar to the creator of the knowledge i.e. like God the Father (knower) to know the knowledge. The remembered knowledge is nothing more than information which the knower can never know. The mystery of knowledge is reveled only when the receiver of the knowledge become same as the knower. All tools of acquisitions of knowledge like reading the scriptures, or learning from the masters are merely means to trigger the transformation of the personality of the knower. It is futile to seek knowledge unless you become like the “knower” who created the knowledge.