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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Knowledge and Wisdom


Earlier I wrote about replacing the old idea of pancabhuta of Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space with the  modern idea of Space, Time, Matter, Energy and Information. In a recent post, I suggested that Space, Time, and Information or awareness are continuous, but that matter is not. Matter creates discreteness and energy jumps between states of matter without diminishing.

Now I add the following thought. In trying to understand the individual or particular discrete “me” (or any other thing for that matter) in relation to the whole (the Universal), I think that the self or jivan or atman is trying to do so through energy exchange and information sharing. This is a new way of saying that prana (energy) and chitta (awareness) are the continuous, uninterrupted connections through which the discrete person with a body connects with the whole, the Brahman.

Knowledge of external things such as energy, particles and information is called apara vidya. It is knowing about the parts or units as they occur naturally  or a whole divided by human mind for the sake of understanding. It is limited knowledge since it does not fully account for the whole of which this is part. This can be learnt and reasoned out.

True knowledge is that of the whole in reference to which the parts are known. Knowledge of the  whole is called paravidya. As emphasized by the Upanishads, this cannot be learnt or reasoned out. It has to be experienced or intuited. That is wisdom.

As William Cowper said: “Knowledge is proud it knows so much;  Wisdom is humble it knows so little”                                                              

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