The Self-Knowledge is the supreme most blessing to any and every person as even the self-ignorance, not knowing one’s own Self is the supreme most ignorance. If the person is not aware of himself, then every other role he plays shall become more and more complicated. It is like the drunken driver given the best or the worst cars shall always cause nuisance to himself and others. The driver - who is sane, conscious – shall maximise the usage of any cars, new or old at his disposal.
The Self Knowledge introduces the person to himself. Not many are aware that they are not aware of themselves. That they are ‘ignorant’ about themselves.
The objective knowledge that we pick up from our parents, society, schools and the colleges provide us different roles. But none of that helps us to know who we ‘are’, who I am!
Secular education as well as religious instructions with very good intention, end up giving us various ‘NOTIONS’ about ourselves. Those never talk about self-ignorance but are content with giving us various notions, various roles about ourselves.
As someone wrote nicely: as soon as you are born you are given a name, a religion, a nationality and race. You spend the rest of your life defending a fictional identity. Fictional it is indeed! Who you are is a fact. What all you have is a fiction, a functional fiction at that!
Because long before you are ‘given’ or you ‘receive’, you must be already existing as ‘you are’! A non-existent entity can neither be ‘given’ nor can he receive! The sad part is the person identifies himself with what he is ‘given’ or what he receives, forgetting that the identifications, roles, ideas, given or received do not make me ‘ who I am’ but those come under the classification of all that ‘I Have’!
To take what all I ‘have’ to be who ‘I am’ is the continuation of the original self- ignorance. That there is the self-ignorance, ignorance about one’s own Self is not even recognised by many and most of the secular, religious, and social establishments, who have taken upon themselves teaching growing children.
That is the reason why any individual is not only in conflict with himself but also in conflict with many others around. That the social science will recognise as the intra personal and the interpersonal conflict.
Not many people are aware nor it is taught to recognise that that roles by themselves have no conflict. It is ‘I’, the individuality , that is the source of all conflicts. The ‘I’ identifies with a role and arrogates all its limitations and glory to himself! The solution to the conflict is mentioned as the negation of the roles, suspending the thoughts, silencing the memories, indulging or suffering in the practices of different kinds. The list is endless.
The ‘I’ survives it all as even the ignorance of the subject preceded all the informations, the knowledge or the practices of many kinds. The struggle of the ‘I’, the individuality is either generalised, idealised as human suffering or romanticised as the spiritual struggle to which mankind or every man is helplessly condemned.
In one of the Upanishads, the teaching begins with a lofty question :Kasmin nu Bhagavo vignate sarvam idam vignatam bhavati syat- Oh revered one, (please tell me) by knowing which ‘one’ thing, everything is as well known!
That is the most amazing curiosity of the intelligent mind. There are not many individuals/traditions, secular/religious/educational or practice establishments who can identify with that simple yet profound possibility. Most will pooh, pooh it, disregard it , laugh at it, or simply dismiss it with the wave of a hand, a sarcastic smile, a remark or frown as they themselves have never been privy to such amazing Reality! Most people or establishments have been happy with an identity, an exclusive role or practice, a God or a myth of their own making.
All these are done ‘for’ the individual to hold onto but the individual himself is ‘unknown’ to himself! He has to go on struggling throughout life ‘to defend the fictional identities-always with, yet apparently, far away from The Reality, the Self! He has to defend his identity, his roles faith, a tradition, a God, a practice or an ideal as each of those provide him an identity- common place or exclusive! He feels challenged if anyone of those roles or ideas is challenged. The person lives therefore in a perpetual insecurity depending on ‘a’ thing or ‘any ‘role or practice or an ideal; Nobody can be independent! Holding onto something for security nobody can feel secured! Rather the object, idea, person or practice that provides the security strength or freedom shall become the cause of insecurity, weakness and the bondage!
One such thing or many such things cannot take away the insecurity, the bondage, the unhappiness. That is why while the money may take away the financial insecurity, it cannot take away the insecurity in water for not knowing how to swim. A physical, material object may take away the insecurity caused by the absence of that object. But it cannot take away the emotional insecurity. An ‘emotional’ security cannot take away an ‘intellectual insecurity. Neither any intellectual idealistic or religious security can take away ‘The’ Insecurity, the individuality suffers, afraid to face any challenge to anything-physical, emotional, intellectual or idealistic faith that he holds on to feel secured!
A physical security of ‘a’ kind cannot take away the physical insecurity of other kinds. The same principle can be extended to all emotional, intellectual, idealistic or faith based insecurities. There are a million insecurities and ‘The’ insecurity! There are a million different conflicts, bondage, unhappiness, etc., and ‘THE’ conflict, The Bondage, ‘The unhappiness’. There are a million different ignorances of a million objects. But there is ‘The Ignorance’, about The Knower, who has the ignorance of a million things to be known!
When ‘A’ thing is known or a million things are known, that ignorance goes away. But ‘The’ ignorance of the Knower still continues! When ‘The’ ignorance about ‘the’ knower goes, ‘The’ insecurity, The Bondage, ‘The Unhappiness’ too disappears with it! That is the ultimate answer to the question: knowing what everything is as well known?
The ignorance about the relative words, the ignorance of a million kinds of objects can be taken away by millions of different kinds of teachers introducing us to different kinds of objects. Both such teachers and students shall continue to be ‘Ignorant’ of themselves.
That is where ‘The Guru’ appears who introduces the ‘knower’, the teachers and the students of the relative to themselves, knowing what everyone is as well known! Everything is as well known!