Gaining the Higher Knowledge

Since the higher knowledge is not an intellectual or mental accomplishment, it cannot be achieved by study, reading, or acquiring of facts and practical skills or capabilities. These things may be part of preliminary steps to prepare the mind and the nature. The Kena Upanishad provides an extensive exposition of the paradox of knowledge: “That which is unexpressed by the word, that by which the word is expressed, know That to be the Brahman and not this which men follow after here. That which thinks not by the mind, that by which the mind is thought, know That to be the Brahman and not this which men follow after here.” (part 1, v. 4-5)

“He by whom It is not thought out, has the thought of It; he by whom It is thought out, knows It not. It is unknown to the discernment of those who discern of It, by those who seek not to discern of It, It is discerned. When It is knwon by perception that reflects It, then one has the thought of It, for one finds immortality; by the self one finds the force to attain and by the knowledge one finds immortality.” (part 2, v. 3-4)

The steps, briefly, are described by Sri Aurobindo as:
First, “…initiation into it from the men of knowledge who have seen, not those who know merely by the intellect, its essential truths…”

Thereafter, one must realise the truth within oneself…”the man who is perfected by Yoga, finds it of himself in the self by the course of Time”…”it grows within him…and he grows into it as he goes on increasing in desirelessness, in equality, in devotion to the Divine.”

As opposed to the acquisition of intellectual knowledge through considerable detailed effort and practice, …”we must have conquered and controlled our mind and senses,…, so that we are no longer subject to their delusions, but rather the mind and senses become its pure mirror; we must have fixed our whole conscious being on the truth of that supreme reality in which all exists….so that it may display in us its luminous self-existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 20, Equality and Knowledge, pg. 195


Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, pp. 101-104, Kena Upanishad, pp. 101-104