Join on Facbook

TWO TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE: PARAVIDYA AND APARAVIDYA

By
Swami Paramatmananda Saraswati

Human being is basically a cognitive person. We are blessed with a unique cognitive faculty called intellect and one needs to live intelligently. Living intelligently means to learn both the disciplines of knowledge…                                                                                                                                                                                  

There are two types of knowledge one needs to acquire :

  1. Wisdom of earning
  2. Wisdom of living

An educational system is incomplete without imparting the wisdom of earning.

Modern society has changed substantially. It has become quite complex.

Technology has converted the world into global village.  The advanced technology has penetrated into our daily life in many ways. The advancement of technology is not limited to a given segment of human society, it has penetrated every segment. Social networking has connected people a lot. Internet has made live chats possible. Development in the aviation field has shortened the distances. We have more agriculture produce. Also, in the field of education online courses are available. School-less schools and college-less colleges are available. Educational games, distance learning, web seminars, etc. are available. We have better facilities / luxuries and  life has become more comfortable.  At the same time personal needs and thereby cost of living has increased. To fulfil these needs, one need to earn. One needs education to enable himself / herself to gain employment. Formally agriculture was the only source for earning livelihood. Technology has opened many doors for earning. It necessitates skill development or specialization in given field. Modern education system helps one to earn in order to keep the pace with evolving lifestyle and steep inflation. Modern systems are evolving in such a way that knowledge is power. In the modern economic system, knowledge is the most valuable commodity for a person as well as the country to earn sufficiently and flourish.

Thus, in modern times, to survive one needs money, and thereby one needs “Wisdom of Earning”. This is one aspect of “Aparavidya”.

Many modern educational systems have proved successful in providing excellent wisdom of earning. The earning has increased the per capita income manyfolds. The standard of living has also increased.

In every era there were educated and uneducated people but there were good and bad people also. Modern educational system empowers one to earn and thereby be a rich person but it doesn’t make one a good person. Thus modern educational systems has opened people’s eyes but it seems that it has closed people’s minds. To be a good person, one needs to learn wisdom of living.

Any given pursuit is called “Purushartha” in Sanskrit. All our pursuits, the goals for which we struggle for, can be divided into four categories :

  1. Dharma
  2. Artha
  3. Kama
  4. Moksha

It can be subdivided into two sets :

Artha and Kama – pursuit for security and pleasure are common to all other living beings. It is a natural pursuit. The other two, namely, Dharma and

Moksha are unique to human being.

However, there is some difference between us and other creatures – animals and birds in the pursuit of Artha and Kama. Artha-Kama pursuits in animals and birds are governed by built-in instinctual program and it is contained. Human pursuit for Artha-Kama is quite complex. It is driven by one’s personal values and certain desires. It is based on one’s likes and dislikes which are fluctuating also. Human being is not programmed to follow only a set of values. Moreoever, often these pursuits appear to be endless.

Since we are not instinctual, we do exercise choice. Ever changing values keeps us ever struggling. Therefore our struggle is not determined and limited by any set pattern. So it becomes necessary for human society to have a set of standards which is independent of one’s likes and dislikes or having subjective values. These standards, guiding our choice of actions are called ethics. Our pursuits for Artha-Kama must be in alignment with these ethics. These ethics are recognized and concurred in religion. Religious ethical doctrine is called “Dharma”. However, it is not necessary, that in order to be ethical, one has to be religious. Ethics are based on common sense. Irreligious person can be totally ethical by common sense standards.

To be human, one must be ethical. When one follows Dharma, he is fully human. To know Dharma, is another aspect of “Aparavidya”.

“AparaVidya”

Human being is a self conscious, self-judging person. Each one has a subjective judgement about oneself. There is something common in all our judgements. i.e. “As now I am, I am incomplete, I am lacking,  I am insufficient, inadequate, etc. and thereby most unhappy.” There is a natural urge to discover fullness – to be happy. This urge arises from the conclusion that I am incomplete – unhappy. In fact, all our struggles are nothing but the expression of the urge to be complete – to be happy.  We try to achieve completeness through changing the situations and ourselves. In fact all our attempts to change the situation is nothing but an attempt to change ourselves. We look forward to having  a situation in which I feel at home with myself. However, whatever the circumstantial changes may be, we don’t feel at home. We always feel that something further is needed. In the changed circumstances  feel incomplete therefore want to add few things so that I may feel better.  This addition leads to need for further addition. Thus human life becomes a process of constant change. Constantly working for change to be at home with myself to feel complete, to feel adequate. The change that we really want to be at home never happens. Life is compulsive pursuits, change seeking pursuits centered on oneself alone. Most of the changes that we want are not for the sake of the change but for ourselves.Changes are pursued with a hope to become non-deficient, non-demanding, complete “I”.

However, all the changes are relative. Anything gained out of the changes is not absolute. Moreover, every gain involves some loss. There is always alternative possibility which is sacrificed.

If we analyse our own life experiences, we will discover that except for fleeting moments of completeness / happiness, we were never at home with ourselves. Change – acquisitions did bring about release from sense of incompleteness, but it was temporary. Permanent end to the sense of incompleteness / unhappiness was never discovered through change. This made life struggleful. There were commas and semicolons but no fullstop to the pursuit.

When we examine our search for adequacy / fullness, it becomes clear that it is not an object related to me. I feel I am inadequate. Inadequacy is centered on me. Therefore I do not seek adequacy other than myself. I seek adequacy as myself.

One cannot be free from inadequacy at a given place, at a given time, at a given condition or somewhere else later. The change of place, situation, time will always be limited. Adequacy cannot take place through the process of becoming.

Thus, when person analyses his/her experiences, one finds that behind the pursuit of security (Artha) and pleasure (Kama), there is a basic desire to be free from inadequate / insufficient SELF. This realization brings certain dispassion towards security and pleasure. Such a person is a matured person. He is ready to seek Moksha, pursue “ParaVidya” directly.

Whenever we experience some pleasure or joy, we find ourselves as adequate person for a while. For whatever reason, a joke, amusement or gaining desired object – whenever we have moments of joy – however momentary, we discover ourselves as happy – non-wanting person. Everyone of us have these moments. Every one of us have experience of non-wanting person.

Moksha is already achieved goal. Total happiness or adequacy is my nature. The body of knowledge which reveals this is called “ParaVidya”

When one analyses one’s pursuits in this manner, one develops dispassion towards any change / any gain. This realization, this dispassion, forms the basis for one to discover the real solution. The solution to this fundamental problem is not in change / gain.  No matter any amount of desirable changes I make, no matter, any amount of undesirable changes I avoid, I always remained insufficient – unhappy. This discovery that gain or changes do not make me complete is called maturity. One is ready to take off to “ParaVidya”.

Online Registration
online
FEATURE ARTICLE
Photo Gallery
Tari-Sekar-Jagat.ok_ besakih-4 D.-Veerendra-Heggade-Djarmadhikari HH.-Swami-Paramatmananda-Saraswati Swami-Buddh-Puri Swami-Gyantej dsc_0092 P_20150407_152131.jpg
Link