Friday, May 27, 2016

Spiritual knowledge, what is that?

Q: So you have a guru, what does it mean?

A: A guru is a teacher who gives spiritual knowledge.

Q: "Spiritual knowledge", what is that supposed to mean?

A: Let me put it this way. Have you ever truly felt compassion for someone? Or truly felt gratitude? Or been awestruck by the beauty of nature? When you feel these things, you have a basic awareness of the sanctity of life. But this awareness can grow into something much greater, like a tree grows from a seed. The sense of sanctity can come from the background into the foreground. It can enter your life like a rising sun. It will cause you to re-evaluate your old habits, and put your current sense of knowledge into perspective. You can't know these things before a guru crosses your path, but he will do so when you are ready.


  1. Im my work as a scientist it is very import to varify your discoveries with suitabe evidence. If your master cannot varify his knowledge to the observer with proper evidence, why should you accept his teaching to be true?
    prof. Hanz Baumann

  2. Thank you for your question, professor Baumann! It is a most relevant question, and it points to the limitations of our language. What is called "spiritual knowledge" has nothing to do with facts in the common sense. Facts are necessary for dealing with the world, but ultimately life is not about facts. Mere knowledge of facts will only bring disappointment on the deathbed. Your affection for a family member is not a dry fact. Perhaps it is to an observer, but not to you. To you the affection has a quality which is very different from a mere statement of fact. You see something in that person, which a cold-hearted person might not see. This could be called "seeing through the heart" rather than "knowing by evidence". There is no question of demanding evidence before developing love for a family member.

    We can extrapolate from this example and make guesses about how saints view the world. They see this "something" not only in family members, but in all people, in all living beings, in rivers, mountains, in anything and especially in deities and holy scriptures. Seeing it everywhere requires faith, but faith is gained by seeing it. Therefore it is a gradual process, a process of gaining trust. The saint encourages us along every step, just as a parent encourages a baby to learn to walk. The baby learns to trust its legs, one bit further every time.

    The sense of sanctity of life requires no evidence, since it is not second-hand knowledge. It is first-hand knowledge, just like seeing the sunlight with your own eyes. A sane person who sees the sunlight does not doubt it. However, to a person who is born blind, sunlight is second-hand knowledge, which cannot be proven or disproven based on previous experience, and therefore remains a myth.

    Luckily we are in a better situation than the born-blind persons, for two reasons. We are not completely blind, therefore we all have previous experience of sanctity to relate to. Also, our blindness is curable. Our blindness is something like a doubt that there is any other light than that from the lamps in our house. We do not believe that light is light, we think that only *our* light is light. We doubt in light which is not our own. Because of this, we are unable to see the sunlight even though it is shining. The function of the guru is to open our eyes, our eyes of faith, our faith that the apparent sanctity of everything is actually real.

  3. Dear professor,

    As a scientist you have two ways of verifying something: logically (the intellectual way – it can be explained) and empirically (direct experience – you perform an experiment and get the same result every time, and so does everyone else who tries). A true spiritual master has realized what he teaches. He does not verify his teaching with evidence or logics, he gives you instructions how to realize the same thing. Spiritual knowledge is a question of consciousness.
    There are the instructions to clear the way for this knowledge: don't do that, don't do that. And there are those to realize it: do that, do that. The most powerful is service to the spiritual master. The thing at work here is connection and reciprocation. When you serve him, what he has realized will flow back to you as consciousness – realized knowledge, direct experience.

    Whether the teaching and the spiritual master are true will be seen by the results. If it's true, then now begins something beautiful.
    Something else that begins at the same time is a thorough purification. It’s not exactly beautiful, but fun.

    Give it a try professor!

  4. Satyavrata Muni Das. it seems you mix up science and sentiments. But how would we progress towards what is truth if we take to poetry to discribe it? The sactity you speak of seems to be an artists subjective experience of the natural world. But in the end, the natural world is not about aestetics, but of " the survival of the fittest." The affection bonds that tie the family together is a nessesary factor for the survival of our species. To include everyone within the scope of your affection seems impractical and ultimatly foolish íf you play by the rules of the jungle, the law of our natural world.
    Bhakta X. So your teachers direct experience has no logics to it? how then does he inspire you to pursue it in the first place? To exclude logics altogether seems illogical to me. Perhaps this is the blindness Satyavrata muni das was speaking about. Sorry, this sounds like blind faith to me...
    pros Hanz Baumann

  5. Dear professor Baumann.

    Please consider that the scientific pursuit for knowledge is not a goal in itself. Ultimately it is only a means to an end, a tool for increasing our happiness. Similarly, the goal of survival is happiness. So both your concerns are actually about happiness. Please consider that there are more ways to happiness than merely survival and knowledge. The shortest route to happiness is said to be love. Therefore, we are doing ourselves a disservice if we dismiss it as irrational or impractical.

    You say you are seeking truth, but what is the truth of the love we are essentially seeking? In science you are only measuring things which are external to yourself. You cannot measure internal experiences in the same way, because you are part of them. However, art and poetry are able to convey internal experiences to some extent, and are therefore valuable tools in our search for the actual goals of life.

  6. Dear professor,

    You ask how my spiritual teacher inspires me to pursue his direct experience in the first place, if not by logics. I would love to talk to you over a big cup of tea in the temple about the logics of spirituality, but for this forum let’s just get to the core of your question(s): Is this real?

    Blind faith is of course, as you imply, worthless. In fact there is no “blind faith”; faith is based on some experience, as opposed to believing (which is indeed blind), so “blind faith” is no faith. To find out if it is real, one has to try it. (And this would, again, correspond to the second criteria of scientific verification: the empirical.) The example has been given of licking on a bottle of honey. One cannot have a taste of the honey unless one opens the bottle. It’s wonderful to talk about these things, but if one wants to know if it is real or not, one has to give it a try, one has to start practicing. And to take this step there has to be something that is already motivating one. Either some attraction, or maybe some direct experience already, to which the teaching of the spiritual master who one for some reason has come in contact with seems to correspond.

    You seem to me like a sincere and intelligent person, with intellectual integrity – very important (for what is philosophy? It can be anything from Truth to Donald Duck, how would you know, and how would you discriminate?) And from what I can judge by your earnest and eager questions, some attraction is there. Follow that attraction! Find out what it is, and why it keeps you asking these questions. Again: Give it a try professor! And by all means, keep an open mind, the sign of a true intellectual.

  7. before humans had faith in different gods and creation mythologies
    since the dawn of science, humanity have faced the facts of life and now we dont need faith anymore. we know now by science that the natural world accidentically fell in place. Long ago there was this big explotion and the stuff that exploded flew everywhere and little by little this stuff became a giant soup.. and then in this soup some amino acids formed cells. I mean on one planet. maybe more planets. by the way the planets are like some fragments from this explotion and one planet, my planet... I mean OUR planet was very fortunate to fly around this giant ball of fire we call the sun... that by the way is also a fragment of this explotion. a very very hot fragment. so the sun cooked this soup on earth very nicely.. ofcourse all by accident.
    and alot of time ofcourse... so the time and this fireball, figuratively speaking, cooked up the first living organism in water on earth... water is also by the way a fragment or better said, splashes from this big explotion that happened many many billions of years ago. so this living organism there in the water little by little wanted to survive and searched to addopt itself to the surroundings and eventually wanted to go out of the soup and survive on land. just like if you eat soup you like to have some bread also isnt it? yes... now we dont need faith anymore.. only logics. and just to add, consciousness is the only problem to explain in our theory and maybe gravity. but have patients, we are on to it. I think this settles our discussion. But I understand that you need faith to feel good so I dont have any objection to your faith. as long as you dont shot people who does not submitt to it
    prof Hanz Deiter Baumann

  8. Dear Prof Baumann
    Yes I think this settles our discussion indeed... If not someone who shares the proffesors "faith" wants to step in ofcourse.
    considering the quantum age of contemporary science the scientific theory that Mr Baumann represents is already old school. And speaking of "the problem" of consciousness
    suggested reading:
    Thank you for your input Mr Baumann. Hope to see your comments here in the future

    with love and best wishes