RIGHT KNOWLEDGE HAS THREE SOURCES: DIRECT COGNITION, INFERENCE AND THE WORDS OF THE AWAKENED ONES.
Pratyaksha, direct cognition, is the first source of right knowledge. Direct cognition means a face-to-face encounter without any mediator, without any medium, without any agent. When you know something directly, the knower faces the known immediately There is no one to relate it, no bridge. Then it is the right knowledge. But then many problems arise.
Ordinarily, pratyaksha, direct cognition, has been translated, interpreted, commented, in a very wrong way. The very word pratyaksha means before the eyes, in front of the eyes. But eyes themselves are a mediation, the knower is hidden behind. Eyes are the mediums. You are hearing me, but this is not direct; this is not immediate. You are hearing me through the senses, through the ears. You are seeing me through the eyes.
Your eyes can wrongly report to you; your ears can wrongly report. No one should be believed; no mediator should be believed, because you cannot rely on the mediator. If your eyes are ill, they will report differently; if your eyes are drugged, they will report differently; if your eyes are filled with memory, they will report differently.
If you are in love, then you see something else. If you are not in love then you can never see that. An ordinary woman can become the most beautiful person in the world if you see through love. When your eyes are filled with love, then they report something else. And the same person can appear the ugliest if your eyes are filled with hate. They are not reliable.
You hear through the ears. Ears are just instruments, they can function wrongly; they can hear something which has not been said; they can miss something which was being said. Senses cannot be reliable; senses are just mechanical devices.
Then what is pratyaksha? Then what is direct cognition? Direct cognition can only be when there is no mediator, not even senses. Patanjali says then it is the right knowledge. This is the first basic source of right knowledge: when you know something and you need not depend on anybody else.
Only in deep meditation you transcend senses. Then direct cognition becomes possible. When Buddha comes to know his innermost being, that innermost being is pratyaksha; that is direct cognition. No senses are involved; nobody has reported it; there is no one like an agent. The knower and known are face to face. There is nothing in between. This is immediacy, and immediacy can only be true.
So the first right knowledge can only be that of the inner self. You may know the whole world, but if you have not known the innermost core of your being your whole knowledge is absurd it is not really knowledge; it cannot be true, because the first, basic right knowledge has not happened to you. Your whole edifice is false. You may know many things. If you have not known yourself, all your knowledge is based on reports, reports given by the senses. But how can you be certain that senses are reporting rightly?
In the night you dream. While dreaming you start believing in the dream, that it is true. Your senses are reporting the dream – your eyes are seeing it, your ears are hearing it, you may be touching it. Your senses are reporting to you; that’s why you fall under the illusion that it is real. Here you are; it may be just a dream. How can you be certain that I am speaking to you in reality? It is possible it may be just a dream, you are dreaming me. Every dream is true while you dream.
Chuang Tzu once saw a dream that he had become a butterfly. And in the morning he was sad. And his disciples asked, “Why are you so sad?” Chuang Tzu said, “I am in trouble. In such trouble I have never been before. This puzzle seems to be impossible; it cannot be solved. Last night I saw a dream that I have become a butterfly!”
The disciples laughed. They said, “What is there? This is not a riddle. A dream is just a dream.” Chuang Tzu says, “But listen. I am troubled. If Chuang Tzu can dream that he has become a butterfly, a butterfly may be dreaming now that she has become Chuang Tzu. So how to decide whether I am now facing reality or again a dream? And if Chuang Tzu can become a butterfly, why can’t a butterfly dream that she has become a Chuang Tzu?”
There is no impossibility; the reverse can occur. You cannot rely on the senses. In the dream they deceive you. If you take a drug, LSD or something, your senses start deceiving you; you start seeing things which are not there. They can deceive you to such an extent that you can start believing things so absolutely, that you may be in danger.
One girl jumped in New York from the sixtieth floor because under LSD she thought now she can fly. Chuang Tzu was not wrong: the girl really flew out of the window. Of course, she died. But she will never be able to know that she has been deceived by her senses under the influence of the drug.
Even without drugs we have illusions. You are passing through a dark street, and suddenly you get scared – a snake is there. You start running, and later on you come to know that there was no snake, just a rope was Lying there. But when you felt that there was a snake, there was a snake. Your eyes were reporting that the snake is there and you behaved accordingly – you escaped from the place.
Senses cannot be believed. Then what is direct cognition? Direct cognition is something which is known without senses. So the first right knowledge can only be of the inner self because only there – senses will not be needed. Everywhere else senses will be needed. If you want to see me you will have to see through the eyes, but if you want to see yourself, eyes are not needed. Even a blind man can see himself. If you want to see me light will be needed, but if you want to see yourself darkness is okay, light is not needed.
Even in the darkest cave you can know yourself. No medium – light, eyes, anything – is needed. The inner experience is immediate, and that immediate experience is the basis of all right knowledge.
Once you are rooted in that inner experience then many things will start happening to you. It will not be possible to understand them right now. One is rooted in his center, in his inner being, one has come to feel it as a direct experience, then senses cannot deceive him. He is awakened. Then eyes cannot deceive, then his ears cannot deceive, then nothing can deceive. Deception has dropped.
You can be deceived because you are living in delusion; you cannot be deceived once you have come to be a right knower. You cannot be deceived! Then everything by and by takes the shape of right knowledge. Once you know yourself, then whatsoever you know will fall automatically to be right because you are right now. This is the distinction to be remembered: if you are right, then everything becomes right; if you are wrong, then everything goes wrong. So it is not a question of doing something outside, it is a question of doing something inside.
You cannot deceive a Buddha – it is impossible. How can you deceive a Buddha? He is rooted in himself. You are transparent to him; you cannot deceive. Before you know, he knows you. Even a glimmer of thought in you is clearly seen by him. He penetrates you to your very being.
Your penetration goes to the same extent in others as it goes into yourself. If you can penetrate into yourself, to the same extent you can penetrate into everything. Deeper you move within, the deeper you can move without. And you have not moved within even a single inch, so whatsoever you do outside is just like a dream.
Patanjali says the first source of right knowledge is immediate, direct cognition, pratyaksha. He is not concerned with charvakas, old materialists, who said that pratyaksha, that which is before the eyes, is only true.
Because of this word pratyaksha, direct cognition, much misunderstanding has happened. The Indian school of materialists is charvaka. The source of Indian materialism was Brihaspati, a very penetrating thinker, but a thinker; a very profound philosopher, but a philosopher – not a realized soul. He says only pratyaksha is true, and by pratyaksha he means whatsoever you know is true – through the senses. And he says there is no way of knowing anything without the senses, so only sense knowledge is real for charvakas.
Hence, he denies there can be any God because no one has ever seen him. And that which can be seen can only be real; that which cannot be seen cannot be real. God is not because you cannot see; the soul is not because you cannot see. And he says, “If there is God, bring him before me so I can see. If I see then he is, because only seeing is truth.”
He also uses the word pratyaksha, direct cognition, but his meaning is totally different. When Patanjali uses the word pratyaksha, his meaning is on an altogether different level. He says knowledge not derived from any instrument, not derived from any medium, immediate, is true. And once this knowledge happens, you have become true. And now nothing false can happen to you. When you are true, authentically rooted in truth, then illusions become impossible.
That’s why it is said Buddhas never dream; one who is – awakened – never dreams. Because even dreams cannot happen to him; he cannot be deceived. He sleeps, but not like you. He sleeps in a totally different way. The quality is different. Only his body sleeps, relaxes. His being remains alert.
And that alertness won’t allow any dream to happen. You can dream only when alertness is lost. When you are not aware, when you are deeply hypnotized, then you start dreaming. Dreams can happen only when you are completely unaware. More unawareness, more dreams will be there. More awareness, less dreams. Fully aware, no dream. Even dreaming becomes impossible for one who is rooted in himself, who has come to know the inner being immediately.
This is the first source of right knowledge.Tags: Illusions Patanjali Right Knowledge Transcend Senses Yoga Sutra 3.1 Pratyaksha