Allow me to introduce us: Chidananda, Das Bramchari, Das Adhikari, Indraram Das Brahmachari, Das Brahmachari. We are disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. All of us were born within the borders of United States and we became his disciples there in the last two to four years, we were intitiated by him. Shri Agrawal extened an invitation to us to come here. We are not in knowledge what you might wish to do, so we are leaving the meeting up to you, and whatever you proplose we will do it. Hare Krishna!
Great! He was saying that you would like to ask something, so if you have any questions . . .
I can pose one question. I would like to know, can you describe to me what is your conception of absolute truth?
No conception about absolute truth is possible because every conception is bound to be relative. The absolute transcends every conceptualization; you cannot conceive it. You can live it, you can be in it, but no intellectual conception is possible about the absolute. All conceptions are bound to be erroneous because conception, as such, is relative. So I can not say what my conception of the absolute is. I can only say that no conception is possible. The moment you go beyond conceptions, you know the absolute. But even when you have known it, you cannot transform it into a conception.
The so-called religious mind is always conceptualizing, but the really religious man is one who has come to know the boundaries of intelligence, the boundaries of intellect, the boundary of conceptions. The absolute is beyond. Or you can say the beyondness is the absolute.
I am not a philosopher; I deny every type of philosophizing. The truly religious mind is a mind that is not philosophizing about the truth. Philosophizing is a sort of mentation: the mind is working. And through mind, no contact with the absolute is possible. Only when the mind ceases, when thinking ceases, the ego ceases, do you come in contact with it. The absolute is beyond ‘me’, beyond ‘you.’ Where philosophy ends, the absolute begins. Where conceptions end, the absolute begins.
What do you mean by ‘me’ and ‘you’?
These are conceptions, egocentric conceptions. When I say ‘me’ and ‘you’, I mean my mental process and your mental process. Unless these processes cease, we cannot be in contact with the absolute because these processes are the barrier. ‘I’ – as a thinking mind – is the barrier. But if I think of ‘I’ as an existential living unit and not as a thinking mind, then there is no barrier. Then there is no ‘I’ and ‘you’; then the whole existence becomes one.
One ego is ‘I’ and the other ego is ‘you’. The absolute comes only when there is egolessness. ‘I’ cannot conceive of it; ‘I’ can only dissolve in it. You can dissolve in it, but you cannot conceive of it. A drop cannot conceive of the ocean. It can only conceive of a drop. That is its limitation. But a drop can become the ocean, it can drop into it and be one with it. Only then does it come to know the ocean – through becoming, not through thinking. It becomes one with it.
Conceptions are mental, part of language. The mind transforms reality into thoughts. If I love you, there is no ’I’ and there is no ’you’. Only love exists. We are two polarities of it: two extensions of one feeling, two waves of one feeling – coming and going. But when you conceive of love, love becomes a theory, a dead concept. Words, principles, philosophies, doctrines are there, but there is no love. The theory of love is not love any more than the theory of God is God. The word ‘God’ is not God.
I’m not saying whether the Hindu concept of absolute truth is right or wrong. I’m saying that conceptualization, as such, is wrong. We cannot conceive of the absolute; it is inconceivable. The moment one begins to think about it, there are only words. The truth is being lost. The truth can never become a word.
What is your attitude towards the Vedic religion, the Vedanta Sutra?
Religion . . .
What is the purpose of these literatures if not to discuss the nature of the absolute truth?
It is not . . .
The absolute truth then is beyond conceptualizing, then how is it then that these literatures such as the Vedanta Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita present description and definition of the absolute truth?
No one present, no one can present. They all deny, they all deny.
The conceptualization. They all deny conceptualization, and they all propose a living jump into it – not conceiving but a living jump.
And when you say ‘Vedic religion . . .’ The moment one says Vedic religion, Christian, Hindu, Muslim . . . the religion is lost. You cannot name it. Religion is religion, it is neither Vedic nor Christian, nor can it be. Religion is not a sect; it is not sectarian. So when you say, ‘Vedic religion’, you are destroying religion itself.
Veda means knowledge. Veda means all-knowing!
If you say ‘all-knowing’, then the Bible is also the Vedas, then the Koran is the Vedas. Then there is no need to mention a Vedic religion. It becomes absurd, irrelevant. If Veda means knowledge, then what I am saying, if it is knowledge, is a Veda, and what Mohammed is saying becomes a Veda. Then you cannot use ‘Vedic religion’. When you say, ‘Vedic religion’, you mean knowledge as conceived by the Vedas. Then you confine it, a sect is being created. And a sectarian mind is not a religious mind; a sectarian mind is basically irreligious.
A mind must endeavor to know, a mind must come to know. The mind must research and seek. But the moment you accept authority, you deny your own individuality. That is a suicidal act. So once you say ‘Vedic’, you have lost something essential for religion.
You like the Vedas. That is quite another thing. You may love them that is something quite different. You may like the Bible, you may love it, but don’t be bound by it. Don’t make it a bondage, don’t be confined to it, because knowing is such a vast thing. Vedas and more Vedas may come and go, but the mind never ends. Vedas end, but the mind never ends. Knowing is infinite, but the Vedas are not infinite so a person who attaches himself to one particular creed is not a religious person at all.
To me, religion means an attitude of inclusion. There are three attitudes possible. The first is the scientific attitude: a mind that believes in analysis; a mind that believes in objectivity; a mind that believes in laboratories, experiments – not within but without; a mind that is concerned with the without of things.
Then there is the artistic attitude. A person who is not concerned with reality as truth but with reality as feeling, a person who is not concerned with the realization of reality but who is concerned with the expression of it; a participatory attitude toward the real, but devotional – a feeling attitude. Then there is the religious mind. In every way it is different from the scientific mind. It is not analytical; it is subjective.
When you say ‘Vedas’, you become analytical. You have begun to divide religion. Religion is an attitude of synthesis. If you say that all that has been known is the Vedas, then there is no need to mention ‘the Vedic religion’ at all. Then Christ is a Vedic personality, Mohammed is, Confucius is.
Then I am, you are. But that is not what you mean. When you say ‘Vedic’ you have confined yourself to a particular scripture. The moment you mention the name, you have become sectarian. But the sectarian mind is so small that it can never be religious. A religious mind can only be limitless: untethered to anything, not clinging to anything, not confined to anything.
When I say ‘the attitude of a religious mind’, I mean a mind that is subjective, a mind that experiments with reality subjectively. I mean, taking the approach of seeking the within of things, not being concerned with the without. The seeking is subjective, inner. You become concerned with the ultimate, but you move toward it as an individual, not as a member of a sect.
You cannot move toward the ultimate if your attitude is sectarian, because the moment you become a member of a particular sect, your mind is burdened with particular conceptions, authorities, scriptures. Then you are not fresh, then you are not naked, you are not innocent. Your mind has become calculating. You are not ready to receive truth as it is. Rather, on the contrary, you have your own conception of truth to impose on reality. Now the truth must correspond to your scriptures, it must correspond with your conceptions. You are not open.
No, just one moment, I did not say anything about conceptions. I said I am thinking that the truth should correspond with the scriptural conceptions which are not my conceptions.
Are you saying that in the Gita when Lord Krishna says “I am the absolute truth” he is not speaking the truth?
The scriptures are not religious. There is no religious scripture at all. Scriptures cannot be religious.
Really? I have some verses which conflict with that. I would just like to read them. This is the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7, Verse 7. Lord Krishna is speaking to Arjuna. He says: “O character of wealth, Dhananjaya, there is no truth superior to me. Everything rests upon me as pearls are strung on a thread.” And here he is speaking of himself subjectively.
Then in the eighth chapter he is speaking of himself objectively. He says: “Think of the supreme person as one who knows everything; who is the oldest; who is the controller, who is smaller than the smallest, the maintainer of everything beyond any material conception, inconceivable and always a person. He is luminous like the sun, beyond this material nature, transcendental.” Now in these verses in the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna, who is a person who is standing before Arjuna, speaking to Arjuna, and saying, “Actually I am the absolute truth and there is no truth superior to me and that everything is under my control and that I am a person.” And these statements of the Bhagavad Gita, which is saying that we can describe what is the absolute truth . . .
No. The very statement says it is inconceivable.
. . . or that the absolute truth is describing himself.
The very statement says it is inconceivable, it is beyond all material conceptions. And the moment you say a person you have conceptualized. And if he says . . .
I am not saying “person.” That inconceivable lord is revealing knowledge to us and his is saying, “I am a person.”
Then he must mean something other than what we mean by person.
But he is not saying, “I mean something else.”
No, no. He is not saying anything at all. He is just saying . . .
Lord Krish is not speaking in the Bhagavad Gita?
I won’t say “Lord Krishna.” That is our conception that he is a lord. And it is our conception that this is a scripture, it is our conception that it is religious, it is our conception that all that is said in it is true. These are our conceptions. And the moment we conceive of a thing as a scripture, then everything becomes authoritatively true, then there is no need to think about it.
What I am saying is this: Truth can be known but cannot be expressed – not even Krishna can express it. And the moment he expresses it, the truth becomes confined to words, and words come to us, not the truth. If I have known the truth, I can try to describe it, but it is never described.
So then what do you do?
I only try to describe the indescribable-ness of it. I only deny the positive formulations. I only try to point out your limitations of knowing, information, scripture, knowledge. And if this much can be pointed out – that our minds are not capable of knowing it – then something is being indicated which is significant. So all that can be done is negative, never positive.
But even a child can know that he has boundaries, so what is the purpose?
No one – not even a child, not even an old man – knows that he has boundaries.
But we all experience boundaries every day . . .
We experience them, and still, we try to conceive the infinite. And we even try to conceive of it through scriptures. Then it becomes absurd. Then it shows that we are not completely aware of our boundaries, the boundaries of our thinking, of our thought. We are not aware of them. And the mind feels satisfied if words can be fed to it and if an illusion of knowledge is created – so I can read the Gita, memorize it, go on continuing to memorize it, and feel that something is being known.
No, nothing is being known. You are just computerizing your mind; you are feeding it with information. The words may have been true on the lips of Krishna, he may have known what he was talking about, but the moment it is said, the truth is not conveyed. Only words are conveyed, and we begin to cling to these words. The words become the basis of all our knowledge.
Words can never be the basis of knowing. One must go into total silence; one must go into total wordlessness.
That is not possible.
If that is not possible, then the absolute truth cannot be known. You will only go on knowing relative conceptions of it.
Actually, everything you are saying is based on your authority. You are speaking form your authority on this matter
How can I speak anything else?
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