The paradox of Knowledge

27 June 2003 — Amritapuri

Over 10 days, brahmacharis and brahmacharinis attended classes on Kenopanishad conducted by His Holiness Swami Chidananda Puri. The subject of the text was the nature of Brahman, the Supreme Truth.

Though the subject may seem dry or abstruse to the uninitiated, the brahmacharis and brahmacharinis became deeply engrossed in the logic of the text. At the heart of Kenopanishad is a paradox: one who embarks upon the quest of the supreme reality comes to realize that Brahman cannot, in fact, be known. Since it is super-sensuous, it cannot be an object of knowledge or knowing. Brahman is to be realized as one’s own Self. In that state of non-dual realization, the distinctions of subject and object collapse. In this light, it becomes apparent that, as the text points out, those who think they know, do not know, and those who think they do not know, know.

Vedanta class by Swami Chidananda Puri

Under the masterly guidance of Swami Chidanandaji, the brahmacharis and brahmacharinis navigated their way through the text’s Sanskrit Sankarabhashya [the commentary on the text written by Sri Sankaracharya].

There were four-and-a-half hours of classes every day. This included a discussion of different aspects of Vedic literature and a question-and-answer session. Swamiji’s clear vision and command of Vedanta, erudition, wit and inspiring advice impressed themselves deeply in the hearts of all those who attended his classes.