The path of wisdom or knowledge is extremely difficult. The spiritual aspirant tries to understand the majesty of God. During this process, he falls in love with God. He learns the purpose of the creation. He gets the answers to questions which have perplexed humanity for centuries.
This is a dry path. In the end, the path of wisdom and the path of love meet. In other words, an aspirant who realizes God through knowledge gets love for God, and an aspirant who loves God, now, also understands God and gets knowledge and wisdom.
Lord Buddha succeeded in realizing God through this path. Paul Brunton appeared to have followed this path. He has written several books, especially for Western audience, and has given practical details (see footnote) His guru, Maharishee Ramana, realized God, through this path, without any teacher.
I do not practice this path; therefore, I cannot give you the practical details. I tried to follow this path, initially, but failed, due to inability to stay awake during meditation. The theory behind this path is, as follows:
The aim is to realize one’s own self. This Self is hidden in the innermost recesses of one’s mind. To reach this Self, is extremely difficult, because one has to quieten one’s mind. One’s mind is constantly active and spinning thoughts. Except in deep, dreamless sleep, it is always active. Its nature is to be always active and make thoughts. Therefore, to stop one’s thoughts, in order for Self to emerge, is extremely difficult, and requires years of constant practice.
Why should one want to realize one’s inner Self? What good will that do? Is there any hidden, vast, mysterious, wisdom or knowledge present in that, so called, Self, which, the person himself, is not aware of? Is it reasonable to assume such a strange proposition? In other words, why should there be such hidden knowledge? Where did it come from? Why should this knowledge be different than the knowledge one accumulates, throughout one’s life, by learning through one‘s senses, since, one’s first breath in this world?
The answer to all these questions is, yes, yes, yes. The reason one wants to know one’s Self is, that the Self is akin (or made in the image of) to the Supreme Self (or God), which is present everywhere, both inside and outside us. In simple terms, God is within us.
There is no proof of it. It just is. To borrow an example from Aldous Huxley, “by looking at water there is nothing to suggest that it is made of two gases, but we just accept it as the truth. Under rigorous experimental conditions, water splits into hydrogen and oxygen”
(in, The perennial philosophy by Aldous Huxley )
Similarly, the great Masters have told us that after years of practice of meditation, aimed at focusing the mind on Self, one can silence one’s thoughts. If this state, which has aptly been named as ‘alert passivity’ is sustained for some time, a sort of vacuum is created in the mind. A practitioner of this art, Sudhei Babu, in Brunton’s book (see sidebar, ".........India" ) said; "…….God……..the soul, the higher power, shall I say, enters and fills that vacuum.”
Knowing one’s self was considered as important, in ancient times, in far-away ancient Greece, as in India and Far East. One of the two sayings of Oracle of Delphi (mentioned by Homer, in eighth century B.C ) was ‘Know Thyself’
1. The secret path by Paul Brunton
2. The perennial philosophy by Aldous Huxley