Knowing through Cognition & Experience

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Truth is known by 'Cognition' and not by 'Experience'. This statement though simple is difficult to comprehend by those who are clinging to experiences (manifest). To quote Gita Chapter 12 verse 5

12.5 Greater is the difficulty of those whose minds are thus attached to the unmanifest. For the way of the unmanifest is hard to reach by embodied beings.

Difference between knowing through cognition and experience can be explained through examples. Taste of a fruit is experiential knowing whereas the fact that sky has no colour and only appears blue is a matter of cognition. The thing to note is that even after cognitive knowledge the sky continues to appear blue but there remains no doubt as to its colour. Earth appearing flat is another example where only cognition solves the problem.

To know the truth through cognition is the path of Gnosis. Vedanta stresses on discriminative knowledge. Like the sciences they have their own methods and qualifications required of the aspirants and as Gita says vast majority may be ill suited for such an undertaking which does not make them any less authentic.