Knowledge is Hearsay

dora's picture

Average: 4.6 (12 votes)

People who think themselves to be in a position to air their knowledge forget one basic fact, namely that they go by mere appearances. Someone expounds knowledge and the one who receives it begins to ape the person from whom he has received the knowledge. Thus, whatever the teacher wears, he will wear; whatever mannerisms the teacher affects, he will imitate. And the transfer of so-called "knowledge" has been only of concepts. This is essentially how tradition becomes established and tradition forms of worship come into being, all of which has nothing to do with the basic knowledge.

Whatever you have heard, whatever you have been told, will have no value as far as I am concerned. I want to know whether you accept the fact that the only knowledge that you really have is the knowledge that you are, this consciousness. Other than that, whatever knowledge you think you have, is mere hearsay, something acquired, based on the illusory consciousness. Is that so or is it not so?

-- The Ultimate Medicine by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, p. 149 (chapter: "Eventually, You Have to Give up this Association with the Consciousness")

Annie's picture

150% true

150% true.

All what we call knowledge is indirect 3rd-party hearsay and thus should not be taken for granted, not be considered as absolute truth, should not be object of attachment, should not be a basis to dismiss other approaches and should not be a reason for wars, quarrels and arguments.

Annie | Sat, 01/10/2009 - 22:45
Phroggy's picture


150% sounds like you accept it as absolute truth, and are using it to dismiss the truths of others.

Phroggy | Sun, 01/11/2009 - 08:51
Annie's picture

reminder for myself

This is manipulative and you know it.

What I wrote is also a reminder for myself. I am not a saint, I also find myself from time to time attached to what I believe, defending it vigorously to convince myself, forgetting that it is only an acquired knowledge that may prove tomorrow wrong although seems as absolute truth now. It is a reminder that how we act is much more important than what about we act.

Annie | Sun, 01/11/2009 - 09:21
Phroggy's picture

Well, maybe

Yeah, I know it. :)
There's an incorridgable devilishness going on here, and it's not entirely pointless. There's a certain dynamic of perfection in the bias, the dismissal, the arguments, such that even that can't be argued with.

The notion began with our friend who says no talk is needed, only the contemplation on the words of the masters, and something inside me said "Uhhh, wait".

The entirety of life is our teacher, and we form every moment of it from the inside out according to our deepest longings rather than our superficial fears and needs and posturing. The spiritual process is what happens in the background while we think we're learning spiritual stuff.

Have you ever noticed that we can't possibly know where we're going or else we'd already be there? Have you ever suddenly realized something 'let go' the other day and mind just now realized what happened, and so it really had nothing to do with it after all? Have you noticed that the whole goal is to realize the futility of goals?

We think we know the right way, the best way for us, the next step in some process. We think we accomplished something, that we're progressing, that we know what we and others should do and how. We're driving a boat with no rudder and patting ourselves on the back for being good sailors. He's 286% right, we don't know anything. There's nothing to know. I'm sure of it!

Phroggy | Sun, 01/11/2009 - 10:47
Omkaradatta's picture

She's right...

She's right... there's nothing to know. However, to know there's nothing to know is to know everything there is to know. There's an absolute certainty in that, no question at all about it. All 'head knowledge' is ignorance.

P.S. to seek nothing is to lack nothing, and so on. Emptiness is fullness.

Omkaradatta | Sun, 01/11/2009 - 18:22
mayasurfer's picture


how can there be anything 150% when you say in your own profile that the truth is universal? You are contradicting yourself.

mayasurfer | Sun, 01/11/2009 - 21:27
Annie's picture

cyclic argumentation

150% true from my perspective of course.

That truth is universal doesn't mean we can have it, on the contrary.

But one should always doubt his views, maybe it's only the tacit channel that the mind is not capable of cognizing.

Annie | Sun, 01/11/2009 - 22:09
joy's picture

Dependent knowledge

Unfortunately it's true. Whatever knowledge we have is dependent - on the senses, on the processing mind, on someone else who is telling us his/her experiences. We can either refuse all knowledge or bet on one of the sources (not more than one as knowledge from different sources at some point turn to be contradictive). If one decides to bet on one of sources, it would naturally be one that looks to him as most probable to carry, if at all, valid knowledge (a decision that may be biased of course) . Both approaches are acceptable as long as we choose them consciously and are aware of their relative nature.

The bad news are that we cannot have absolute knowledge, by fact. The good news is that the above simple analysis why all our knowledge is dependent leads to a decisive conclusion about what the "I" really is. Without noticing we have naturally regarded the senses, the mind, the others as not "I" and had no inner rejection as we usually tend to have. We must cherish the memory of this unique acceptance. It means that somewhere inside us, beyond the old conditioning, we know with no doubt that we are not the senses (i.e. the body) nor the mind.

The above analysis has some flaws (e.g. the conclusions themselves which are knowledge are product of analysis of the mind, which, as we agreed, is not me etc.), I know, but it has something optimistic in it.

joy | Sun, 01/11/2009 - 20:28
Phroggy's picture

Beyond analysis

Beyond the question of what is valid and invalid knowledge in our daily lives, no knowledge is valid in relation to Truth. This is simply because the Truth we seek is prior to all knowledge.

Phroggy | Mon, 01/12/2009 - 01:16
neo's picture

Knowledge is just a shrewd type of entertainment

At some point one does not find anymore any interest whatsoever in knowledge. It is not that he/she values knowledge or not, it is that he/she is not entertained anymore by this type of entertainment. He/she does not care anymore whether a certain knowledge is true or not, leave me alone he says to the one who delivers the knowledge and he/she goes beyond.

There are many though who find it impossible to get free of the addiction to this entertainment. And worse, there are those who do not see that these are an addiction and an entertainment.

neo | Sat, 04/18/2009 - 11:51
divine intervention's picture

Denial of intellectual addiction

People who heavily seek knowledge and logic-based deductions in spirituality have just changed the intellectual subject from secular areas such as philosophy or physics into the research of spirituality, not spirituality. This is not true experiencial spirituality, but a research, something about, not the something itself experienced, there is no spirit in that, no openness to the paranormal, even not as a belief. They have just replaced one addictive drug with another, the smoking pipe remained the same.

But the real danger as in all cases of addictions is indeed not the addiction itself but the denial of the fact that oneself is addicted. Nothing can change if one is in denial - the same denial that can be found also in those many that due to some mystical or mental experience or realization of not being the body believe that they are enlightened and rush to be a self-appointed authority and assume the desired role of a "teacher" while it is their ego that pushes the buttons beyond the curtain to make sure that by being a teacher one is not a student.

And these people I am talking about is all of us, we are all infected with this dormant virus that awakens in times of mental epidemic. We should all be on guard to make sure it does not take control again, to make sure we are in denial as less as possible, to make sure that if we are reluctant to be open to the paranormal, at least we are open to the criticism and opinions of others about us.

divine intervention | Wed, 05/20/2009 - 09:57
barbara's picture

Even this is not knowledge

I have a lot of respect for Nisargadatta Maharaj but I think that even the knowledge that I am is not knowledge.

I am quite aware of the argumentative acrobatics used to convince that this is a factual knowledge and the only one and I don't buy them as they are based on logic and feeling (of presence) that any phantom can have.

Instead of all this vain search for valid knowledge and negation of other knowledge derived from hidden desires (to get enlightened, to break free...) I think it is better to leave it all aside and stick to the modest diving into the metaphysical, the union with the sensed and beyond, the seeking of god as a means and as a purpose.

barbara | Sat, 05/09/2009 - 11:01
Phroggy's picture


It's true there is no knowledge as such, and one need not seek knowledge, but since there is not, one must question what one thinks one knows; what is being held as knowledge. False knowledge is ignorance, and this is the 'problem' rather than the absence of True knowledge. It is a process of unlearning and cannot be set aside.

For example, how can there be a "union" when Oneness is already the case? How can one "seek God" when one IS God? Is the seeking a "means" of finding, or a means of avoiding the obvious? Is there a "purpose" in anything beyond an ego purpose?

Phroggy | Sat, 05/09/2009 - 19:04
Omkaradatta's picture

Verbal vs. known

"I have a lot of respect for Nisargadatta Maharaj but I think that even the knowledge that I am is not knowledge."

The verbal "I am" is, of course, not knowledge. But in order to know you are (verbally), don't you have to BE in the first place? This non-verbal knowingess is the true knowledge, and such knowledge need not be sought, for it's ever-present and obvious.

All we need is to give up the non-obvious, to recognize it for what it is -- assumptions, hear-say, impressed upon us from outside by others. It's this blind acceptance of beliefs that creates doubt within us and obscures the true knowledge - which is non-verbal, obvious, and therefore cannot be in doubt.

That which creates doubt (e.g. more and more questions) is obviously not knowledge, but falsehood. All that's needed is to see this, and abandon the false.

Omkaradatta | Sun, 05/10/2009 - 13:41
dhorai's picture

bla bla

The saddist badrunissa is bla bla....
dora says here sriram i am a saddist now and i enjoy ur suffering....
and all womens follow my path of cowardice .....
i will say love only in tv mode not in real mode....
i am a saddist and they call me also dora...
while i am really badB ......
i read krishnamurthy work because i am an introvert philosopher like all person who have name in B....

i died as priya for my cowardice....
still i do not learn my lessons how good i am....
one who gave me knowledge him alone i kill by that i set very good example for others to follow...
i am a saddist... i am a saddist....
i am dora.

with love

dhorai | Wed, 08/26/2009 - 21:52
Toltec Logic's picture

Doing or Being?

You are either doing or not doing
being sponatanious or applying effort
each has it's own time the only question
is do we understand which one is when?

“When all else fails,

look for the humour of it.

We are seeking

what has already been given.”

K. Bradford Brown

Toltec Logic | Sat, 01/30/2010 - 19:21
Elijah_NatureBoy's picture

Knowledge Is Experience!

One knows only what one experiences, the language one uses to explain their experiences are socially accepted meanings unless one redefines the terms using other socially agreed on definitions or provide new words. The buddha had already proclaimed a middle path but the christ called it a straight way with a narrow gate, is one example of changing terms. Another is the christ called the transition born again when science already provided the term metamorphosis for anyone changing from the material mind to the integrated mind.

When one experiences spiritual things they must integrate them into the material concepts, therefore, they are required to change certain definitions for clarity and eliminate the abstract judgments, such as good/evil, god/devil, pretty/ugly and the like, because having experienced the spiritual one discovers their ignorance was based upon judging half of most things and attempting to segregating them. That's why the advances enlightened ones seems to be without sanity unless one provides new definitions for what their enlightenment has taught them.

Material minded man are not able to follow the enlightened for unenlightened man are not able to comprehend their sayings. A prime example is the 12 disciples Yeshua called Jesus chose, they were not able to comprehend him although they walked with him daily for most of three and a half years, they had to go through a new birth. And in all truth, what enlightened teachers proclaim does sound like hearsay and baffling.

--Elijah "NatureBoy"--
Presenting SEEDS OF LIFE @

Elijah_NatureBoy | Mon, 10/07/2013 - 02:40