What are the Sources of Knowledge?


Knowledge is power if we know. But do we know the different sources of knowledge? As we are exploring about mind, its good to know about these different sources of knowledge.

Inspiration, revelation, insight, intuition, ecstasy, divine sight and eternal bliss are the seven planes of knowledge. There are four sources of knowledge, viz., instinct, reason, intuition and super-intuition or Atma-Jnana (Self Realization).

Instinct

When an ant crawls in your right arm, the left arm automatically moves towards the right arm to drive away the ant. The mind does not reason there. When you see a scorpion in front of your leg, you withdraw your leg automatically. This is termed instinctive or automatic movement. As you cross a street, how instinctively you move your body to save yourself from the cars!

Instinct is found in animals and birds. In birds, the ego does not interfere with the free divine flow and divine play. Hence the work done by them through their instincts is more perfect than that done by human beings. Have you not noticed the excellent work done by birds in their building of wonderful nests?

Reason

Reason is higher than instinct and is found only in human beings. It collects facts, generalizes, reasons out from cause to effect, from effect to cause, from premises to conclusions, from propositions to proofs. It concludes, decides and comes to judgment. It takes you safely to the door of intuition and leaves you there.

Belief, reasoning, knowledge and faith are the four important psychic processes. First you have belief in a doctor. You go to him for diagnosis and treatment. He makes a thorough examination and then prescribes certain medicines. You take them. You reason out: Such and such is the disease. The doctor has given me Iron and Iodide. Iron will improve my blood. The Iodide will stimulate the lymphatics and absorb the exudation and growth in the liver. So I should take it. Then the disease is cured, by a course of these drugs, in a month. Then you get knowledge of and perfect faith in the efficacy of the medicine and the proficiency of the doctor. Then you recommend to your friends this doctor and his drugs.

Intuition

Intuition is spiritual experience. Intuition is the immediate knowledge of the Absolute, obtained through the eye of wisdom, as opposed to the knowledge of the external objects derived through the exercise of the senses and the intellect. There is direct perception of truth or immediate knowledge. You know things by a flash. Intuition transcends reason, but does not contradict it. Intellect takes a man to the door of intuition and returns back. Spiritual flashes and glimpses of truth come through intuition. Inspiration, revelation, spiritual insight come through intuition.

The mind and the senses require time and space to function, but the Reality which is beyond this temporal, spatial and causal order of things, can only be grasped and apprehended by intuition. Intuition is beyond relativity.

Self Realization

Self-realization (Atma-Jnana) means knowledge of the self or soul. The reason the term ‘realization’ is used instead of ‘knowledge’ is that jnana refers to knowledge of self based on experience, not mere intellectual knowledge.” Atma-Jnana, literally “knowledge of the soul or supreme spirit”. Atma-Jnana is above intuition. It is the highest form of Knowledge. It is the only Reality.

Reference

Mind – Its mysteries and control by SriΒ Swami Sivananda
http://www.adishakti.org/self-realization.htm
http://www.omkarananda-ashram.net/intuitive.html

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31 thoughts on “What are the Sources of Knowledge?

  1. Pingback: What are the Sources of Knowledge? | Happiness Connections

  2. The source of knowledge in the Truth, man cannot be the source and not even get it fully, if we’d really get it. Partial truth, partial knowledge, partial inspiration.

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  5. Is true knowledge ever possible? The age old epistemological problem still remains unsolved since Plato’s days. I think ‘realization’ of the state of being from ones vantage is the closest we can get to meet the criteria of knowledge I.e Justified True Belief.

    I like how you identify the sources. This aligns closely with Shankara’s structuring of our scriptures i.e. shruti (hear from experts) smruthi (intellectual pursuit), purana (historic sources).

    shruti smriti purANAnAm Alayam karuNAlayam
    namAmi bhagavat pAda shankaram lOkashankaram

    Liked by 1 person

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