To define BRAHMA as knowledge is to use a word which is very much contaminated. Our whole language is so much bound with our minds that whenever we have to express something beyond the mind, either it is impossible or we have to use a word which cannot be used. This knowledge is bound with the known; knowledge exists as a relationship with the known. It cannot exist in itself.
As we know it, it cannot exist in itself. It is a relation between the subject and the object, between the knower and the known - just a relationship.
And relationship is not substantial. If one relater is not there the relationship just disappears. If the known is not there, then there is no knowledge. How can you have any knowledge if the known is not there? If you are in a vacuum and nothing is to be known, how can knowledge exist there? Only this much knowledge can exist: that there is a vacuum, because the vacuum is there. And even if there is no vacuum, not even a vacuum, this much knowledge also will not exist there. Knowledge just disappears; it is a relation.
So when we say that brahma - the supreme consciousness, the innermost consciousness, the eternal one - is knowledge, we are using a word with a very different meaning. Not only different - rather, a very contrary meaning, just the contrary.
Brahma is knowledge without the known and the knower - simply knowledge, simply knowing, simply consciousness. Why is this unrelated phenomenon to be insisted upon so much? There are reasons: if knowledge is dependent on the known, it is a slavery; it is not a freedom. And knowledge must be a freedom, only then it is knowledge.
Ignorance is a bondage; knowledge must be absolute freedom. If knowledge itself is a bondage, then what is the difference between ignorance and knowledge? Ignorance is always related: you are ignorant OF something, you are not simply ignorant. You are ignorant of something - then you are knowledgeable; then you are the knower of something. Both are the same in a way, because both are related to the object; both are dependent on the object. Ignorance and knowledge - so- called ignorance and so-called knowledge - both are dependent. So what is the difference? The dependence remains the same.
And the search for truth, the search for the secret of secrets, the real knowledge, is the search for total independence. It is the search for absolute freedom. So even the presence of the known is a limitation; the presence of the knower is a limitation. These two limitations must be broken.
Knowledge must exist, not as a relationship between subject and object, but something self-oriented, something independent, something in itself. When we say brahma is knowledge, we mean this knowledge: absolute freedom from the known and the knower. How is this possible? It looks just impossible; it looks absurd. It is as absurd as to conceive love without the lover and the beloved.
It is as inconceivable as to conceive experience without any object of experience, and without any experiencer. But it is not. If we go deep, it is not, but the depth must be found inside.
Leave objects: that's what we mean by silence. Remain conscious without any objects; then you are silent. Remain conscious without any thoughts; then the knower is there, but not the known. And when the known disappears, the knower disappears automatically, because it cannot exist without the known.
This is the secret: drop the known.
In meditation what are you doing?
Drop the known.
The known must cease for knowledge to be.
Drop the known, go on dropping, eliminate anything that is an object to your consciousness. Forget everything, go on forgetting, go on eliminating. Go on saying, "This is the object" - drop it.
Then there comes a moment when you are simply silent, conscious. The light is there but nothing is lighted; there is no object to it - simply light. You are, but the known has dropped. The moment the known drops, suddenly, simultaneously, the knower drops itself, because it is a relation. The knower cannot exist without the known - they both drop.
Begin with the known, and then this happens automatically - the knower is dropped. What remains?
Now the remaining is called knowledge. NOW, the remaining is called knowledge. It would be better to say, knowing; or even better, simple consciousness, alertness. Buddha called this enlightenment.
This is the ecstasy of the mystics; this is the SAMADHI of yoga. This is NIRVIKALP samadhi of yoga-samadhi without any thoughts. This is known as NIRBEEJ, seedless; because now there is no seed - no seed for any thought, any object to arise. You are now just a mirror, mirroring nothing!
In this mirrorlike consciousness, without mirroring anything, for the first time you know a different dimension of knowledge, of consciousness - not as a relationship, but as your spontaneous nature, as your being, as your is-ness, as your existence. THIS is the knowledge meant by the rishi when he defines brahma as knowledge, supreme consciousness as knowledge.
This consciousness is infinite, with no beginning and no end - with no boundaries. We have boundaries, limitations; we have bodies. Because of these bodies we have limitations - not because of the consciousness. The consciousness is infinite but embodied. The embodied form is not of consciousness it has been imposed by the matter around it.
You have a pot. Go to the sea and drop the pot into the sea. Then seawater will fill it. The seawater will be inside, and the seawater will be outside - the same, but only a mud wall, just an earthen wall will divide the two. And even that division is not so much, because the earthen wall is porous and the seawater is constantly coming in and going out. We are also porous; and every moment, life is coming in and going out. It is not only that you breathe from your nose, you are breathing from your whole body. So even if your nose is allowed to breathe, and all the pores of your body are covered, closed, you will die within a few minutes.
Every moment there is a constant communion between the infinite and you. In so many ways the communion is happening: through your breathing, through your food, through the rays of the sun, through water; through everything you are constantly moving into the infinite and the infinite is moving into you.
Where is the limit of my body? Really, where is the limit of my body? Why is this skin to be my limit?
This skin cannot exist without the sun being there millions of miles away. And if this skin cannot exist without the sun, why not the sun be my limit? It is part of my body. I cannot exist without breathing for a single moment; so why should the nose be my limit? Why not the air? The airy ocean all around should be my limit, because I cannot exist without it; it is my existence! Every moment I have to be constantly changing energy with the air; every moment carbon dioxide has to be thrown out, and every moment oxygen has to be taken in. Constant communion - a single moment and the communion is lost, and I am dead. So why take the nose as my limit? Why not the whole ocean of the air around? - because without it I cannot exist, just as a fish cannot exist out of the ocean.
But the air cannot exist unless there is the sun. And those who know the system of the universe and the stars, say that this sun cannot exist if there are not greater suns, because this sun has to get energy constantly just as we have to get energy. So this is a great chain; no one seems to be independent - even the sun is just a small star. To us it is so big - thousands of times greater than the earth! Mm? In relation to our bodies it seems infinite. But this is just a very mediocre star in the whole universe - just a mediocre star. There are stars which are thousands of times bigger.
There is a constant chain... life moving around. So this limited feeling of embodiment, of these bodies, is just a fallacy; life is one. Life is one: the deeper we go, the deeper the oneness is uncovered. Life is one; the inner light is one; consciousness is one. When we say brahma is infinite, this is what we mean. It is just ignorance, a fallacious conception to feel oneself limited and finite; we are not. But this infinite cannot be known, cannot be understood by any argument, by any rational thinking, by any intellectual understanding.
You may be able to conceive that it seems that life is one, but that is not enough - intellectual understanding will not do. Rather, on the contrary, it may become a hindrance, because you may begin to understand that life is one and you will still behave as if life is not one. And there will be a sharp division inside; a very divided consciousness will be there. You will behave as if you are finite, and you will begin to believe that you are infinite; and there will be very deep restlessness inside.
So intellectual understanding will not do, one has to FEEL it; not KNOW it, but feel it. And the feeling can come only when the known and the knower are dropped. Then suddenly you are one! Then it is not an argument; then it is not a philosophical concept; then it is not even a scientific explanation.
Then it is a realization.
So really, the known and the knower are the two limitations. Deep within the known and the knower are the two boundaries. Drop these two boundaries, be just knowledge, and suddenly you have become one. William James calls this "the oceanic feeling." Now there are no barriers to life, to inner light, to inner consciousness - all barriers have dropped. Really, the universe has dropped, and now there is brahma.
We use two words: BRAHMAN for universe, for the embodied form, and BRAHMA for the innermost center of consciousness. As long as we are feeling ourselves as bodies, we can never transcend brahman, the universe. The moment we become consciousness, the brahman drops; it becomes brahma. Then there is no universe, then there is just an infinite ocean of consciousness. This infinite ocean of consciousness... the moment it is realized, you are in bliss as never before - as never before.
We have known pleasures; we have known pains; we have known so-called happinesses and so- called sufferings - but never bliss. By bliss is meant a state of consciousness where happiness is not coming from out, but from within. We have known happiness always coming from the out, from without, from outside, from someone or something. It has always been something from without towards within - that has been the direction. Bliss means the total reversal of this direction:
happiness coming from within, going without.
And really, the moment happiness is coming from the inner center and going out, it goes on expanding; and goes on expanding.... It goes on expanding to the infinite, and the whole universe if filled - not only you, the whole universe is filled with bliss. Just as if you drop a stone in the river and there are ripples and the ripples go on spreading, spreading, spreading - they go on spreading....
Just like this! Happiness... this bliss happens.
In your innermost center, the moment there is no known and knower, this happening happens. There are ripples, ripples of bliss. And they go spreading, and they go on spreading, they go on... and there is no end to them then. And continuously, one lives in bliss.
Because now you are the source:
This bliss cannot be destroyed.
Because now you are the source:
This bliss cannot be taken back.
Whenever something else is the source, it can be taken back; it is bound to be taken back, it can only be momentary and temporal. It is not your being, it is just a happening outside - just a foreign something outside. Bliss is unrelated to anyone; bliss is not produced by any cause; it is not causal.
It is not in a particular situation; it is not related at all to anything else other than you. Can you conceive yourself in happiness, in bliss, without anyone being the cause, or anything being the cause? We have known only causal happiness. And because of this causal happiness, misery comes as a shadow, always behind it, waiting for its moment.
When you begin to feel yourself enough unto yourself, if the whole universe just drops and goes into nonexistence, it will not make any difference - THEN it will not make any difference, because now you have an inner source of happiness, an infinite source of happiness. This is your being and cannot be taken from you and cannot be destroyed; and therefore, there can be no antistate of your inner bliss.
This analysis is not meant as a philosophical doctrine - the UPANISHADS are not philosophical doctrines; they are not. They are not metaphysical; really, they are not concerned with any doctrine at all. They are paths to follow; they are ways to live; they are methods for the inner search. If words are used, they are used only to convey - not a doctrine, not a principle, but a method. Remember this! - but a METHOD.
The Indian consciousness has basically been concerned with method and not with principle. So a very wonderful phenomenon has happened in the East. The rishis say, "Use any principle - it makes no difference. Believe in God, or not believe in God - it makes no difference. Believe that there are reincarnations, rebirths, or don't believe - it makes no difference. Believe that there is a soul or not - it makes no difference. But use the method." The emphasis is on the method, because they say if the method is used you will realize whatsoever is the principle - the principle is meaningless. That's why in India, there have been nine systems, but the method has remained the same; the matter doesn't differ at all.
Mahavira says there is no God, but achieves the same; the matter is the same. Buddha even says there is no soul - no God, no soul; but the method remains the same and he achieves the same.
Hindus say there is a God, there is soul; but the method remains the same and they achieve the same. Doctrines are just jumping boards, so what board you use is irrelevant.
Only JUMP! - that is relevant.
What board you use is irrelevant, because really we are concerned with the jump! If you can jump from a blue board, okay. If you can jump from a red board, okay. If you can jump from a black board, okay. We are not concerned with boards, jumping boards. We are concerned with jumping - Jump!.
That's why yoga is the essence of the Eastern mind, not Vedant, not Buddhism, not Jainism, not Samkhya, not VAISHESHIK, no - yoga is the essence. These are all doctrines, jumping boards.
The jumping board is your choice, your liking.
And really, the wise ones have never argued about the jumping boards. They say, "Okay, it is your liking, so choose the color." You can be a Mohammedan, you can be a Christian, you can be a Hindu; or, you can even be an agnostic. And really, this is one of the wonderful things: even if you are an atheist, okay. Use the method, take the jump, and the thing will happen, because the thing is not dependent on doctrines. And the happening will be there because the happening is not dependent at all on what principle, what ideology, what ISM you follow - the happening depends on the jumping!
Because of this emphasis, the Eastern consciousness has never tried to convert anyone. They say that the mosque is as good as the temple, as any church. They say that THE BIBLE is as good as the VEDA; the KORAN is as good as the GITA. And one need not go to convert someone from a Mohammedan to a Hindu and from a Hindu to a Mohammedan - this is childish nonsense. There is no need to convert anyone.
Let him stand on his board; but let him not continue standing there - that is the thing. Let him jump!
Let him jump from the Christian board; let him jump from the Mohammedan board, but let him jump - the jumping is essential. Remember this always. Only then can you go deep into the esoteric, oriental esotericism. Enough about the jumping boards - now the jumping.