Should I Read Scriptures?
What role do scriptures play for a spiritual seeker? Sadhguru looks at the difference between knowledge and knowing and tells us a story about Krishna and Arjuna to illustrate the point.
What is the role of scriptures for a spiritual seeker?
Sadhguru: There is something called knowledge, which is an accumulated mass of memory, and there is something called knowing, which is sheer perception of life. Knowledge is just your conclusion about life. If you come to a conclusion about life from accumulated knowledge, it becomes prejudiced knowledge. It will not allow you to experience anything afresh. Nothing new will ever happen to you. Knowledge is useful for your survival process but it never liberates you.
Should you not take care of your survival? You definitely should, but when a little worm with a minuscule fraction of the brain you have, can survive pretty well on this planet, should you spend your whole life on survival when you have such a big brain? In the yogic systems, we look at the mind as having sixteen parts. They say just one of these sixteen parts is enough to be super-successful in the material world. The remaining fifteen should be focused on your inner wellbeing because that is a much vaster space than the material world. Even scientists today say that just four percent of the universe is creation, and the rest is dark matter and dark energy. So, four percent of your mind is enough but the ancient yogis were a little more generous. They gave you a little more than six percent to very successfully conduct your material life!
So, with all due respect to the scriptures, it is accumulated knowledge. If it was a book of engineering or literature or history, I would say read it. If it is a book of knowledge of the self, if you are here and alive, it is better to read this book that is yourself than to read some other book. You are a book written by the creator himself. It is best to read this if you want to know about this life. Whatever other books you take, even if they happened to be God’s own words, if it is written in some language obviously it was written by human beings. Human minds are given to enormous distortion. If you see something today with your own eyes and tell your neighbor, he goes and tells someone else. If it goes through twenty-five people in twenty-four hours and comes back to you, can you recognize that story? It is very obvious that human beings are capable of enormous distortion. When something has come down for thousands of years, you can imagine how much could have happened to it on the way.
If you want to know yourself, don’t read a book written by someone else. If you read about yourself in a book, you are not real, you are just a story. You need to look within. You must have the necessary instruments to turn around and look at this. I am not trying to trash everything that has ever been written but if you learn to go into the deeper dimensions of who you are, you will see, all scriptures will be stale.
When Krishna was giving the Gita to Arjuna, every time Krishna said something, Arjuna who received the best education in those days because he was a prince, would say, “But no. This scripture says something else.” He was referring to all the books he had read. Krishna laughed and said, “When the light has risen within a human being, all your scriptures are like a tank full of water when the flood has come.”
If you are living in a desert, a tank full of water may feel like an ocean to you. When the flood has come, what meaning does a tank full of water have? When the creator is throbbing within you every moment, you must look within.