Jnana Yoga | Part 5

We have tried to explain the essential part that intuition plays in the world of science and arts. Now we pose the question: ‘How did these discoverers, inventors, composers and artists receive their creative flashes?’ The answer is simple: they allowed some question or thought to obsess them night and day. Einstein did not discover the laws of relativity without effort. He was obsessed by the mystery of time and space. His whole being was immersed in the problem. The intuitive answer that he realized was total . . . not only half an answer. He saw everything. How can something become infinitely heavy at the speed of light and at the same time have no length; how can the speed of the observer and source have no influence on the speed of light? And so on. The answer that he received defied logic and currently accepted science. He spent the rest of his life trying to put his intuited knowledge on paper and trying to fit it into a logically understandable system. The important thing to note is that the answer did not come from rational thinking. Had Einstein been attached to logical reasoning then he would still be trying to find the answer to the relationship between time and space. He would not have formulated the theory of relativity, and certainly it would not be part of present day science. This is the method of jnana yoga applied in the field of science. There are other obvious examples of people who applied the method of Jnana yoga in this field. Leonardo da Vinci is a good example of a person who applied Jnana yoga in the phenomenal world. Michaelangelo is an example of a genius who received intuitive inspiration in the field of sculpture. All great musical composers followed the path of jnana; they have expressed and created their music after receiving illuminative experience. They were all on the path ofjnana. But since they had probably never heard of the system of yoga, they did not classify themselves as jnanis.

The foundation of jnana yoga is that one should know and feel the limitations of intellectual thought. This feeling should come from the very depths of one’s heart. When you know and accept the severe limitations of the intellect, then you are ready to start the path of jnana yoga. If you believe that deep and meaningful answers can be obtained from intellectual thought and discussion then you are not yet ready to tread the path of jnana yoga. Sri Aurobindo explained this as follows: “The capital period in my intellectual life was when I could clearly see that what the intellect said might be correct or not correct, that what the intellect justifies was true and that the opposite was also true. I never admitted truth in my mind without simultaneously keeping it open to the contrary of it. .. and the result was that the prestige of the intellect was gone.”

Even modern science seems to be heading more and more in this direction. We are informed that atomic physics can only explain the behaviour of atomic particles by postulating the simultaneous action of contradictory laws. That is, laws that are logically opposite are used to define the observed phenomena of atomic particles. We are also informed that two logically contradictory laws are used to explain the behaviour of light. The world we live in is much stranger than the dictates of logic. Therefore, to tread the path of jnana yoga one should not take logical thought too seriously. You should feel the inadequacy of the intellect. This does not mean discarding the laws of social living and doing crazy things. No, it merely means that you should take all intellectual speculations and all logical games with a ‘pinch of salt’. Understand clearly that logical thought is a means to an end, nothing more; it is a tool that makes life easier and more organized. Without logical rules and laws of conduct then the world would erupt in a state of chaos. Rational thought is a necessary tool. But it cannot bring meaningful answers and deep knowledge in life.

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