By: Nistha Patel
Knowledge comes to one’s mind when the word ’gyan’ is mentioned. So, is gyan merely knowledge or is there something more to it? Knowledge is such a broad term. When we think about it many questions come to mind. What is knowledge? How and where do you get knowledge from? Gyan (knowledge) is so powerful that without it one would be lost and would not have a meaningful life. It’s through knowledge we learn our way of life. Knowledge is what helps us make everyday choices or decisions. An action is always preceded by a thought that we get when we have knowledge about something. Our minds constantly think about the gyan we obtain. Think about the following scenario: A person is stranded in the middle of nowhere and is starting to get very hungry. He sees a fruit on a tree that he has never seen before. Thoughts start storming his mind about whether the fruit is edible or not. If only he had any knowledge on that fruit, he would know to pick the fruit and eat it or not. In this instance, knowledge about the tree or the fruit would help him determine whether or not this fruit was edible. Knowledge helps differentiate wrong from right. That’s why having the right gyan helps shape our lives in a positive direction. Anything can give us gyan, but not all the knowledge is necessary or useful. It is now more than ever we need help in understanding knowledge, as our minds are fed constant information through our modern way of life. We have access to just about everything we want to know at our fingertips. So where do we learn about Gyan (knowledge)? To understand better, Paramguru has discussed the importance of Gyan throughout all his teachings. Paramguru has differentiated the types of Gyan and what they are.
To understand more about Gyan, we should first know the types of Gyan. Paramguru has categorized Gyan into three types:
- Rochak gyan
- Bhayanak gyan
- Satvik gyan.
Rochak gyan is any gyan obtained for the pleasure of our minds to get through daily life. For example, watching T.V., listening to music, or reading a novel is all considered rochak gyan. Garba is also one type of rochak gyan. People spend 9/10 days out of the year doing garba for mataji, but are they really doing it because of their faith and devotion or because it is fun? Any type of knowledge or religious activity based in fun or pleasure is rochak gyan. But do any of these activities help us achieve self-actualization so we can reach Karta? – No. Bhayanak gyan, on the other hand, is simply superstition. Superstition is a belief not based on reasoning or knowledge, but rather fear and doom. For example, people believe that if a cat crosses the path they are traveling, something bad will happen to them. Some people believe if they don’t do a particular puja or ceremony, a mataji or dev will get mad and punish them. This is all bhayanak gyan. We aren’t doing something out of faith, we are doing it out of fear. This will not help us strengthen our faith or reach Karta.
Satvik or adhyatmik gyan is knowledge that is obtained through spiritual or seva related experiences. This type of knowledge helps us understand our ansh (soul) and Karta. Doing satsang, reading Paramguru’s Granths, doing morning and evening upasana, listening to Gurujis pravachans or even simply attending shibirs and nishra give us positive vibes which lead to good thoughts and eventually good karma. We must keep satvik knowledge in our thoughts (vichaar) at all times for positivity. Think about this: When we watch a really good episode of our TV show or we see a really good movie. We becoming engrossed in it. We are constantly thinking about it and wondering what might happen next. We start discussing possible outcomes or storylines with our friends as well. Eventually, for a short amount of time, we become consumed with thoughts about this TV show or movie. Now, if instead of a TV show or movie, we did the same with Satsang using Satvik knowledge, we could not only increase our own positivity, but also help others increase theirs. If we focus on obtaining positive knowledge, we will be less likely to be distracted by negative beliefs and superstition.
A good way for all of us to obtain Satvik gyan is by listening to Guruji’s pravachan and doing satsang. Our thoughts will then be consumed with Satsang-related topics that will help improve our day to day lives in a positive manner ultimately leading to an overall change in our behavior. Satvik Gyan will help us understand how negative influences hurt us and how we can liberate ourselves from negative bonds and continue to stay away from them. Satvik Gyan is the very foundation of our sampradaya. Without it, one cannot be a true devotee of Paramguru and ultimately of Kaival Karta.