Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Awareness and Knowledge

Today, I was on the bus with a couple of friends from Uni. They were talking about the word "aware". It got me thinking. Almost every language I have been exposed to uses the phrases "to know" and "to be aware" differently. There is a very beautiful difference. 
Knowledge wears a grey suit. 
Awareness has wings. :)

You can easily replace one with the other. Like you can say "I am aware of that" instead of "I know". However, when you are really aware, you know but you cannot explain how it makes you feel. When you are aware you know that knowledge is not everything. That there is a certain degree of levitation associated even with ordinary life. 
Like knowing that water droplets run over a lotus leaf like mercury but then taking one on off on the tip of your index finger and feeling it!
Knowing that you breathe all the time in order to survive but closing your eyes and trying to follow your breath in and out of your lungs. 
It could be knowledge and sensitivity together. It could be knowing with a flexible mind. More so a flexible ego. Better still, a flexible, knowing mind full of compassion. Is that awareness? 

It is an evasive, ethereal word. 
How would a Westerner react to "अहम् ब्रम्हास्मि।"?
If you translate it literally, it would be considered an expression of an inflated ego but I think it is closest to how we can explain awareness. 
That is what separates scholars from enlightened ones. The fact that they are aware of the God within them!


शिरीष said...

What you have written is close to awareness!

अहं ब्र्म्हास्मि You have given a perfect example!

मकरंद said...


True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.
And in knowing that you know nothing, that makes you the smartest of all.
:- Socrates (469 BC - 399 BC)

RJ said...

Funny you asked how a westerner would react to "Aham Brahmasi". As always I have a story about it :). I was taking part in a rogain and met a fella. (A rogain is when you have to use a compass and common knowledge in a bushland to find clues and make points. The one who makes most loses....nah...kidding...they win :) ). When we were all on the verge of passing out around the barbie later, he asked me if I was from India. Of hearing a positive response, he went on to say...."Aham Brahmasi mate...never forget that". Said he has been studying Sanskrit and loves India and Yoga. He seemed to know a lot more about India than I did .....

RJ said...

PS : I went of a tangent :)
What I also wanted to bring up is that he was more "aware" :)

Saee said...

@ Baba
Thank you..sorry for the late reply.
@ Makarand.,
Thanks again and also for the enlightening emails.
@ Ranjeet
Yeah. I sometimes do Yogasanas with some locals here and I feel really ashamed when they adhere to being the ideal "yogis" described in the Geeta and it reflects in all their actions. Some of them have even been to Pune to Iyengar Yoga and learnt it all from the masters. Makes you proud and embarrassed at the same time.
Thanks for the comments. :)