Dharma

Track Running Dharma 102

THE QUEST FOR CERTAINTY

Now let us see another kind of search; for Permanence of another kind. You will have experienced sometimes what is called `doubt'. Now, Descartes is very famous to underline the phenomenon of doubt. And he said that human beings cannot rest in the state of doubt. And this is a very important discovery he made. There is something in a human being, where the state of doubt always keeps you in a disbalance. This may be true, this may not be true. This may be true in one way; this may not be true in that way. Maybe neither is true − neither this is true, nor that is true. And when you go on in this fashion, you cannot rest; it makes you really in a state of disequilibrium. And if you examine human psychology you will find that human beings cannot rest in a state of doubt. You try your best, when there is a doubt in the mind, you will find you cannot rest. If you want to disbalance anybody, put a doubt in the mind, and you will find that the human consciousness will go on unbalancing itself. You may be sure about somebody, and just introduce the poison of a question mark, and say: maybe this is not true. You may be absolutely sure, but somebody just suggests: maybe it is not true, and this is enough to disbalance. And therefore Descartes said: "We must find the remedy of doubt." In other words, the remedy of disbalance, how to bring a complete balance? And he said it can come about only in a state of certitude. You must be absolutely certain. When there is certainty, then you are absolutely stable, then you can rest. And this is a great demand, in fact all the studies that you are making in the world is a search of Knowledge. And Knowledge is by definition that which cannot be doubted. This is the definition of Knowledge. Knowledge is always true knowledge and true knowledge is that which cannot be doubted. That, which is really true, undoubtedly true, is knowledge which cannot be questioned. Therefore, Descartes wanted to find out what is that about which we can be absolutely certain, about which there can be no doubt at all.

Now his conclusion was... It was after a lot of thinking. Actually he had written a big book called "Meditations", in which he has raised questions about everything that can be questioned, everything. That is a very big quest he made. What is it about which you can question? He even questioned that when I am sitting here, can it be questioned that I am sitting or not? It seems so certain that I am sitting, I am talking to you, you are looking at me. He asked this question: "Can I be absolutely certain?" He said: "Yes, it can be doubted. In my dreams very often I've found myself sitting, talking to somebody else, and suddenly I open my eyes and l find that I was not sitting." So, he felt that even this simple thing can be questioned, can be doubted. But he said: "One thing cannot be doubted: that I am doubting, cannot be doubted". The fact I am doubting, cannot be doubted. Because if I doubt, I am affirming that I am doubting. The very fact that I doubt, affirms doubt. So he arrived at certainty. He said: "I cannot doubt that I doubt." From there he came to the next proposition: "For doubting I must think. Without thinking you cannot doubt." So he said, "I cannot doubt that I am thinking." And then there was a step further: I cannot think if I am not. `I think', therefore he came to a conclusion that there is absolutely certainty; `I am'. So one thing he came to the conclusion is the certainty: I am. This cannot be doubted because even for doubting I must exist. If I doubt, I must doubt, and I must be, therefore he came to the conclusion, as Shakti said: "I think, therefore I am." That was his conclusion. One certainty, "I think, therefore I am." It is with this thing that he settled down, as it were, as if he had done a tremendous exercise and rested. This is the first resting point, he said. In the whole world there is one resting point: I am. "Cogito ergo sum". That is his famous expression. Cogito: I think, ergo means therefore, sum means I am. I think, therefore I am.

But afterwards he did not actually rest there. He went on the search of certainty. He said, after this can I make something more certain? I am not going to take you on the journey of Descartes. One day, when I have time, I shall take you on the journey of Descartes, as to what certainty he arrived at. But the certainty arrived at was something tremendous. Out of this simple thing he came to the certainty: God exists. Imagine how many steps he must have taken thereafter. He said: "I exist, that is certain." And then from there he derived a very big conclusion, with certainty. There was no question he said: "You can be absolutely certain that God exists." Therefore all those who question the existence of God, they need to read Descartes, because it is a great exercise in the mind. I always recommend to people, first, all those who question the existence of God, I say: you start with Descartes, because there was no doubter in the world as great as Descartes. All his Meditations are full of doubt, uncertainty, and then arriving at absolute certainty. You cannot question − in which you can rest, you can be absolutely certain. And this certainty from the proposition:' I think therefore I am; and from there he came to the conclusion: therefore, there is an absolute certainty that God exists. It is a tremendous proposition. I am not taking you now through the argument as to how he arrived to this conclusion. It is a very interesting argument that he develops, and he shows conclusively, after having passed through this exercise, you cannot intellectually ask the question at all whether God exists or not. There is absolutely certainty that God exists. And this is not an Indian mind which is very much accused that it believes in everything, very easily. No, this is a pure Western mind trying its hardest to doubt everything that is possible. It is that hardest mind which came to the conclusion: God exists. And when he came to this conclusion, he felt he had now arrived at something that holds. Otherwise everything was floating away, flying away. But once you have this certainty that God exists − he found that he arrived at something that holds. That gave him a tremendous satisfaction. Just as there is a search of; permanence, there is a search for certainty.  

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