You know the experience of a dream, you can see in the dream. Your eyes are closed but you can see that you are swimming in the pool of water, in dream you can see that you're talking to somebody or you are moving about. How do you do that, senses are all closed and yet you hear during your sleep in your dream, you talk to somebody, you can meet somebody. So many sceneries you can see, good, bad, all kinds of sceneries. By what do you see? It is the sense–mind, this was the discovery of the Vedic Rishis, of the Upanishadic seers; this was also known to the Vedic seers but it was recovered.
The methods of Vedantic knowledge were all known to the Vedic Rishis but that knowledge was buried. To recover the knowledge, the Upanishadic seers also recovered the same processes, which the Vedic Rishis had discovered but even that was not enough,− this is the first part of Sri Aurobindo's chapter on the methods of Vedic knowledge. The knowledge of the senses and the knowledge gained through the sixth sense and then Sri Aurobindo speaks of the knowledge obtained by reason that is beyond the sense–mind there is the faculty in us, − the faculty of reason. This reason works only with ideas not with words; this is a speciality of reason.
Reason can function only through ideas, it may make use of words but merely words will not give you any result in the reason, unless you get at the ideas, your reasoning will not function properly, this is the second level. As Mother told me, you are thinking with words today, you should start thinking with ideas. That is the real proper exercise of reason; reason arrives only when you begin to think with ideas, − this is the second part of the chapter. Then Sri Aurobindo says there is a third, the word that is used by Sri Aurobindo to describe the third is called intuition. What is the speciality of intuition, what is known by the sixth sense and what is grasped by ideas is all grasped by an experience this is called intuition. There is no intuition without experience, but not merely experience, an experience which you can have when you widen yourself to the utmost, this is the condition. Intuition, which you attain when you widen yourself to the utmost, heighten yourself to the utmost, you widen–widen yourself, heighten–heighten yourself, and when you reach that level and then experience would be obtained, the real experience, − that is intuition. It is by intuition that is the real method of Vedantic knowledge.
You cross the borders of senses, you cross the borders of reason then you enter into the field of intuition and widen yourself, heighten yourself, as much as possible, this was the practice that the Upanishadic seers employed and they recovered the knowledge, which was in the Veda, they broke through the veil of words and symbolism.
These three efforts were made, what are the three efforts?
This effort was not limited to one section of people, but an effort which was spread over all sections of people; it was a multisided effort, the effort which was spread over a large number of people; to break the veil and to discover the intuitive knowledge behind the words and symbolism. The intensity of effort in which knowledge was regarded as Supreme, for which one would be required to sacrifice everything else, − this was the intensity of the effort.
I'm repeating because the whole of Indian history is nothing but these three, if you want to understand Indian history. What is Indian history, the entire character of Indian history is the threefold effort, because the Upanishads determined the very character of the soul of India. And these three things have remained throughout the ups and downs of Indian history and whenever there is a downward movement, it starts again with this threefold effort. And by this threefold effort again and again the veils are broken, words are broken, the symbolism is broken; intensity of knowledge is again expressed. The history of India, some of the best people have said all this is inferior, − we want knowledge, this is the special characteristic of India, pursuit of knowledge is of the greatest importance for which everything else can be sacrificed, this is a constant theme of Indian history.
And thirdly, do not limit the pursuit of knowledge to one section of people. Even when it is being done the revolutionaries have come and said , ‘break the idols’ and asserted that everybody be free to access knowledge, everybody, even when boundaries are laid down, the boundaries are fixed strongly, even then there has been revolt against it and all sections of people should have this knowledge. What was reserved at one time only for a few, the next period comes it is broken and that knowledge is given to the rest. There is a constant effort of participation of all, no exclusion, all are to be integrated, all are to be properly harmonised. Therefore, I am repeating these three words because the entire history of India is covered in these three terms of a constant effort at breaking the veil of words and symbolism and effort to go beyond language.