If you read this whole chapter you will find that Sri Aurobindo explains to us the nature of the Divine. The whole chapter actually describes the nature of the Divine. How the Divine himself is the shastra. The Divine himself as a shastra, the Divine himself as the divine knowledge, the Divine knowledge of the process by which one can enter into relationship with the Divine. The Divine himself as the effort, the Divine himself as a labourer, the Divine himself as a pupil, as a student and how the Divine relates himself with the student as a student and as a teacher. And now we have the Divine himself as the Divine Teacher. And if you look upon the Divine you will find that the Divine can be look upon in many different ways. He can be looked upon as the Lord of the universe; he can be looked upon as the one who upholds the universe; the Divine as the enjoyer of the universe, one who plays with the universe. The Divine can be seen as one who is indifferent to the universe. He is so above the universe that the universe is simply a small play in one of his fingertip. The Divine can be seen as one who is turning the wheel of the universe in which all human beings are like the cogs of the machine. But the Divine can also be seen as our teacher and here we have the description of him as our teacher. As our teacher he is first a veiled master, a master who is not seen by us and yet who is working with us and above us as instructor. How does he instruct? By why is he veiled? Why is that veil seen? Why is he not seen as a teacher? And Sri Aurobindo answers in the very first paragraph that we are going to read.
“This inner Guide is often veiled at first by the very intensity of our personal effort and by the ego’s preoccupation with itself and its aims.” Because we are labouring too much and because we are preoccupied with our own petty aims of life, the great master who is behind remains veiled for us. We do not have as yet questionings in our mind, we behave as if we know the answers to the questions, we labour as if we know what we have to do, what we must do, what we want to do. And unless we ask questions the teacher does not unveil himself. The first task that we have with our teacher is to go with a bag of questions. Unless you have questions the teacher does not reveal himself. So long as we know what we have to do –– most of us know what we have to do, although in our quiet moments we admit that we do not know who we are, we don’t know what is our life and what we have to do in it. In our quiet moments we do that. But in our active life we behave as if we know what we have to do. Somebody says something and we know how to react to it immediately. We know how to become angry, we know how to be displeased, we know how to please, how to welcome. We know everything as it were, all that is needed in our life, and because of this knowledge, which is ignorance, the Divine Teacher is veiled. In the Bhagavad Gita it is said that if you want to go to the teacher you should go with pari prashnena, you should have repeated questioning –– sevaya –– and you should serve the teacher. These are the two methods of approaching the teacher: by repeated questioning when you begin to suspect that you are ignorant, which you don’t normally do, but when you begin to suspect that you do not know then the questions arise and then the attitude develops in us of serving the teacher. Pari prashnena sevaya. Sevaya means by means of seva, of service. Pari prashnena means repeated questions, not only prashna, pari prashnena. Repeated questioning, again and again you question. That is why in the Indian system there is always a beginning of studies which says of Athabrahmajigyasa Now there is the query, the desire to know the Brahman, the Divine. The master is to be known, in order to receive instruction we have to know him. The more we question him the more unveiled he becomes. The more we receive the answers from him the greater become our preoccupation, not with ourselves, but with him.
“As we gain in clarity and the turmoil of egoistic effort gives place to a calmer self–knowledge, we recognise the source of the growing light within us.” Day before yesterday I began to speak on what is knowledge. It was just the introduction to the idea of knowledge. But a greater understanding of knowledge comes when we consider the contrast between knowledge and information. As I said last time all knowledge is uncovering. And the uncovering is done in many ways. Word, I told you, is way of uncovering. You hear a word and the word uncovers. Idea is presented and it can be seen as a ray of light which also uncovers. Another way of uncovering is to gain information. In fact, information in our present day is so important that to us all information is knowledge and all knowledge is information as if there is nothing else than information. It is only when we come to deeper levels of understanding that you find that true knowledge is far transcendental of information. To get information about soul is not soul knowledge. You read ten books on the description of the soul and you find you are exactly where you are almost. You may read ten books about the knowledge of God, it is information about God but that is not God knowledge. Even with the world we have much information but truly to know the world unless you become one with the world, there is knowledge by identity, you do not know the world. You may have information: I know who is my uncle, who is my father, who is my mother but you do not know. Knowledge is a different dimension.