Isha Upanishad - Super school - Auroville - Isha Upanishad 804

If there is only one reality and if that reality by nature is full of consciousness then there cannot be ignorance anywhere at all. Let us put down this argument, if there is only one Reality and it is that reality's character is consciousness, full consciousness. Then there cannot exist anywhere what we call ignorance, and yet we do find ignorance exists in the world. We are all ignoring, the whole world is ignorant. There is a very big question, that this ignorance must be a result only of self-limitation of consciousness. It is only if the consciousness has limited itself deliberately, restrained its consciousness to spread everywhere then only this preposition will be tenable. There's only one Reality, whose nature is consciousness, if there is ignorance, it is not the absence of consciousness, it can be only if there is a power of consciousness, to restrain itself. So that an island of ignorance is created in the consciousness, it has a capacity of moulding itself in many ways. The consciousness is multilayered, capable of multi-layers. Then it can modulate, as I said, you're cooking the food a child comes suddenly, even then you're able to have another dimension of consciousness immediately. This is the power of consciousness. So in our hypothesis the basic point is that there is basically a Reality which is conscious, but the nature of consciousness is that it is capable of various kinds of modulations. It can modulate, it’s just like our voice and singing. There is sound in us, sound has a capacity of modulations, it can be loud, it can be shrill, it can be soft, it can be sweet, it can be harsh, all kinds of different modulations of the same sound. Similarly, consciousness also has this capacity of modulation, integral concentration in which all knowledge is immediately present, like Indra having thousand eyes, even with your thousand eyes, you still are able to concentrate only on one perception, keeping at the back all the 999 perceptions, and concentrate only on one perception that is also possible. If you're a good dancer, you will see how a dancer forgets everything else and is concentrated only on a little gesture of a finger, as if dead there is nothing else, only that gesture. All else's presence is not abolished, its present but concentration is only upon that and that is emphasised.

Question: It's saying that we are ignorant but we don't know actually how to use the ignorance?

Answer: Good, you're right. You know, I feel very happy with these questions because these are very fundamental questions. What is knowledge, what is ignorance, why ignorance and how ignorance arises. You might not know but there are many philosophers, who have declared that ignorance cannot be explained. As in philosophy, which says ignorance cannot be explained, there is a word in Sanskrit, which is called, anirvachaniya, means inexplicable. vachaniya is which can be expressed, which can be explained but anirvachaniya which cannot be explained. There is a big philosophy in India, which says ignorance cannot be explained. It is even said, it is a supra-rational mystery, it is a mystery which our mind can never diagnose, can never find out. There is ignorance, how it has come about. If reality is all luminous, how can there be any ignorance at all. These questions are very formidable questions, very important questions and that is why all of us must study this problem, very seriously.

Question: But in philosophy, we also tried to explain.

Answer: Yes and that is why it is said that with the mind it is not explicable. Philosophers have admitted, many philosophers like Shankaracharya one of the greatest philosophers of the world and his philosophy says that ignorance cannot be explained. As a part of his philosophy ignorance cannot be explained, it is anirvachaniya, it is there.

Question: Is something that you said earlier, about that you know and you restrain what you know and therefore ignorance is not inherent. It is something else.

Answer: Let me see and explain to you. I turn to the example of acting; you take the role of Shakuntala in a drama. You know the story of Shakuntala? You know the story of Desdemona and Othello, no, all right. You are playing the role of Desdemona. Othello comes and asks you the question: ‘Where is the handkerchief’? You have to act properly that is to say, she knows that the handkerchief is there. As an actor, you know that that the handkerchief will not be found ultimately. Here you have to at the time express the sentiment, yes, it is here. As a human being you know that the handkerchief is not there because Desdemona really believes that the handkerchief is there.  You know the whole story, as an actress, you know that that handkerchief will not be found there. How will you, with what effectivity will you hide your knowledge that that handkerchief is not there. You identify yourself so much with the role that you're playing so that you spontaneously say, ‘yes, it is there’. Surely, as if with your true consciousness as Desdemona not as an actress, as Desdemona, ‘yes, it is here’, it'll be shown natural only if you forget completely what you are. At that moment you're completely ignorant that the handkerchief is not there, then you're acting is perfect. You have really forgotten all that you know as an actress. In fact, in all acting this is a super moment, when you know the whole real story.