Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur talks With Dr. Magnus Hirschfield of Berlin – September, 18 1931. Published in The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani)
The Thirst For Knowledge
Question: What are the main features of your teachings?
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati: We are agents who require help from outside to sustain our existence. The help that is coming to us at present is inadequate. Inadequacy is the normal condition of the present atmosphere. An examination of our rationalistic principle shows that we require more help than our friends offer. We have five senses to pick up the knowledge of the Truth. We desire that we should be endowed with more knowledge. Our thirst is not quenched by the ordinary knowledge deducible from sense-perception available from the empiric professors. This impulse leads us to enquire as to how we can have more knowledge than can be had here.
We are also found to believe that there is an agency who is not furnishing the requisite knowledge because we are proving ineligible for admission to the plane of adequate knowledge. This is the source of the theistic conception regarding necessity in our existence to see the nature of apparent truths. Hence also the conception of the necessity of the coming of the special agent of the absolute knowledge, as our thirst is never to be quenched by the supply of the agents of empiric knowledge who alone are ordinarily available here.
We should seek for the Fountain-head of all knowledge. If we do not do so we find ourselves poorly supplied. Our capacity for retention of knowledge also leaves us when we choose to be conversant with local, temporary, apparent truths. The symbolical deceptive Knowledge is presented when we neglect to seek the connecting thread of all knowledge. A time comes when our physical equipment parts with all its seeming possessions.
The Theistic conception refers to a Fountain-head where Knowledge is Full and Ever-existing and can impart incessant Bliss. We are pleasure-seekers through the senses. The empiric view does not offer the facility to supply us with incessant Bliss. There must be a Theistic view. We have to scrutinize the position of absolute knowledge, Existence and Bliss required by us. We must seek for the place where the Absolute knowledge, existence and Bliss is to be had.
In Mathematics we get a glimpse of the fourth dimension. We are practically restricted to the third dimension by our senses except for a very hazy idea of direction only. Unless the fountain-head could be traced we cannot cease from seeking, or from being debarred and led astray from, Knowledge that supplies an enduring basis for true existence. We are thus compelled by the very direction of all our activities to seek after things which should be called Absolute. Or, to sum up, as we pass our days in the non-Absolute region we should have the impulse to have access to the transcendental region.
If we are not to have full knowledge, Un-ending Life, Un-interrupted Bliss, this life would be pessimistic existence. We shall then submit to be born, grow and pass away without tackling the inadequacies of the phenomena.
We should trace the Fountain-Head, the Real Cause from Whom all these have emanated, not being content with the agnosticism that prevails more or less at present.
We should seek for more knowledge than we get from our senses. We hope that some clue of the transcendental world should be received by us through a particular process unknown to men with sensuous habits who are busy with phenomena only, concocting many ideas about the future life. Some subscribe to metempsychosis, some to this life only, for completing all preparations for peace at the long end. These varying opinions do not satisfy for the reason that they are secular. The tentative solutions offered by speculative philosophy are stained by this radical defect. They give particular views that do not satisfy, being based upon mundane condition investigated through the senses.
The Absolute possessed of all Knowledge, Existence, Bliss, can give all that we are in need of. We are not in a position to advance one step beyond these three dimensions. We are restricted to the partial view. We cannot get the whole impression of a globular sphere at a glance. Some turning or transformation of the angle of vision is required for the purpose of getting the full view. We get the view of only a quarter of the all-round. We see 180 degrees at a time. If we want to see at our backs we have to turn our head to that direction. Then half the sphere is exposed.
At a glance we see only a quarter of the sphere of existence. So we are lacking in simultaneous grasp of the whole idea. We should not therefore turn agnostics etc. When we fail to have the full view fully at one time we should know that our determination of self concerns but an infinitesimal part of the fountain-head from Whom many things have emanated. We should on the contrary, trace Him from where deviation is not possible. The challenging part is to have no lien to deviate from the Fountain-Head.
Any deviation is only part and parcel of phenomena, not the whole thing. The immanent and transcendent are ignored. We engage ourselves in one thing with our whole attention, but the exposition of the thing gives a partial idea. If the attributes are eliminated the original thing is to be sought in which many things are incorporated. Incorporation itself gives very little of the whole integer. Our senses fail to get at the whole thing at one time.
Our brain cannot accommodate Fullness, Ever-existence without beginning or ending of time. So the position of the Absolute should be traced in the person of the Absolute. The Absolute was in the beginning, is existing in every present phenomenon that will disturb the process of transformation and will destroy the phenomenal position. All knowledge will be distinctive and will destroy and put a stop to these things.
But that thing should be traced out. We should acquire the conception of the thing through the senses at present. Sound gives impressions of objects at a distance, like abstracted ideas from the concrete. Abstract ideas like charity etc., in a subtle form tend to captivate the brain in favour of perception and conception of things through the senses. Sound conveying impressions of phenomena requires corroboration from the four other senses and the mind as well.
We reject sounds whose validity is required to be testified to by the other senses. The transcendental Sound has got a distinctive character. The sound from the fourth dimension received by the ear has got a special potency to clear out all restricted ideas and to include everything of phenomena. The sounds we hear are meant to be restricted to the third dimension, to be transcended by the fourth and higher dimensions. The transcendental Sound clears out all impediments that block the path of the Sound.
The idea of immanence cannot be secured unless we break down the molecules. Unless we break them we cannot go to the other side, transcend time and space. That Sound will give a clear signal, a free path, by which we can make some progress towards the Absolute. That Sound should be received through instruction. We should undo what we have received hitherto. There will be no loss. The distinctive feature of that Sound is that it should incorporate all reciprocal objects along with the Sound. That Sound should not be neglected because of its distinctive quality as coming from the Transcendent and so includes all and at the same time comes with all potencies to clear out all sorts of un-aesthetic and wrong impressions received from our aptitude to enjoy the world which should not hamper our progress towards the Full and Eternal.
We are only showing our natural aptitude and should not be denied. We should lend our ear to receive the transcendental Sound. We should stop all our senses for the time being and receive the things and not merely their attributions. The transcendental Sounds are given us by the Fountain-Head Who can take the initiative. He is not ‘It’. He is to be deemed as Male-Moiety of the things, of the subservient phenomena. The transcendental Sound should not lack any part of the Integer.
The transcendental Sound is equipped with All-potency. As the potency of Sound is restricted we find diverse existences in different things and are not in a position to receive things in full. Partial conceptions also make us forget. We should shake off all other ideas and thoughts for the time being. We expect the Absolute Language flowing into the ear to include all languages. If we behave otherwise, that Sound cannot communicate itself to us.
The transcendental Sound has got innumerable potencies. It has power of delegating power to us to receive all of it. When it comes from an unknown region it should first inject such power to our feeble receiving instrument as would enable us to welcome it. We must not show a challenging or rejecting attitude as we are liable to do towards advice offered gratis.
We should know that the transcendental Sound has the necessary potencies that confer on us such desirable gifts as will enable us to neglect the other senses. Our eyes, nose, etc., will be regulated by that Sound. This is not hypnotism or mesmerism which gives anthropomorphic ideas. They are altogether beyond the human scope. They should charm and transform the human. They should not depend for any help from the senses or empiricism restricted to their poor rationalistic expedition only. Such help cannot be effective and can only hamper us, when transcendental Sounds flow into our ears from an agent who will inspect whether we desire mundane supplies or not.
The transcendental Sound will carry all the requisites necessary for receiving the Sound. We should patiently wait through the whole of our life. The transcendental Sound may come through human and all other agents, if only we are ardent, if we require his help, if we unconditionally surrender everything acquired by the empiric method, if we dismantle the constructions accrued during the empiric period. If we do not dismantle them there will be no eligibility for receiving the transcendental Sound.
The transcendental Sound will be coming out of the Initiative Faculty of the Unknown. Whatever submits to our senses is Nature’s product. When we engage our senses we fail to make progress because we have not dismantled all culture, even all aesthetic culture of this world. If we are desirous of catching the transcendental Sound we should be prepared for the time being to suspend all sensuous activities and wait for the transcendental Sound to include all.
If we ignore the Cause of causes we miss the opportunity to receive the transcendental Sound. As present people are engaging in materialistic activities we wish some sorts of elementary culture to be introduced to make them progress in the line of the full existence. Spiritualists in every part of the world are busy in threshing the subject by deferring wrongly to the mundane reference. True spiritualists speak out all even to persons who are incredulous. This incredulity will be slowly removed by the transcendental Sound. If the speaker utters anything mundane it will not lead to the transcendental Position.
If we are fortunate to receive the Sound that is beyond the human scope we should listen to it. God-head sends down His messengers in symbolised figures to give us, if we are at all really sanguine, ideas of the Absolute. It is only then that we would be enabled to make any progress. This fortune is denied to all who have love for transformable things.
Persons desirous of having the view of the whole at a glance should have their access through the transcendental Sound only and not through the senses. The distinctive feature of that Sound is that it carries all sorts of information and potencies that would give us facilities to welcome the Sound Those who neglect to attend to that sound would be unmindful of the Fountain-Head. They would be engaging in intellectual activities in this material space that cannot accommodate spirit. They would be apt to carry gross things there to enrich that region. But lanterns are not necessary for seeing the Sun.
The lanterns are useful for seeing things in the dark. It will only encumber and obstruct us if we carry the knowledge and acquisition of this world for progress in that region. We may be very simple in our habits, may be very poor in our linguistic equipment, but when the transcendental Sound reaches our ear that will clear up all dirts of our ear accumulated by previous receiving of the mundane sound. This will be secured in the company of persons who are eager to restrict their whole activity to the transcendental Process. If we pay some fee to the scoffing atheists, to the professors of empiric wisdom, to the builders of the temporal structures, etc., these partial donations in exchange will not give us the whole thing. We should not think of bartering at all. The transcendental Sound does not require any earthly media for its communication.
We must not neglect the transcendental Sound freely transmitted by the agents of the Absolute. We find ourselves interested in many things that are not known to us. The doctors do not know the remedies of many diseases. We require no monetary value in exchange for transmitting our message. We live a simple life and require little help from others in the way of scientific facilities. As we have got our ear we can receive the transcendental Sound and vocalise the same to any intelligent person who may hear us.
This will not be accessible to persons who have very little culture, who are engrossed in sensuous engagements. But we expect the intelligent section to make some preparatory progress towards a region of which we are essentially in need. In these days of materialism we are no doubt puzzled by these high thoughts. We are trying to do much to enrich the human intellect. But we are startled when we are told to look beyond. This is silly.
We want to rouse up the true mentality of the civilized world for seeking true help towards spiritual progress. The secular help cannot appease our inner hunger. The transcendental Help can. We intelligent people should receive the transcendental Sound. We are now vitally concerned in this as everyone is engaged in exploring ways and means for getting rid of our present unbearable inadequacies. We should spare a portion of our time to receive those Sounds.
Immerse your consciousness in pure transcendental Sound. Visit our Kirtan section to hear chanting by Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad and receive pure transcendental sound as it descends from the transcendental realm.