Knowledge (Dnyan) is a thing that even after endless evolutionary forms, it is very difficult to attain. But it could even be grasped in a fraction of a second; such is Knowledge.
Imagination is so strong, and its scope is so infinite, that you can imagine anything. You can imagine a rat with a million heads. One can imagine oneself to be a king. The universe is the outcome of imagination. But in the end, there is a check. Imagination cannot reach eternity. There is no question of time in eternity. That thing which has no beginning and no end, how can it be limited by time?
What was in the beginning? But when there is no beginning, how can there be a beginning at all? Any amount of imagination cannot think about infinity. This Knowledge comes within a second, though even after an infinite number of forms, it cannot be grasped. When it comes, it comes in a second.
Vedanta, which cannot reach it, explains it. We can compare God to a boundless, shoreless ocean. We are all drops in the ocean. We can imagine drops and ocean, but we cannot imagine Dnyan. What is it that we cannot imagine? It is a Thing where there is no beginning and no end. This is Dnyan. The only thing that we cannot imagine is what is beyond beginning and what is beyond end. No one is able to grasp this. Even the rishis and munis are baffled.
"The falcon of Knowledge can never be caught in the net of imagination. So fold this net, for therein you catch nothing but emptiness."
Only Sadgurus can give this Knowledge in a split second. Taking into consideration what Hafiz has said, we come to the conclusion that, however deeply we may think about what is beginningless beginning, we are unable to grasp it, explain it.
In the beginning there was God, and before God there was God; and before God there was God! What is in the end? God. And after that? God.
Through the medium of intellect this cannot be explained, because there the imagination is baffled, and mind and intellect cannot do anything. Mind is strong in imagination, and through the imagination of the mind, the whole world is created and conducted. But where the imagination of the mind gets obstructed, there is Dnyan! And for imagination to go, mind must go, but consciousness must be retained. So where is Dnyan? Where the power of imagination ends, there is Dnyan. It can be called "swayambhu" – automatic. It comes from God of its own accord. The Knowledge of God means Infinite Power, Bliss, Beauty and Everything. Then, instantaneously, everything is absolutely clear in the twinkling of an eye.
What is your own swayambhu dnyan (automatic knowledge)? It is that you know that you are a human being. This knowledge is not intellectual. You know you are a man. Yet, you do not think about this, you do not doubt this. A woman knows that she is a woman. It is self-knowledge of womanhood. Such knowledge can be termed as swayambhu.
In the same way, there is Divine Swayambhu. This Knowledge is real Knowledge. He who has this Knowledge not only sees himself in everything and everywhere, but lives the very life of God. This Knowledge cannot be gained, even after practicing sadhana for millions of years and lives, without the help of a Sadguru. Without contact with a Sadguru, Union is not possible; but such contact, too, is possible in very rare cases. But again, this is Union and not Dnyan.
God alone is real. Everything else is in God. We are one with Him, but due to ignorance, we experience separation. But this separation, in turn, is necessary to realize our Oneness with Him. Now, because we are already one with this Swayambhu Knowledge, it cannot be given by God. Once this Knowledge of God, which is called Swayambhu individualized, is gained, one can impart that Knowledge to anyone. Dnyan is already there in everyone, but who is to give it? For that reason, a Sadguru is necessary. But a Sadguru will not give it to just anyone. He cannot give it to one who has not annihilated himself completely. He gives it to one who has surrendered himself one hundred percent, or to one who has a very, very close or deep connection with him. Sadgurus can give this Knowledge in a second. But one who wants this Knowledge must have the necessary preparedness. Only then, the Sadguru gives help. He does not give this Knowledge to those who are unprepared; for, in their case, it would be like throwing pearls before swine. That has been the law.
In short, that which you cannot imagine is Dnyan, which even the rishis and munis cannot imagine. When one fails to grasp the Divine Swayambhu Knowledge, how can one grasp the One who has that Knowledge? But when you come in contact with a Dnyani who starts explaining it, it means that you are on the way towards Dnyan. Knowledge cannot be imagined; then what of the Dnyani (possessor of the Knowledge)? When Vidnyanavestha (Divine Knowledge) cannot be imagined by the rishis, then what can they imagine about the state of a Dnyani?
Walis (saints) can give the shadow of that Knowledge, either by touch, gaze or by placing their hand on the head of anyone they like. Why do they place their hand on the head? Because it is the seat of Knowledge. So if walis, through their tawajjuh (spiritual power or force), place their hands on the heads of any persons, they receive the shadow (of the Knowledge). Even in that case, bodily consciousness is lost. But this is not Dnyan. In the Dnyaneshwari, it is written that this Dnyan cannot be gotten except through the intervention of a Sadguru.
Then this is all about Dnyan. As for myself, I think love for God is the best avenue to Real Knowledge, for God alone is worth loving.
Dnyan always comes unawares. God is so kind that it is impossible to imagine His unbounded kindness! Some think they have suffered a lot, and still God is not showering His grace on them. But the fact is that the necessary preparedness is lacking. Hafiz said:
"One tip of a hair strand is in my hand. the other in the hand of the Friend. Our tug-of-war has been going on for years." (1)
But when the appointed time comes, and the necessary preparedness is there, then Dnyan comes, irrespective of what the individual is doing at that moment. (Lord Meher, 1st. ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 11, pp. 3916 – 3918)
Five types of knowledge
According to the Sufis, there are five types of knowledge affecting human beings:
The first is the knowledge of the world, which is confined to the attainment of material well-being.
The second is the knowledge of shariat, which is mostly used by those who have acquired it to overthrow their opponents with the wordy warfare of logic and argument. This knowledge is that of the exoteric divines.
The third type of knowledge is that of the spiritual Path; and it is found with those who have seriously taken to some inner discipline and have shunned the society of exoterics. In this knowledge the ego still persists, and the consciousness of good and evil still clings to the soul. The knowledge of philosophers and thinkers is on the borderline between the second and third types of knowledge.
The fourth type of knowledge is that of God — the Self (haqiqat). One who arrives at this knowledge has no tinge of false ego left and all vestige of duality disappears.
The fifth type of knowledge is the real gnosis — the marefat of haqiqat, which Meher Baba explains, is a complete knowledge of God and a complete knowledge of the universe. This is the knowledge of Perfection possessed by the Rasool (Avatar) and the Qutub (Sadguru).
Unless a soul goes through all the different stages of knowledge, the highest stage of tasawwuf (Wisdom) which is suluk (return to normal consciousness) can never be attained. Arriving at this stage of gnosis entitles one to be called a perfect Sufi (Perfect Master). There are, however, instances where persons have reached the fourth stage of knowledge without going though the intermediary stages, but they are quite exceptional, and occur only when such persons are led by a Perfect Master.
Meher Baba divides all spiritually advanced souls into five basic types: God-merged (Perfect One), God-intoxicated, God-absorbed, God-communed and God-mad. (God speaks-p-250-251)
The only Real Knowledge is the knowledge that God is the inner dweller in good people and so-called bad, in saint and so-called sinner. This knowledge requires you to help all equally as circumstances demand, without expectation of reward, and when compelled to take part in a dispute, to act without the slightest trace of enmity or hatred; to try to make others happy, with brotherly or sisterly feeling for each one; to harm no one in thought, word or deed, not even those who harm you.