Man is colonised by 90 trillion cells. What makes him distinct? Birds can fly, man can’t. He can’t swim like dolphins do or hear or smell like elephants and dogs do. Birds travel thousands of miles and return at the place of origin without GPS. Bats use sonar to echo-locate food. Bees can navigate using smell. What about the brain and neurons? Octopuses and elephants have more neurons than man. But man wants information. Why?
The one thing that man continues to clamour for is information — knowledge or intellect or intelligence. Let’s enquire this question. When did man transform from food gatherer into information gatherer?
Every cell in the body is a storehouse of information. It has the code of its life and death embedded in it. Each cell contains 1.5 GB of data. Thus our body has around 135 trillion gigabytes or 135 zettabytes. What we call DNA is the code containing 6 billion units of genetic data embedded to make a human body. A seed is a cryptic message thrown to the environment to be grown as a tree or a flower. From being one-celled to 90-trillion-celled, the network of cells has grown to form humans over millions of years.
Every cell has its own code — the code that encrypts life to unfold. And life is decrypted within the boundaries of the code on the surface of the earth. Man is born as man to live for 80 years. Same as a dog is born to live as a dog, a reptile as a reptile and a tree as a tree. Life metamorphoses to bring more encrypted codes into life. At the sub-atomic level, particles depend on each other. They tunnel into each other changing the chemistry. This chemistry is what we call life. Like photons tunnel into the life-supplying élan vital. Life keeps on changing. That is all the sciences put together.
Humans have comprehended the code of travelling distances in the universe and called it light-years. Tomorrow, they may be able to decode the universe and code it into some other unit of measurement, say how we measure the earth in latitudes and longitudes. But when will information become intelligence is the moot question of the quest. Knowledge is all information known. Whatever we have discovered or known, is part of our knowledge. Whatever that is known to us, we call it an invention. We call our comprehension our invention. Whatever man has fathomed and made it into technology in thousands of years, can be measured in terms of ‘ease’. The ‘ease’ of having more lumens of light in nights, more air-cooled days in hot summer, more distance to travel per hour and more gigabytes of information.
Every cell has an infinite source of knowledge to fathom. An infinite exchange and dialogue is going on between living beings and the environment. Everything is interdependent on everything else. You are not an isolated being on earth. You survive on breath-vital energy. The breath you take is the breath that’s transformed into air by trees. Trees survive because of the environment. The environment depends on the earth. The earth survives because of the sun. If the sun is not there, you won’t survive. For the sun to survive, the cosmos is needed. Life is interdependent and you are not born in isolation. You are not alone but you are part of the whole cosmos — you are the cosmos.
The first invention of information technology was the alphabet. The information gatherer devised tools and technologies for gathering information. The Stone Age had stones, the Iron Age had arms and the Information Age has algorithms. Today they claim to have the tools at hand to fathom the universe. They wish to attempt to break the code of God. They would like to write the unit of galaxies into g power raised trillions. Soon they will desire to mathematise Krishna, Shiva and Buddha.
But what remains unfathomed continues to remain unfathomed and will continue to remain unfathomed for aeons — unless science meets the true science, which is the science of that which is. Science means knowing and defining what is out there. But the truth cannot be defined. In India, we call it gyanam, which means cognition or knowing. And vigyanam means consciousness.
Whatever that is known as knowledge is in fact only ‘artificial intelligence’. These days we use AI. We call it AI but what humans call intelligence by which they have known the world is AI too. What is intelligence then? The word “buddha” means ‘awakened intelligence’, “bodhi” means awakening and “buddhi” means intellect.
It once happened in the life of Socrates. There was an ancient Greek oracle at Delphi, the seat of the god, Apollo. People asked the oracle and priestess about who was the wisest of all men in the city. The priestess replied that Socrates was the wisest. But Socrates said that he was not the wisest, but the most ignorant. They told the oracle that Socrates said he does not know anything and was ignorant and not wise. The priestess replied that in knowing that you do not know anything is the first step of realisation.
Knowing that you don’t know is the step towards understanding that knowledge is crap. Being knowledgeable is being burdened under the ego. When one understands that he does not know that which is, he comes out of his shell and walks on the path of intelligence. Only after understanding that one cannot know anything, total surrender flowers.
Meditation has a purpose. It makes you unlearn the knowledge that you have learnt. It took Buddha six years of unlearning before total surrender. It took Mahavira twelve years of unlearning before total surrender.
Ramakrishna Paramhansa was once caught in a debate with a great scholar of the Vedas, Keshav Chandra Sen, the co-founder of Brahmo Samaj. The scholar went on and on. When Keshav Chandra would look at Ramakrishna Paramhansa, he would be unnerved to see Paramhansa rejoiced at the scholar’s logic and arguments. The scholar expected acrimony from him and Ramakrishna was mesmerised at the skilful thoughts of the scholar. Finally, the scholar asked what kind of a debate that was. Paramhansa replied, “When I see your distinguished sharpness, logic and intelligence, my belief in Him (God) gets emboldened. Who could it be of such magnificent logic and intelligence then Him (God)?” Keshav Chandra Pal won the debate but fell on Paramhansa’s feet.
Intelligence is the capacity to live in the being and know that which is with open eyes. Knowledge shuts the door to mindfulness. Knowledge shuts the door to the ultimate intelligence. It breeds ego. Someone asked Bhikku, what is knowledge? Bhikku replied, “Knowledge is ego. Man’s ego is like a mango. It tastes sweet and tender on the surface but it feels distasteful and stone-hard at its seed.”
Let’s begin experiencing the limitless you and the egoless you. Where does your body end? Does it end where your skin is? But you inhale air and exhale. Trees also inhale and exhale. Sunrays reach trees like photons. That is all part of your body. The earth, the sun, and the universe. Close your eyes and imagine that your body is growing in size, taking up the size of the sky, the entire earth, the moon, the sun, and you are getting bigger and bigger. That is the moment that you realise that the skin, blood, flesh, and the 90 trillion cells are not you. You are not just the body but the whole cosmos. You will be reflected in the cosmos with no limits. In limitlessness, the egoless will appear in you. Be it.
The author is a spiritual coach and an independent advisor on policy, governance and leadership. He can be contacted at arunavlokitta@ gmail.com.