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What Does Real Knowledge Offer?

The Sanskrit word vidya, knowledge, derives from the root vid to know. This is significant as vidya forms the basis of all yogic teachings.  Knowledge is the fountain from which all goodness and light are said to flow. And vidya  is the channel for that flow of light here on earth. Access to vidya means access to spiritual light. The way we obtain that access is by cultivating profound inner understanding.

Sanskrit Oral Tradition

Vidya Verse:

Mateva Rakshati Piteva Hite Niyunkte
Kanteva Cabhiramayatyapaniya Duhkham
Kirtim Ca Dikshu Vitanoti Tanoti Lakshmim
Kim Kim Na Sadhayati Kalpa-Lateva Vidya

Like a mother, it protects you.
Like a father, it directs you towards your welfare in the world.
Like a lover it delights you and removes your pain and suffering.
It expands your name and fame in all directions and increases your prosperity.
What does real knowledge not give you?
Like a wish full-filling vine, it gives fruit to all desires.
~Translation by Manorama, Luminous Soul 2014

In this oral tradition Sanskrit verse, knowledge is likened to being both as pivotal as our mother and father.  As a mother, vidya represents the force of protection, and as a father, it directs us in the world and guides our proper direction. The mantra further tells us that vidya is like a lover, and as such acts in a soothing, healing manner removing our suffering… once we feel that soothing and removing of our suffering, vidya morphs again into being a blessing for our greatest expansion and our prosperity. This mantra reminds us that vidya is the giver of all.

How do I obtain Vidya in my life?

Vidya expands when we support the inner growth of yogic teachings. This is hard work and requires that we be deeply thirsty for that knowledge. We can support this inner growth through:

Energizing on Teachings
When we read yogic teachings, often we move to quickly to what we ‘think’ they mean. Instead we must practice first supporting the growth of the teachings within us, by energizing patiently on them and by practicing ‘sitting with’ their meaning. This is how we support the development of vidya in our lives because yogic knowledge is not realized on a mental level alone, rather it is first felt as a rising awareness in the heart.

Contact with Self in all things
If we value our self and want to know our self in all things then we must make it a priority to practice paying attention to our inner life. Paying attention to our inner self forms a connection within and signals that the floor is forming underneath us.  Once the foundation is secure then we have the capacity to truly ponder the elevated questions that lead to the realization of vidya in our lives. With the floor firmly established under our feet, we make our selves ready to reflect on the essential questions from a grounded place. As we contemplate teachings from a grounded place the realization of the answers rises within us and is assured.

Essential questions that lead to realization of vidya?

Who am I?
What is my purpose in this life/incarnation?
How may I serve the world?
How to cultivate sincere compassion for all?
What is nobility in yoga?
How do I evolve awareness in my self?
What does “being with” a teaching mean?

©2014 Luminous Soul/Sanskrit Studies & Manorama