“If there’s one thing I know, it’s that no one knows. . . . I mean, really, . . . no one knows anything for certain. . . .”
Allow me to try and convince you that a monstrous exasperation has swallowed up your life. Deep within, you are frustrated, disappointed with the major dramas, the huge questions in life. These unsatisfied “big-issue” questions are a ghost haunting us, rattling our cage—as much as we try to ignore the ignorance and its effects.
You see, what’s happened is that indirectly we’ve actually signed on as true believers. Clinging to a popular faith, we surrender to a belief that no one really knows the deepest answers to life, so there’s no point in even thinking about the questions.
We religiously submit to just “living life”—getting on with it, seeing what happens—feeling what comes down the pipe. After all, we can only really know that . . . stuff happens, right?
No One Knows
I can tell you about an Auckland girl who was fortunate enough to begin the path of bhakti-yoga, Krishna consciousness, at sixteen. Experienced yogis would say that such an early start indicates she probably is picking up from where she left off in her previous life.
While at secondary school she would question her teachers: “What is the Self? “What is the Ultimate Source?” What came before any Big Bang?” “Have I lived before and will I live again?”
Her teachers sympathetically replied: “You’re asking these questions because you are a teenager. When you get older and more mature, you’ll realise that such enquiries serve no useful purpose. You’ll simply settle, like all of us do, for living out your life, trying as much as possible to shape it your way.”
Not only do school teachers, shaping our formative years, dutifully preach this “know that no one knows” gospel, but even so-called spiritual books push it.
For example, best-selling New-Age authors such as Thomas Moore can lavish you with daydreams, pipedreams, and sky-high pies: “The soul doesn’t want explanations. It wants constant rumination, new answers, interpretations without end, never a final solution to anything. We never have to have the answers. That’s again the illusion. The soul doesn’t need that. It can live with ambiguity.”
Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers
Reaching up, however, to the ancient classic yoga texts, particularly the bhakti wisdom, we find they’re all about asking perfect questions and getting perfect answers. For instance:
“O sages, I have been justly questioned by you. Your questions are worthy because they relate to Lord Krishna and so are of relevance to the world’s welfare. Only questions of this sort are capable of completely satisfying the self.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.5)
The Srimad Bhagavatam is the expansive graduate study to the prime yoga text Bhagavad Gita. Both, specialising in the yoga of ultimate connection, are storehouses of the most necessary and precious knowledge. And both present us with questions that are as important as their answers.
Normally we might think, “All I need are the answers, that’s all I want—let’s get straight to the bottom line, cut to the chase.” But no, on the spiritual platform, on the Krishna conscious plane, the questions are equally as crucial and informative as the answers.
Perfect questions stimulate our appetite for climbing higher, focusing our attention. Perfect answers resolve our issues, filling our head and heart with essential, comprehensive knowledge of the nonmaterial. As the bhakti texts say, “Only questions of this sort are capable of completely satisfying the self.”
Our genuine fulfilment depends on the type of questions we ask. Do a twenty-four hour self-study; keep track of every question you ask during the day and night, no matter how trivial.
You’ll see we indeed can’t live without questioning, but we spend our waking hours enquiring all about the most temporary and insubstantial affairs—just as the birds in the trees chirp about where is food and reproductive opportunity. Because our questioning is shallow, our lives are terrifyingly superficial, lightweight, skin-deep.
Break Out of Illusion
Our problem is that we lack the ability and knowledge for asking questions that benefit both our real self, the spirit soul, and society. Perfect questions can uplift the whole world, as can do their answers.
We’ve been shafted. Material society has convinced us that asking the big questions is pointless—an exercise in futility. You should just get on with your life—keep yourself busy, intoxicated, and why not both? Live in the moment, embrace the present, lust right now. After all, no one knows the overall, full picture of existence, and our life is just like a temporary blip on a radar screen, appearing and disappearing.
Please consider how society has programmed us to live as if there is no point in trying to solve the mystery of existence—that searching won’t pay the bills. After all is said and done, we’re just a random assemblage of matter here within a cosmos that’s just another random conglomeration of matter.
Maybe, however, you think there’s a bit of spirituality to you, inexplicably thrown into the material mix. So while pushing on with the daily agenda of pleasing the senses, you try not to hurt too many people. Maybe you are even non-carnivorous, out of compassion for animals. Hey, beyond that, who knows? Remember, no one really knows!
The bhakti texts and applied spiritual technology urge us out of our stupor, by spotlighting the pinnacle of enquiry:
“My dear King, your question is glorious because it is very beneficial to all kinds of people. The answer to this question is the prime subject matter for hearing, and it is approved by all transcendentalists.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.1)
In a true human civilisation, questions and answers leading to Krishna, the unlimitedly all-attractive source of pleasure, are celebrated as the greatest assets.