Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Experience – Foundation of Knowledge

  All our knowledge is based upon experience. What we call inferential knowledge, in which we go from the less to the more general, or from the general to the particular, has experience as its basis. In what are called the exact sciences, people easily find the truth, because it appeals to the particular experiences of every human being. The scientist does not tell you to believe in anything, but he has certain results which come from his own experiences, and reasoning on them when he asks us to believe in his conclusions, he appeals to some universal experience of humanity. In every exact science there is a basis which is common to all humanity, so that we can at once see the truth or the fallacy of the conclusions drawn therefrom. Now, the question is: Has religion any such basis or not? I shall have to answer the question both in the affirmative and in the negative. (I, 125)

Swamiji’s book on Raja Yoga emphasises the importance of experiences.  “Religion, as it is generally taught all over the world, is said to be based upon faith and belief, and, in most cases, consists only of different sets of theories, and that is the reason why we find all religions quarreling with one another. These theories, again, are based upon belief.”

        As different from this Swamiji taught the West that religion could be experienced. If there has been any experience in this world regarding knowledge it is possible that it has happened before and it may happen again. “The teachers of Raja Yoga declare that religion is not only based upon experience of ancient times, but that no man can be religious until he has the same perceptions himself”.  RajaYoga is the science which teaches us how to get these perceptions.  

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