Spirituality, Authority, & Knowledge

Baba’s response to comments on his Facebook Profile, 26 June 2010

We should read carefully what Arun is writing, because the Imperial mapping of the World has not included this, even if there are DNA studies. What he writes is at the center of Indian civilization, and therefore of great relevance to those of us who are interested in it’s artifacts, such as yoga. What is for us, perhaps, the significant issue is AUTHORITY.

Spirituality is no one’s property. Anyone can make a commitment in one’s life and take the responsibility to acquire self-knowledge. Some people are born with it, according to Patanjali. Caste, race, religion, age, none of it matters. But, the path of self-knowledge, and all that entails, is no joke, and is perhaps man’s greatest challenge.

When we are ill, we go to a doctor, because we recognize his authority, and we believe that he will heal us. And if, indeed, that man does have “real” Authority, he will heal us. So, if we accept the Authority of Western Medicine, and a doctor is recognized by that Authority, then in our mind, that doctor can heal us. If we don’t believe in Western Medicine, then that doctor means nothing to us, and we believe that he might even make things worse.

After Gutenberg, the volume and reach of a voice was eclipsed by the printed page, and so Authority passed into the printed page which in time has become our mass media. Today, that Speech which commands large audiences has authority.

But we know, or we wouldn’t be reading this, that the authority of mass media, and its smaller clones, perpetuates consumption with its attendant myth of happiness through consumption. So we may question this authority, and even reject it. When knowledge is presented to us, we may question just what is the authority for this knowledge.

Nothing is equal in the Universe, and authority seems to exist within the Natural World. As infants and children we require authority to mature in the world. And we always need guidance and help. We search for authority. Our challenge today is to find some sort of authority that isn’t generated out of the cycle of consumption. And that requires a search and a seeker that doesn’t consider Knowledge with the same mind and the same Speech with which he or she shops at the Supermarket for organic muesli.