Over-fondness for speculative knowledge is considered a cause of bondage1 min read

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 6

“The only means of release from all limitations is the knowledge of the identity of the individual consciousness with Brahman. This knowledge is born of the study of the great sentences such as ’That Thou Art’.’’

Commentary

This is an important verse. It does not prescribe a long and circuitous course of study. It is not like the philosophy of Hegel, little of which can be fully understood even by those who have studied it for twenty years. Bondage, including birth, death, misery and suffering, is dispelled by knowledge. When we use the word knowledge here we do not mean epistemology, ontology or scientific learning but the knowledge contained in the short aphorisms such as ‘That Thou Art’.

Over-fondness for speculative knowledge is considered a cause of bondage. If one wants to be an Acharya or a competent teacher of the holy Yoga to the intellectual class of people, then a deeper knowledge of philosophy is essential in order to explain to them the meaning of the great sentences. But if one just wants to be freed from the illusion and to help those of normal intellectual ability who are sincere seekers after the spiritual truth, then a knowledge of philosophy, logic and rhetoric is not essential, because the illusion can be removed by the direct flashes of knowledge imparted in the short great sentences (mahavakyas) of the Veda.

One of these sentences is ‘That Thou Art’.

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 7