What Is True Knowing?


Obejctivity?! Dear friends. I love Yoganandaji. His teachings give me strength. But I doubt we all are objectiv. First off, I've never experienced samadhi or god. Thoughts are creative and powerful, aren't they? One gives his whole life to god. Focusing on HIS IMAGE of god. Then sometime he finds god. But is that real god or his imaginary god? Same with meditation! Where is the objective god behind the notion? Can we really get there by "becoming" something?

—Simon, Germany


Hello Simon,

You are right that we all see life through our own lenses, colored by our expectations, karma, and level of consciousness.

Does that mean that experiences such as samadhi and God-contact might be products of our own imagination, not real at all? I can easily believe that such is the case for many people who say they have had high spiritual experiences. But is it the case for all people, as you suggest?

Yogananda’s first American disciple, Dr. Lewis, once asked that same question. Paraphrasing: “I’ve been visualizing samadhi all these years. How will I know, when I attain it, whether or not it is just a product of my own imagination?”

Yogananda’s answer was simple: “You will know, and you will know that you know.”

That level of knowing does not come from the conscious or subconscious mind. It does not come from the level of consciousness that asks the question. It is direct, superconscious, intuitive perception. We cannot “prove” such things in the sense that physical science demands proof: showing irrefutable evidence to another person. It is personal, subjective. But that does not mean it is unreal. No, it is, rather, a higher level of reality.

That is why it is so important to follow the guidance of those who we believe have achieved that state. True, we cannot know for certain whether they have achieved it. Our belief is the best we can do. But belief will motivate us to try the experiment for ourselves, and eventually (so the great masters tell us) we will know for certain. But only for ourselves; it won’t prove anything to others, except to the extent that they are able to resonate with us. Such is the subtlety of spiritual reality.

And by the way, I am not aware of Yogananda ever speaking of “becoming something.” Quite the contrary, he emphasized that we need to stop being something: the little bundle of self-definitions that limit us, that keep us separate from our own God-nature, that keep us from perceiving who and what we really are.

I hope this helps.