Knowledge in ignorance is tiny, at best vastly tiny
‘Knowledge in ignorance’ is an oxymoron, the placing of contradictory words next to each other to convey a deeper meaning.
To understand this oxymoron, let’s consider the special way the Bhagavad-gita (18.22) uses the word ‘ignorance’ in the phrase ‘knowledge in (the mode of) ignorance.’ Here ignorance refers to not the absence of knowledge, but to a freakishly fragmented mode of perception that keeps one ignorant of most of reality. Thus knowledge in ignorance is tiny.
Ignorance refers to not the absence of knowledge, but to a freakishly fragmented mode of perception that keeps one ignorant of most of reality
A prominent contemporary example of such knowledge is scientific materialism. Modern science frequently uses materialism as its starting presumption and thereby seeks material explanations for natural phenomena. Using this methodology, it has made such strides that today scientific knowledge fills thousands upon thousands of books.
How can this vast body of knowledge be considered tiny?
Because it is vastly tiny – all its vastness is restricted to a tiny fraction of reality: material reality.
Gita wisdom explains that the totality of reality comprises of three levels: gross material reality, subtle material reality and spiritual reality. All these levels of reality are sustained by the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna.
Only when we expand our investigative lens to encompass all of reality, especially its centerpiece Krishna, will we find meaning in life. Otherwise, scientific materialism will sentence us to a meaningless self-conception: we are nothing more than lumps of matter somehow come alive to flap around while being pushed inexorably from a pre-birth infinity of nothingness to a post-death infinity of nothingness.
Those who see the complete reality see the vastness of scientific knowledge as testimony to the glory of Krishna. If the study of just one of his energies is so rewarding, how much more rewarding will be the study of the supreme source of that energy?
Gita wisdom beckons us to that supremely rewarding study.