There was once a Mahatma who after accepting a young man as his disciple, told him to write down everything he knew about spiritual life. The Mahatma said, "You must try to write down everything you know about religion and spirituality . This will be a very good things for you to do." The obedient disciple left and did as he was instructed. More than a year later he finally completed the task and returned to the master with a very thick book under his arm. As he gave the book to the master, he said, "I have worked very hard on this for a year, tried to put down everything I could think of regarding spirituality and religion. The task you gave me is far from complete, but I felt it would be best to show you what I have done."
The master looked through the thick sheaf of papers and said to the disciple, "You have obviously put much time and effort into this. It is very persuasive, clear and precise discourse, but it is much too long. See if you can shorten it a little."
The young man went away and worked on this task for five years. When he returned to the guru this time, he presented a document half the size of the first one. The guru read it and said encouragingly, "Very good! You have included the essential ideas and truly approached the heart of the matter. And your manner of presentation has clarity and strength. But it is too long. Try to condense it a little more in order to reach the real essence.
Although he was a bit sad on hearing this, the disciple accepted what the guru told him and continued to work hard and longed to reach the essence. This time he laboured for ten years and when he returned to the master, he bowed low before him and offered merely five pages with all humility saying, "This is the distillation of my spiritual knowledge, the very core of my life. This is what lies at the very centre of my reason for existence, what religion is to me. I am most grateful to you for having given me this teaching." This time the master read it carefully and thoroughly. "Excellent!" he said. You have truly arrived at this through spiritual work, but it is not quite perfect yet. You truly need to present a final clarification."
Years passed and one day, as the guru was preparing to caste off his body, the pupil arrived, prostrating before the master the disciple handed him a single blank sheet of paper and then asked for his blessing. The master joyously placed his hands on the heads of this faithful disciple and blessed him. "Now you truly understand. Now you know." The disciple silently sat at his guru's feet while his master gave up his mortal frame to journey to the final abode.
Life is meant to be experienced. Man over the past few thousands of years is solemnly engaged in the endeavour of accumulating spiritual knowledge to unravel the mystery of life. He has been trying to understand the intricacies and complexities of life to emerge as a successful combatant, when life storms him with its uncertainties and challenges. In his efforts to combat life he has forgotten living.
While spiritual knowledge could help one in understanding the reasons behind the events of life and could ease out one's suffering to an extent, it cannot give complete liberation. It is like an athlete attempting to Pole Vault. Though the pole carries him to the top, unless he leaves his hold on the pole he cannot jump over. After a point the knowledge itself becomes a hindrance in experiencing life.
A young boy asked Sri Bhagavan in one of His Darshans, "Bhagavan, try as I might, I fail to understand life. What is life?" With a benevolent smile Bhagavan said, "A living person would not ask this question. Life is not a puzzle to be solved but a mystery to be experienced."
To enjoy an ice cream one does not need to know the detail of its making or the history of its manufacturer. To enjoy life one does not need to understand it.
Say life presents you with a wife, who ceaselessly nags you with desires, desires and more desires, insensitive to your monetary constraints. Your try to understand the behaviour of your wife and struggle internally and externally to change her. During this process, if one shifts awareness internally it would become very clear that understanding cannot bring complete freedom, for the simple reason that freedom is not within the realm of the mind. You could appease yourself with spiritual theories like, "Judge ye not, lest ye be judged" or "Everyone is conditioned by so many factors, so how could any one be responsible for their behaviour?" Theorising does help to appease the mind to an extent. But how many times for how many issues, and for how long, is the question.
Suppose you go home and your wife starts screaming and yelling at you. It could be the most beautiful scene in the world if you know how to experience it! If you completely experience it, it would become bliss. Your wife shouting would be no different from the sweet song of a cuckoo. Anything when fully experienced leaves behind joy and peace.
Mere understanding of some spiritual principles will not liberate one from suffering. Once could try to analyze life based onthe cause and effect priciple of Karma. The reason behind you giving birth to a spastic child could be traced back to your past life, as the effect of you having harmed an innocent child; but what could you do beyond that? The pain still continues to linger in your heart. You are plagued with questions like 'What is life?', 'What is its purpose?' 'Did God create the universe only to make man suffer?'
Sri Bhagavan says, All fundamental questions of life have no answers. If you realize this, the questions will fal away like dead leaves. Answers exist, but only up to a limit. Beyond that, there are no answers. Today you are full of questions; you are not appeased. Questions look logical, but make no sense beyond a point. They do not have answers. You must see the limits of logic and how illogical logic can become. Appeasement of all views is enlightenment. And to be enlightened is to live life.