Skip to main content |

Pujya Dr. K.C. Varadachari - Volume -2



Scholars have tried  to explain that the following are the ways of knowing God. (1) immediate experience of God, (2) Revelation ,communication of truth by God directly, (3) Faith, which is a gift of God, (4) A priori principles of Reason demanding the acceptance of God as necessary ground, (5) Action which is the will to believe and act on the hypothesis of the existence of God, and (6) Coherence- God as the principle of coherence in the universe.

Briefly explaining the ‘ways’, we find that the direct and immediate experience of God is like an epistemological immediacy, which gives rather the intuitive experience of oneself rather than God. Mystic institution hardly leads up to the universe as such or God. It is the beginning of the experience of oneself which willy nilly enforces a further step towards the Godhead. But such a transition happens in some.

Revelation as the truth spoken by God or got from God by the prophets might accompany the former intuitive apprehension of oneself and leading up to the Godhead. The scriptures form the written down truths. One is demanded to verify these experiences and reach up to the Vision which was the possession of the Propherts and Seers.  Without this urge and command by the scripture to realise, the Godhead remains a statement – a meaningless thing.

Faith in Indian Thought means sraddha, a willingness to follow the paths laid down in the scriptures and revelations and intuitions, to the end with a feeling of certainty about their truth. But this is a gift of God to the inner being. It may turn out to be  to be barren. Usually the substance of faith is in the believed veracity of the revelations and the propherts – their truly realised word and truth. (Aptavacana).

A priori principles depend for their acceptance on the self-certainty to reason that they grant. Being not inconsistent with reason, though inconsistent with the perceptual and other evidence, a priori principles are one way by which one begins to ask such questions as the need for the Substance, Causality etc., which will make life and experience intelligible. Without these life will be chaotic. God thus becomes the postulate for system, cosmos and intelligibility. The assumption of a priori principles regarding the ultimate values involves the notion of the ultimate Good and this is equated with God. The meaninglessness of the world becomes the central conclusion if God is denied.

Action is said to be the way of knowing God. Action by itself is a type of activity assuming that God exists, truth triumphs, and goodness is what all pursuing get  happiness and so on. But are these those that lead to God knowledge or God realisation. Love of man and instrumental values cannot lead to the highest notion of God at all. One however thinks that he would realise God if he does act as if God exists and order prevails and truth will succeed and so on. Indian Thought at any rate held that karma-yoga is the yoga that aims at union through performance of works prescribed by scripture as capable of leading to that union with God. Karma yoga has of course been extended to cover cases which are actions dictated by or counselled by prophets and saints, such as disinterested activities towards all creatures and acts of kindness, charity and so on. This however is not theconcept of the means of the modern scholars.How actions can be the way of knowledge is difficult to comprehend, for even the will to believe and act is an instrumental way.

The existence of coherence will make us assure the existence of One supreme God who alone can confer coherence to the world. The idealist conception that one must assume a system in order to arrive at it or believe that one is arriving at it is rather native. Coherence as a test of reason, is capable of being used along with experience through verification. It rests on the belief that the Reality being rational cannot but be coherent in respect of all truths and consistent is respect of each truth. How this can be a way of knowing God is difficult to comprehend, though it may be said that it is neither a proof for the existence of God nor an evidence of the personality of God.

The general approach to this chapter thus is to show that it is essentially a superficial theoretical approach. The ways of knowing God are definitely two : Revelation and Immediate Super-knowledge or Intuition, atma-saksatkara a soul-knowledge unmediated by intellect or perception or even poetic inspiration, (intuition). The ways are thus through knowledge (or this intuitive – revelation), through works (Actions prescribed by saints), and through devotion or love of God and God only (bhakti). Altogether they all demand a total integral dedication (self-surrender), and reason may help and promote.

The pragmatic approach in the main believes that we can never know anything for certain but can always make an attempt towards the same. In fact the analysis of Deweyean technique has been precisely to abjure the quest for certainty, but aim at coherence of our present knowledge which is being modified however by new discoveries and techniques. Thus new techniques creative new environments and they in turn throw up new lines of possibility.

Coherence theory is said by him to be a way of knowing or understanding God, since He can not be seen.

Requirements of his method are (i) collection of pre-scientific religious data, (ii) construction of working hypothesis to interpret all the facts collected, and the (iii) verify the hypothesis. These three are indeed the method of the empirical science.

Inductive enquiry such as this cannot but be problematical knowledge. The Indian thought is more systematic and has been a time tested one.