I think I’ve finally realized the importance of something the Brahmins have advised from the ages: guard knowledge from the undeserving.
Of course, this advice takes a casteist hue and turns very quickly into how the Shudras shouldn’t learn the Veda, etc., how they must be punished if they do, etc., but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the need for everyone to guard their knowledge from everyone else who is undeserving. Perhaps that’s what the Brahmins of yore wanted to say, and perhaps it came out through Manu and others in the horrid form it did.
Here’s the thing. The moment we know something, we have the urge to share it with others for various reasons. Maybe we want to educate others, maybe we need to use it as part of a conversation, maybe we think of it as service to society, maybe it’s our way of righting a wrong, maybe we’re going to make money from it, or maybe we just want to show off. Whatever the reason, the teaching of the Brahmins, if I’m getting it right, is that you should resist the urge. Knowledge shouldn’t be thrown at the undeserving, the non-seekers.
Knowledge, or shall we say the truth, is like food. One must be hungry for it. If you force it down someone’s throat, it’s bad for them. It hurts them. They are better off with their ignorance. You’re the one who is uncomfortable with their ignorance, not them. So you have this urge to tell them the truth, remove their ignorance. That is the problem.
Especially these days, with social media making it possible to tell anyone anything, we might have the urge to tell the truth to whomsoever it concerns for all the benefits that seem to be on offer. But unfortunately, it hits mostly those who aren’t concerned with it, i.e., the undeserving and the non-seekers. They consume your knowledge and blame both it and you for the pain.
That is why they don’t seek the truth in the first place: they know that it will hurt them. They prefer wallowing in ignorance. In fact, it is by seeking their trivial pleasures that they have ended up in their ignorance of the truth. The road to untruth is littered with pleasures. They pick up every one of them and continue forever their journey to untruth.
What should the one who knows the truth do in this situation? This question has caused me a lot of headache, and I have now settled at the age-old answer of the Brahmins: guard it, never let it out. Wait for the deserving to approach you. If they approach you, it means they deserve it. If they don’t, it means they don’t and your truth will not serve them well. It will harm them. It will pain them. Don’t harm them, don’t pain them, don’t finally get blamed for telling the truth, don’t let them blame the truth which you have obtained after so much toil. Guard your truth, never let it out.
What if your truths are important for society? What if your truth is such that it can uplift society, make everyone better off? Guard it. Never let it out. Society does not deserve the truth that it does not actively seek. Everybody do not deserve to become better off. Becoming better off pains them, harms them. That is whey they do not seek your truth. It is you who wants society to be better off, and that is your mistake. You should let society want to be better off, and for it to actively seek your truth — if they think it matters.
It is not your job to educate society. It’s society’s wish whether or not to get educated by you. Your job, is only to seek the truth for yourself and get out of darkness yourself. When you’re done, which is not going to happen any time soon, curb the urge to take others out of their darkness. That’s their job. In fact, instead of making it easy for them to learn from you, make it as hard as possible. Place every impediment on the path to you. Only the truly deserving should get to you and your knowledge. It is only by guarding your knowledge that your knowledge grows. The idea that knowledge grows when it spreads is rubbish. Your knowledge grew because you sought it out, not because others spread it.
So go ahead, guard your knowledge.