Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Dissemination of Knowledge


It is human nature to share what we know with others, and this is how we are initiated on the path of knowledge - by someone, most probably a teacher. We have a tendency to transmit what we know. Once you start gaining knowledge, the knowledge that really matters, you'd be delighted that you have found a treasure which only a few people know of and you'd rush to share it with all - your friends, relatives, as many people as you can get hold of.

What happens next? Whatever happens is very shocking and surprising to say the least. I will present here my own experiences with my own attempts at dissemination of knowledge. Later I offer some tips and tricks to effectively disseminate the knowledge you have gathered, if you wish so.


The content below is not for teachers. Obviously I cannot advise a teacher, I'm only a student. A teacher knows best, so any suggestions mentioned below are only for students.

Reactions to knowledge

One would think that everyone would be falling over each other to get what you have. They'd be filled with respect and appreciation for you and would crown the holder of knowledge as their king. Exactly opposite happens in reality. One will fail in countless ways in his attempts to share what he knows. It is very entertaining as well as sad at the same time. Any of the following (or more) can happen:

1. No one wants it. You'd be surprised to know that there is a total lack of interest in general populace regarding spiritual knowledge or any kind of knowledge in general. People would rather prefer gossip and small talk. As soon as you utter something of substance they start yawning and falling asleep. Not their fault I guess, this is exactly the conditioning our schools impart.

2. Almost no one understands it. Some may try to listen, but as soon as you go one step deeper, which will eventually happen, it all bounces over their heads, and they will lose interest. You will find them suddenly changing topics. Even very intelligent people will struggle to make sense of your words.

3. You will be ridiculed. Knowledge is a strange thing for many. They have never encountered it before. As soon as you say something that seems strange and out there, which it will, many will ridicule you or trash your words as a joke. You won't be able to do anything but to join them with a reluctant laugh.

4. You will be branded crazy. If you continue the strange talk, people will get concerned, especially your near and dear ones, and will think some screws have fallen off your brain. They'd rather think extreme things about you instead of actually contemplating what you say.

5. They will be terrified. The knowledge seems otherworldly to the uninitiated. It sounds like a horror movie plot to some. Some may assume you have joined a horrible cult. Some may think you are now practicing occult or witchcraft. Ultimately, since you think and talk so differently, the difference alone is enough to scare the sheep. Now you are not one of them, and so the ego warns them of an unseen danger. They will start distancing from you.

6. They will be angered. This is the most common occurrence. Your views will be taken as an attack on their fossilized personal beliefs, and their ego will flare up to protect it. If you make the mistake of getting into an argument, which you will initially, the situation turns bad very quickly. People do not use rational faculties or logical thinking at all, they are totally closed to anything new, and are simply seeking a confirmation of their biases/beliefs/conditioning. Any attempts to uproot their cherished beliefs will land you in trouble. If you are persistent and do not exercise your kindness and compassion, some will simply kill you to silence those threatening noises you make.

7. You will be insulted. Knowledge often reveals the ignorance of a person who lacks it. It makes them look stupid. It makes you look smarter than them. Egoic people do not like this at all. They prefer the company of fools or of people with an intellect inferior to them, which makes them comfortable and maintains their superiority complex intact. As soon as they see they were wrong, or even that they cannot understand half of it, they will take the popular strategy of ad hominem. Attack is the best defense.

8. You will be doubted. Some may think you are trying to sell some religion or your "programs", courses or books, or are going to ask for a "donation" after your talk, which may sound like a typical preaching to them, and it will actually. They will think that you have ulterior motives. Most have never seen anything of value being offered for free, and this conditioning warns them.

9. Usefulness of it will be questioned. A rare few will actually see what you are offering, but they will declare it useless. An ego wants something out of everything - can it make me richer, can it make me powerful, can it make me appear beautiful and smart, can I get more mates, so on and so forth. If your teachings do not offer any of these survival benefits, which they will not, it will be branded as a total waste of time.

10. Trivializing occurs. Some people will think you are a wise person even though whatever you say sounds like mumbo-jumbo to them, which it will, because that's what wise people say, and they will not lose an opportunity to ask for help on trivial stuff - like their office problems, family issues, what to eat in dinner, addictions or "how do I fix this other guy" thing.

11. Some do get it. Rarely though, you will find someone who is a real seeker material and he will actually get it. However, not all of it. Most of it will be ignored, thanks to the resistances in the mind and veiling power of Maya. Anyhow, they will thank you. For the first time, you will feel you have done something for others.

12. A few do come back for more. A rare few will actually contemplate on your words and will call you back for more, with a long list of questions. You will feel blessed that day. It will restore your faith on humanity. It will, also, not last.

13. You get followers. This takes special Guru training and oratory skills, and will not happen unless you are a big shot already. This is a one in ten million phenomenon. Your words are listened to very carefully, people act on them, people are grateful for them, they may start worshiping you, there will be a huge crowd around you most of the time. These won't be ordinary people obviously, they will be seekers. This is the only scenario where you will be able to disseminate knowledge on a mass scale.

14. You may simply give up. Gurus turn into mythical heroes very quickly. People have unrealistic expectations from them. Some followers declare themselves of their "lineage" and start a business, or a cult or a religion. Your words will be taken out of context, will be twisted to suit anyone's needs and also will be used against you. Seeing these dangers, you may decide to give up and walk your path silently. This can be a best approach. Anyhow, there will be a trickle of interested people occasionally, whom you cannot refuse to serve.

The above is only a short list of what can happen. It is not exhaustive I guess. There are all kinds of people and hence all kinds of reactions. We know why that happens, it is because of differing levels of ignorance in the populace. Most of the time you are interacting with an Ego that is chained to biases and heavy conditioning, and rarely with an open minded, intelligent, curious, rational lover of knowledge. And over and above that, it is all Grace. People rarely come to knowledge, knowledge comes to them. It all depends on their readiness or worthiness.

Who is ready?

One who has the required qualities of a student (aka Skt. Mumukshu). There is a detailed article in this blog on that topic, please read it if you haven't already. When the flower blooms, honey bees arrive. When the student is ready, knowledge arrives. It may take the form of a Guru or a book or an experience.

A student is ready when there is an extreme desire to know. When he is dying to free himself from ignorance and is busy turning all the stones in search of it. He has mostly sharpened his mind, has turned agnostic, thrown away all the beliefs, and is fully open to anything, however with a nice and sensitive BS meter in place. Such a student is already a seeker and is said to be worthy of knowledge. No one can stop him from gaining what he wants.

A blind believer is not worthy obviously, and so is a total skeptic. Those who are willing to learn, experiment and criticize the teachings constructively are worthy of those teachings. When you try to teach a person who is not worthy, funny things happen, or serious things happen. It is like throwing pearls before swines. This is a kind of universal law, if you will. It is surely a mental law. I came to know of this through direct and bitter experiences. Almost every week I decide to go silent and to mind my own business, somehow I end up writing or talking or meeting people again and again. Anyhow, do not let my words discourage you, try it yourself. Get a taste of what I am saying. You will always find that it is a waste of time and effort to spread knowledge among those who are unworthy.

How to find one?

OK, so you are not discouraged, that's good. But I do not have an answer.

You will be surprised to see that the knowledge is not a secret, it is not rare, it is not difficult to obtain, it is not expensive, it is freely available, it does not take too much time, it is everywhere, not only in remote and strange places, many great teachers are enthusiastically teaching it. Sometimes you can just Google some useful stuff to get started. So what is wrong here? Why isn't everyone enlightened and wise already? Well, those who are ready, and are worthy of it are rare. Now that is mind blowing indeed.

If you wish to spread whatever you have learned, you will need to find someone who is ready to listen. A teacher feels lucky if he gets even one student who is worthy. If you are just another seeker trying to share, as I am doing, you may get lucky someday. You will not get anything out of it except the pleasure of sharing and the satisfaction it brings for being of some use to humanity.

There are no tricks or methods to sort out a worthy person from a crowd of worldly people. Although you can get clues etc. All you can do is - keep sharing, those who are ready will encounter some of it someday. And they will come forward to display their willingness to learn. Anyhow, there are some do's and don't of knowledge dissemination so that it does not cause extreme reactions from those who are not ready yet. And, most importantly, would prevent any harm that undesired knowledge can cause to one who is not ready for it. These are as follows:

1. Drop hints. In the middle of a conversation, when you sense darkness and ignorance in your friends, you have three options - continue as if nothing happened, preach and argue, or just drop a tiny hint of light there. The third one works best in my opinion. You will find that those who are curious, open minded and love learning new stuff will pick up the hint, and may want to know more. Rest won't be able to see it, which is good, it keeps them safe from their own Ego.

2. Avoid arguments. Avoid pushing your view on to others at all costs. Even if you are absolutely right, it will backfire. An Ego does not like to be pushed. Even if it is something that can make it better, it cannot be rammed down their mind with force. This is human nature. If it were possible to enlighten people by force, they would have done it long ago. It is impossible.

3. Persist. Even though forced convincing will not work, persistence does. Keep repeating the words of wisdom whenever you see an opportunity, not every minute, that would be irritating. One fine day you will find a crack in the other, through which light can enter finally. What has happened is - their minds have processed your ideas in the background and is now bringing its conclusions in the foreground. This is expressed as - "I never thought I will agree with you."

4. Give only when requested. Probably this sentence is the bottom line of this whole article. This is important. Never ever deliver any knowledge if not requested by the other person. Why? Where is the problem? You will know that through your own experience. A person who is asking a question is almost ready, one who does not have any questions at all is not. The cup is already full.

5. Encourage questions. Answers do not work well, but questions do. Ask questions politely and in a humorous way. Make them question. And make them answer their own questions. An Ego is more open to accept something that comes from its own mouth. The exact same thing, if spoken by you will be probably rejected.

6. Broadcast. Spread it in a non-personal way. Like this blog, or a YouTube video or a book. When an Ego encounters something that is not specifically directed towards it, its resistance is less. Now it is something that some random guy on the internet said. However, the mind has heard it, and now the seed has been sown. It will take root sooner or later, weeks, years or after many lifetimes. Note that the same trick can be misused to implant evil/false ideas in public mind. It is already happening. Can you see it?

7. Emulate ignorance. Now this is evil. What you do is - pretend that you are ignorant and then work through a loud thinking process while pretending that you are trying to enlighten yourself about that topic. The other person joins in and the light shines on him too. This is often used by teachers in schools. It arouses curiosity and at the same time shows how to arrive at correct answers. Humans learn by aping each other. Your act will be copied for sure. An intelligent student will, however, soon catch you. Won't work every time.

8. Do not organize. Do not do that mistake. You can see the plight of organized schools of knowledge. Human nature ensures that it all gets corrupted. You know the process. Especially, after you are gone, corrupt Egos will take over and appoint themselves as your mouthpiece. Now they are free to twist and reinterpret whatever you said in the past. People are gullible, if it is a picture of a big Guru in the background, the person in the foreground is automatically trusted. Only an advanced seeker is immune to such manipulations.

Dissemination has to be an unorganized and natural process. Do not make others in-charge of what you have to offer. Anyhow, a smart person will not join any organization or institutions. He wants to be free, an organized group is very restrictive. He may join it to get a taste of it, but will leave at the first chance. What you will be left with in the organization will be a bunch of spoiled Egos. Not a good outcome.

There will be a bit of organization that will be necessary, say, you wish to arrange a meeting, and then you will need to organize it. So do it, but do not forget to dismantle it all afterwards. After the meeting, everybody goes home, nothing remains. No chairs, no titles, no badges, no posts, no uniforms. You can take a bit of risk and organize stuff for a longer term. Just remember that things tend to stick, they get habitual, people form tribes, they see you as the leader of the pack. We are all humans. Take time to wipe everything clean.

Transmission of knowledge is essentially a one to one process. From a teacher to a student. Do not make it anything else, it will fail.

9. Do not charge. Do not ask for money in return of knowledge. This is not merely an opinion. Knowledge needs to be free. A smart seeker, if he finds that your teachings are nothing but a money making scheme, will leave in an eye blink. You lose people who are worthy, and are left with a bunch of fools, who think they can buy knowledge.

There are many out there who have made spirituality as their business. I have no personal issues anyway, this is typical of humans. Someone who has real knowledge will be more than capable of earning his own bread and butter. Having said that, it will be impossible to act practically without money. Either you invest your own or everyone must contribute. Also, do not let anyone else charge people on your behalf and organize it for you. The bottom line is - the knowledge is always free, arrangements may have a cost.

10. Act alone. Do not associate yourself with any sect, institution, tradition or philosophy. Some people are repulsed by certain groups, even though they are worthy, they will shy away as soon as they hear that you are preaching something from a tradition they don't think is of any value. One needs to be absolutely pure and un-associated with anyone else.

11. Do not criticize. You cannot make a good impression on newcomer's minds if you simply criticize them or their beliefs. Also, criticizing or bad mouthing other traditions or philosophies makes the person look cheap. People, in general, upon hearing such treatment, close down even more. It is best to remain neutral concerning other belief systems or even science. Often someone will want to know your view on another teacher, and the best way is to send them to that teacher. If he is not alive or difficult to reach, it is best to not offer any comments. Always bring back the discussion to your own experience and that of the asker.

12. Share unconditionally. It would be a mistake to expect anything in return of knowledge. Do not even expect that it will benefit the receiver in any way. Your job is to put things plainly and simply and move on. Trying to impress others or trying to make them happy is a sign that your own Ego is in command.

13. Don't just say it, show it. It is best to share things you can experience yourself and others can see it themselves. If you simply utter blank words or parrot a text, it may not have any effect at all. In case the experience cannot be transmitted, make it very clear that they need to get their own experience. Never ask anyone to believe you blindly. If you have knowledge, you must have experienced it, and that means it can be experienced by others too. Just show it. That leaves no room for blind beliefs or theories. Theories are useful as pointers. They show us where to look, but are a poor substitute for actual experience and knowledge. A newbie may mistake a theory or assumption for truth and that will throw him in a bottomless pit instantly.

14. Encourage experimentation. Where ever possible the receiver of knowledge should experiment on the teachings to find out the truth himself. Probably only a tiny fraction of them will actually experiment. Suggest an experiment, but do not take responsibilities, and make it very clear too. We do not know what people can do with the teachings. Only a Guru takes responsibility of his students. It does not work well when you are just sharing what you know.

15. Practices may not make them perfect. I think many seekers already know that the spiritual practices are not a one size fits all matter. Do not recommend any practices causally, they may end up harming the practitioner. Instead, ask them to get an experienced Guru. Someone who has done a particular practice for years and has seen hundreds of students practicing the same and benefiting from it, is the best person to recommend that practice, and can support the student if something goes wrong. However, if you are sure that a practice is very light and harmless, it can be suggested. You need to practice it yourself before recommending it. Needless to say, never recommend strange, risky or mantric/tantric/occult practices willy-nilly.

Sharing is caring

Well, that's all I can think of for now, as far as tips-tricks/do's-don'ts are concerned. Dissemination of knowledge is a difficult task and it is a practice in itself, a learning experience. Initially it can seem awkward to share stuff which is alien for a majority of humanity. But once you know who can benefit from it most and how to reveal it to those who are worthy/ready, you will sail smoothly. In my opinion, it is the duty of every seeker to give back at least a bit, because we received it from someone who was kind enough to share. This has been my endeavour too.


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