The Refutation of Knowledge (from Amritanubhav)

by Jnanadev

English version by S. Abhyayananda
Original Language Marathi

As for ourselves,
We possess neither knowledge nor ignorance.
Our Guru has awakened us
To our true identity.

If we attempt to see our own state,
That seeing itself becomes ashamed.
What, then, should we do?

Fortunately,
Our Guru has made us so vast
That we cannot be contained
Within ourselves.

Our identity is not limited
Solely to the universal Self,
But we are not disturbed
By perceiving our separative existence;
We remain, after final liberation,
The same as we were before.

The word that can describe our state
Has not yet been uttered.
The eyes that can see us
Do not exist.

Who could perceive us,
Or enjoy us as an object of enjoyment?
We cannot even perceive ourselves!

The wonder is that we are
Neither concealed nor manifest.
Ah -- how amazing it is
That we even exist!

How can mere words
Describe the state
In which we are placed by Sri Nivritti?

How can ignorance
Dare to come before us?
How can illusion
Come into being after its death?

And can there be any talk of knowledge
Where ignorance cannot gain entrance?

When night falls,
We light the lamps;
But what is the use of such efforts
When the Sun is here?

Likewise,
When there is no ignorance,
Knowledge also disappears;
Both of them have gone.

Actually,
Knowledge and ignorance are destroyed
In the process of discerning their meaning.

Both the husband
And the wife lose their lives
When each cuts off the other's head.

A lamp held behind a person
Is not really a light;
If it's possible to see in the dark,
It's not really darkness.

We may call that which is utter nescience
"Ignorance,"
But how can we call by the name of "ignorance"
That by means of which everything is known?

Knowledge turns into ignorance,
And ignorance is dispelled by knowledge;
Each is canceled by the other.

Thus, he who knows does not know,
And even he who does not know, knows.
Where, then,
Could knowledge and ignorance dwell?

Since the Sun of Self-realization
Has arisen in the sky of pure Consciousness,
It has swallowed up
Both the day of knowledge
And the night of ignorance.

-- from Jnaneshvar: The Life and Works of the Celebrated Thirteenth Century Indian Mystic-Poet, Translated by Swami Abhyayananda

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The Refutation of