Difference between Understanding & Experiencing

A teacher was explaining about Electricity in a class and all the students understood except one.

Student: Teacher, what is electricity? Can you explain a bit more?

Teacher: It is that power which illumines the light, rotates the fan, makes the TV & computer works. Did you understand?

Student: Oh! is it? Hmmm…now I understand.

(This is how most of us understand God. We all have heard and believed on the technical definitions of God as the Ultimate Power, the all pervading Reality, the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent One, the Soul that exists in all of us, Father in Heaven, the Buddha state of Consciousness, etc, etc. However, we have not experienced God. So, how can we truly understand Him without experiencing? This student, like a student of the Upanishads, is not satisfied with the theoretical explanation and enquires further.)

Student: But teacher, what is the colour of electricity?

Teacher: It has no colour

Student: Oh! No colour. Ok. Is it like water? Water also has no colour.

Teacher: No. It’s not like water. It’s not a liquid.

Student: Then it must be solid or gas. What does it taste or smell like?

Teacher: It does not have any state nor does it have any taste or smell.

Student: Oh really! I’ve never seen anything like that before! How can I see electricity?

Teacher: You can’t see it.

Student: Does it have life?

Teacher: No. It’s a non-living thing.

Student: Is it there in the wire that goes to the fan?

Teacher: Yes.

Student: If it is there in the wire, then why cannot I see it, touch it or taste it? Can I at least feel or experience electricity?

Teacher: Ok. You want to experience it, huh?

Student: (excitedly) Yeah!!

Teacher: Then do exactly as I tell you to do. But don’t blame me for the consequences.

Student: No. I’ll not.

Teacher: Take out your tongue.

(The student does that very excitedly. Teacher takes a wire attached small circuit and a battery and places it on the student’s tongue for a second)

Student: Aaaahhhh!!!

Teacher: How was it?

Student: Painful!

Teacher: Can you describe the pain?

Student: I felt as if some wires went through my tongue

Teacher: Dear students, could you experience what he felt with his description?

All students: No Teacher! We could only imagine how it must have been but how can we experience something which someone else has experienced and not us?

Student: Now I understood ma’am. Electricity is something that can only be described through words. But words can give only intellectual understanding. Experience is the only thing that will give us the clarity and intensity of its power.

When we talk about God, Soul, Self-Realisation, it’s all like this. We might have understood it technically. But not yet experienced. To experience that state, we need to enquire deeper. This is the reason why our Masters asked us to Enquire more with questions like…Who Am I? Where was this ‘I’ when I was sleeping? Why couldn’t I experience it? Where was this world, space and time when I was in my deep sleep?

The question is, are we satisfied with the theoretical definition of God or are we really keen in experiencing Him?


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