KNOWLEDGE: The Universal Experience
By Bill Ross

"Water works the same way for everybody. When do you drink water? When you're thirsty. And what it does is quench your thirst. It is a common factor that works everywhere. And everybody does drink water. Yet, it's an individual experience. If I'm thirsty, and if I want to quench my thirst, then I have to drink water myself. That is so simple, but sometimes it's very hard for a person to relate to Knowledge being the same way. Is Knowledge like water? Is Knowledge that simple? Yes, and if we try, we get the benefit."
      —Guru Maharaj Ji

What is a human being? What is it that makes the human being so undeniably special? Is it the fact that we have the opposable thumb, and use tools? So do apes. Is it that we have superior brain capacities? Dolphins' brains are even more developed. Is it even that we have the knack for forming sides and warring? No, we share that dubious honor with other types of creatures.

Are we then just one of the more interesting types of animal? Or does a human have another unique capacity to be conscious of something beyond merely the physical senses, reason, and emotions?

Now, to tell you the truth, I don't know from my own experience that dolphins can't have a mystical experience, or feel the supreme joy, or know "the peace which passeth all understanding." But I do know that humans can, because I'm one myself, and through this Knowledge, I have that experience.

Notice that I used the singular "experience." Because it is that "… which passeth all understanding." It also passeth all attempts to put one final, all-encompassing label on it. Yes, this Knowledge is "peace," it's "joy," it's "higher consciousness." But whatever you call it, it's always also more … .

Maybe this is why we don't recognize that all of us, in this human race, are really looking for the same thing. That "something" (sometimes known as "something else") is as essential to our experience of life as water is to our body. It is that thing which every person will tell you they want, although they may not use the same words.

In one part of society, the goal is called "freedom;" in another, "security." One type of person wants love; someone else, challenge and excitement. Many people are yearning to know God; others say they want to know their own self. What all of these people are seeking is a state of being through which they will be fulfilled, a feeling that they are getting the best out of their life, the beautiful, quiet harmony that comes from knowing why you are alive.

Thus, it is called Knowledge.

"I can guarantee one thing. And that is, that we have experienced that love, that peace, that we are all looking for, and by our Lord's Grace, today… this peace can be revealed to any human being — any being on this world, in this age, on this planet. The only requirement is that he has his heart open to accept this love. And that's it."
      —Guru Maharaj Ji

If you ever meet people who seem to be truly happy, you will notice that they are somehow able to stay in that feeling despite whatever is happening around them. (This is what distinguishes them from the rest of us; everybody feels happiness when things are going their way.) These people carry their contentment with them. They aren't dependent on anything outside of themselves for their peace of mind.

And — amazing coincidence! It seems that when a person is happy, he relaxes. One tends to smile more, tensions are released, the body falls into an easy harmony with itself. Anxieties melt away, along with those extra lines on the forehead and circles beneath the eyes — eyes which now sparkle a little.

Other phenomena are frequently reported in these strange and puzzling cases of "happy" people. Problems don't seem to be such a burden as they used to be. And then there is the baffling, yet hard to ignore evidence that these "happy" people always seem to have a great number of friends. Other people just seem to be naturally attracted to that quality in them.

It almost seems that humans were originally constructed with that in mind — to be simply happy, whole unto themselves. Harmony happens when something is in its natural state. So, what we're talking about is man's nature.

Of course, there are a lot of ideas about man's nature. On one level, it seems to be his nature to be frustrated in all his attempts at gaining peace. But his true nature is that peace which is ready to flow through his life once it is found in the only way it can be — by the direct experience of it within himself. Now, how do you learn to do that?

It's very natural for us to need a little help. No one has become whatever he is in this life entirely on his own, without inspiration, ideas and encouragement from others. There were always others who just happened to know more than we did about a particular subject. So one way of putting it (because, in keeping with this subject, no one way of putting it ever really feels good enough) is that Guru Maharaj Ji is someone who has mastered the experience and the process of being happy. He has mastered it to such an extent that he can show anyone who is open to being shown exactly where to find the source of their own happiness, inside himself.

It is a gift. And everyone knows how you receive a gift, especially if it's a very valuable gift that you've always wanted very much. Politely. Humbly, you might say. And with a deep and sincere gratitude.

"It is possible in this age to realize and experience that Knowledge, that peace, that satisfaction, that we have been looking for for ages and centuries — now, at this time, in this age, in this century. It is possible. It's available. It can be done. It has been done. And so our goal, our attempt, is to try to reveal this peace that we have experienced."
      — Guru Maharaj Ji

AFFINITY — 7