Ideals and Values/Ignorance
By Vishal Agarwal
In Christianity and Judaism, the Bible says that when God created Adam and Eve, the first pair of human beings, they were totally ignorant. God forbade the couple to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge, threatening to banish them from the paradise like garden of Eden if they disobeyed Him. However, a serpent tempted Eve who tempted Adam to eat the fruit, as a result of which their ignorance disappeared and they became a bit knowledgeable. God became very angry with this act of disobedience and banished Adam and Even to live on the earth. He also cursed the woman that she will have painful child-births and cursed the snake that he will always crawl on dirt and that humans will fear and hate the creature and try to kill it.
However, we believe just the opposite. It is not knowledge, but ignorance that keeps us away from Bhagavān. Therefore, one of the ways to reach Bhagavān is to eat the fruit of knowledge and get rid of our ignorance. In fact, it is a belief that far from being virtuous, ignorance is actually an evil. Some people have no knowledge or wisdom and they do not want to acquire these either! They have no respect for education or learning. They only worship money and power and do not honor learned people. Our tradition teaches us that only knowledge (Vidyā or Jnāna) can lead us to true happiness and eternal companionship with Bhagavān. We will read more about what Jnāna is in section V of this book.