Adyar Gopal Parivar
Evolution of Knowledge
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By Mohan Shenoy
Knowledge is in the brain. The structure
of the brain, its size and its differentiation
determines its capacity. Differentiation is
the fine-tuning of the cells of the brain, in
that the chemical actions and power of
the electrical charges can work better in
well-differentiated cells than in the cells
that are less mature.

The child's brain can take in information
and accumulate it for future use. The
amount of information accumulated as
days go by determines the total
knowledge in the brain. There are
thinking cells also apart from the storing
cells. The thinking cells utilize the stored
knowledge and arrive at a conclusion to
put into use.

If there is any action needed then the
order to execute the action is passed on
to the motor cells of tongue to speak,
hands to do, the legs to walk, etc.

The thinking cells work with the desire
cells. The desire cells work with the
hormones. All our emotions depend on
the thinking cells as well as the
knowledge cells. But the hormones and
feed-back from the sense organs
influence the thinking cells. There are
certain points in the brain which come to
a conclusion after thinking as to the time
to initiate action. Then there are
imagination cells which can build up
stories and concoctions. These cells can
cook up a completely untrue and
unrealistic story.

The brains of little insects, fish, snakes,
birds, animals etc., vary in size and
differentiation and therefore their
knowledge also varies. As the
life-containing (living) beings are at
different stages of evolution their brain
capacity corresponds to the degree of
evolution of their brains.

Gathering information and storing it for
use later also depends on the evolution
of the brain. The animal nearest to the
humans the chimpanzee has a brain that
is much less evolved than the brain of the
humans. All the animals have their
emotions like fear, love, hate, anger, etc.,
similar to that of the humans at a lesser
degree. Their emotions also depend
upon the sophistication of their sense
organs so that the chimpanzee for
example does not feel shame to walk
naked. The human emotions include the
emotion of shame but we see that the
sense of shame develops in a child after
it grows a couple of years.

The speed with which a child's brain
develops to fully express emotions is part
of the development of the brain.
Environment, nutrition, and knowledge
inputs play significant parts in formation
of emotional cells.

Crude emotions develop sooner than the
fine emotions. Art sense is part of the fine
emotion. Knowledge of the musical notes
and ability to sing in correct keys are also
examples of fine emotions. A bird sings in
a fixed number of notes while a human
being can sing in a vast varieties of
notes. Ability to speak follows the sensory
inputs from the hearing apparatus and
storing of sounds in the memory cells.
Production of appropriate sound by using
the mouth, tongue and the throat requires
sufficient development of an evolved
brain. The evolution of the brain of the
birds is not enough to speak like the

Once the brain gets full capacity to know,
realize, conclude and then execute
various actions of a human being then
the amount of stored knowledge becomes
critical for life to be useful and enjoyable.
Then our opinions about various abstract
subjects is formed. Abstract subjects
include unseen, unheard, and untouched

Our brains are as proud as we are. After
the development of the brain to the level
of 14 years of age then the brain begins
to develop a sense of pride. This pride is
a fine variety of anger. Anger is very
crude emotion in that even the lower kind
of living things have it. But when it is
refined, anger turns into pride. Our pride
tells us not to say no to many things, one
of which is to say 'I don't know'.

  The knowledge of Braahman is not an
understanding of pantheistic doctrines
such as may be obtained by reading the
Sacred Books of the East in an easy
chair but a realization (in all senses) of
personal identity with the universal spirit,
in the light of which all material
attachments and fetters fall away."
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By Mohan Shenoy
Adyar Gopal and Radha Bai
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Although people do not know fully about
a large number of things that they see
everyday, they are unable to form a
conclusion about them. They can not
arrive at a definite identification of the
matter or understand the nature of the
things. Then the imagination cells begin
to work and create all kinds of stories
realistic as well as unrealistic. This lack
of clear and conclusive idea gives rise to
what is known as belief and faith.

When we do not know how an
earthquake takes place in a certain
desert then we form an opinion about its
causes. If the expression of the opinion
becomes necessary, we begin to give
explanations; then we begin to form
stories which may or may not be true.
This story-telling is what formed our
scriptures. We can not acquire
knowledge about everything in the world
and some of the things elude our direct
knowledge. We form opinions based on
the knowledge acquired directly.

The knowledge grows which means it
changes according to the situations that
develop from time to time. When this
happens we find that our older
conclusions and opinions were incorrect.
The beliefs and traditions are all based
on the knowledge we have had at the
time we formed our beliefs and
traditions. When the knowledge grows
and we find that our older beliefs and
traditions are incorrect then we ought to
change our beliefs and traditions to suit
the new knowledge.

Since ages wise men transferred their
knowledge into writing and the books
were written based on the knowledge
and beliefs that ran at the time of their
writing. In India Braahmans were the
wise men. Their concept of knowledge
was not just literacy but deeper.

I wish to reproduce a paragraph from the
book, Hinduism and Buddhism, An
Historical Sketch Vol 1 by Sir Charles
Eliot. "The best opinion of India has
always felt that the way of knowledge or
Jnana was the true way. The favourite
thesis of the Braahmans was that a man
should devote his youth to study, his
maturity to the duties and ceremonies of
a householder, and his age to more
sublime speculations. But at all periods
the idea that it was possible to know
God and the universe was allied to the
idea that all ceremonies as well as all
worldly effort and indeed all active
morality are superfluous.
All alike are unessential and trivial, and
merit the attention only of those who
know nothing higher. Human feelings
and interests qualified and contradicted
this negative and unearthly view of
religion, but still popular sentiment as
well as philosophic thought during the
whole period of which we know
something of them in India tended to
regard the highest life as consisting in
rapt conemplation or insight
accompanied by the suppression of
desire and by disengagement from
mundane ties and interests. But
knowledge in Indian theology implies
more intensity than we attach to the
word and even some admixture of
volition. The knowledge of Braahman is
not an understanding of pantheistic
doctrines such as may be obtained by
reading the Sacred Books of the East in
an easy chair but a realization (in all
senses) of personal identity with the
universal spirit, in the light of which all
material attachments and fetters fall

The books are read after many years
and still the knowledge in these books
remains the same. As the old theories
are discarded because of the new
theories that found them incorrect, new
books with the new theories are written.

Wise people will not hesitate to throw
away the old books and adopt the new
theories in the new books. What
prevents us from discarding the old

There are no new acceptable theories
that can replace them. The subjects are
enormously abstract. We are probably
searching in wrong places for the
answers. There may not be any answers
to some of the questions.

But evolution of knowledge to the
present level lets us rethink our beliefs
and traditions so that we do not follow
blindly what is in the older books.

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