Q: I read your answer to the question “Enlightenment is not an experience” here: https://www.advaita-vision.org/q-389-enlightenment-is-not-an-experience/
You mention, “It is not about experience at all, it is about self-knowledge – the direct knowledge that you are already that which you seek.”
Let’s say I don’t know what 2+2 equals. Then you teach me that it equals 4. Is that knowledge? (intellectually knowing more stuff?) Or is knowledge (Self knowledge) something different?
A: Suppose that you don’t know anything about quantum mechanics or cellular biology, metallurgy etc. In theory, you could probably spend a lifetime learning about all these and other disciplines. This would all be ‘intellectual knowledge’ and could not alter basic understanding of ‘life, the universe and everything’ (especially who ‘you’ are).
Self-knowledge is something quite different. It is something that you sort of know already but hadn’t realized that you did, because it is a totally different way of looking at things (compared to how we are taught and live in modern society). Some of the metaphors that are used are the ‘tenth man’ story, the rope and snake, the lady who lost her necklace, and the realizing that some famous person is in fact the same person you knew as a child.
Intellectual knowledge always leads onto something else. As someone once put it, you learn more and more about less and less. When you gain knowledge of the ‘Self-knowledge’ variety, you also simultaneously gain the knowledge that you do not need any further explanation. You can go on acquiring intellectual knowledge all of your life and still not reach an end to it. Self-knowledge is binary – you did not previously realize that this is how things are; now you do.
Have a look at questions 42, 92, 362, 387 too.