If you think this quote from Mundaka Upanishad undermines Vedic knowledge in any way, then you do not understand the quote. It is speaking of the sublime and subtle relationship between the Pure Absolute and the finest finest level of existence. It is a beautiful commentary on the structure of existence. This topic seems to keep coming up which is why this is posted here. To those that seem to lose sight of the importance or even the possibility of their awakening to the Absolute, I would say read this quote. To those who would not understand or appreciate the profound value of reason, Vedic literature, and the Vedic rituals, I would say that you too do not understand this quote.
My life is one of dedication to knowledge… both aspects of knowledge. We are all in great debt to the Pandits and scholars who preserve and share Vedic knowledge. You must of course, keep your ‘eye on the ball’ as you pursue the Self… the ‘higher Knowledge’ that is spoken of in the quote… enlightenment. When held and understood properly, you understand the exquisite relationship between the two. Each honors and reveres the other.
This Self cannot be obtained by studying the scriptures,
nor through the use of reason,
nor from the words of others
-no matter what they say.
By the grace of the Self is the Self known,
The Self reveals Itself.
‘Those who know Brahman,’ Angiras replied,
‘say that there are two kinds of knowledge,
– the higher and the lower.
The lower is that of the four Vedas
– Rig, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva,
and of the accompanying sciences:
pronunciation, ritual, grammar,
etymology, metre, and astrology.
But higher is that through which the Eternal
is directly experienced.
But verily, these rituals are unsafe boats
They cannot reach the farthest shore.
The Vedic sciences are but the lower
who take them as the higher,
sink once more into old age and death.
Though they think themselves wise and learned
they are fools lost in ignorance,
a prey to suffering,
wandering without direction,
like the blind led by the blind.