Without going out of my door
I can know all things of earth
Without looking out of my window
I could know the ways of heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows

Without going out of your door
You can know all things on earth
Without looking out of your window
You could know the ways of heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows

Arrive without traveling
See all without looking
Do all without doing

Lyrics submitted by Ice

"The Inner Light" as written by George Harrison

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Inner Light song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commentfirst, there's a line missing, what's in the parentheses should be replaced with "Do all without doing"

    next, prepare yourselves, this is fascinating:

    So apparently, George and John were doing a tv interview that focused on meditation and their experiences in India. A Sanskrit scholar at Cambridge saw it and was impressed by their sincerity and knowledge of Indian philosophy, and wrote George a letter. He suggested that George set lyrics to his (the scholar's) rendering of some verses of the Tao Te Ching (you know... the Chinese book of Taoism). These were the verses:
    Without going out of my door
    I can know all things on earth.
    Without looking out of my window
    I can know the ways of heaven.

    For the farther one travels,
    The less one knows.

    The sage therefore
    Arrives without travelling,
    Sees all without looking,
    Does all without doing.

    -Lao Tzu
    queenofswordson March 16, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this is more about how a lot of people think they know everything and have everything figured out because they have so many life experiences; or have read alot of books and traveled, or are intellectuals and know about 'high art' - I think this song is really saying that the people who tend to know the most, are the ones who appear to people like THOSE, to know the least. I've never really been a Beatles fan - at all - but I saw this song posted somewhere and Googled the lyrics and fell in love with them because it says what I've been secretly suspecting for a long time now.

    It's also personally significant to me because I'm a bit of a shut-in, and when people find out they always start to immediately dismiss and discard anything I have to say or anything I think like, "What can you know about ANYthing? You barely even leave your house." It's like this song managed to put into words exactly what I've always felt about that, but could never manage to put into words, myself.
    Slingshot5on May 27, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a really amazing song that gets over looked a great deal.
    bluebirdofpeaceon September 28, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree, this is a bad ass song. Not a lot of people know of it I guess because it wasn't on any of their albums
    ComfortablyNumb2Uon April 18, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, one of the great overlooked b-sides. Also one of George's very Indian influenced songs.
    cronoyuhaon February 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti love this song. i like the lyrics but not as much as the tune and instruments used and overall feeling of the song
    wilcokidon April 12, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is so cool! Very spiritual!

    I think this means that you can reach your goal by just believing in something. I love the last part. Arrive without travelling and all that.

    pJ ;P
    handsdown4dbeatleson February 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI adore this song. The line "the farther one travels, the less one knows" sums up everything. You don't need to experience everything in life to have lived life.
    estheroon February 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think there's a clear straight line from "Within You Without You" to "The Inner Light". Obviously Harrison has learned something in those couple of years, and it comes shining out here in his writing. Also consider his songs pre and post "Inner Light". Before, most were disenchanted, frustrated, or, at best, worrisome. (Consider Blue Jay Way, Piggies, Within You Without You, While My Guitar Gently Weeps) After, he seemed to achieve a sort of Zen-like calm. (All Things Must Pass, My Sweet Lord, Here Comes The Sun, Give Me Love, etc.) This appears to be the turning point in Harrison's life.

    The lyrics pretty much say one thing: "The answer is inside." This is a motif in about a billion other Indian songs, and Harrison Anglofies it here with great skill.

    The music is calm and celebratory all at once. I'm not sure of the instruments, I confess, but the thing that sounds like an organ provides continuity while the plucked instruments provide almost wild variation. Thusly, at the end ("Do all without doing, know all without knowing.), you can feel yourself being sort of swept up in a whirlpool of peace. Seems contradictory, eh? Too bad. It's Harrison.
    81rdon March 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHmmm it's obviously about weed. How else is it possible to know all of heaven's ways without looking out the window?
    Featherstonon October 08, 2009   Link

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