The courage to be ignorant
WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES OF THE SEEKER OF TRUTH?
Every child is born with an innate search for truth. It is not something learned or adopted later on in life. Truth simply means, "I am, but I do not know who I am." And the question is natural -- "I must know the reality of my being." It is not a curiosity.
These are the three differences, or three categories the world can be divided into: there are things which are, but they do not know that they are; hence there is no opening for any enquiry. They are closed, their existence is windowless. Then there are animals who know that they are, but they don't have the intelligence to enquire what it is that they are.
Their windows are open, but their intelligence is not enough to look out and see the stars and the sky and the birds and the trees. Their windows -- whether opened or closed -- don't make much difference.
Perhaps once in a while a rare animal uses the window. In Shri Raman Maharshi's ashram... and he was one of the most significant people of this century. He was not a master; that's why people don't know him as they know George Gurdjieff or J.
Krishnamurti. They don't know him even as they know Sri Aurobindo or P.D. Ouspensky who were only teachers -- profound teachers, but not mystics.
Raman Maharshi was a silent pool of energy. Every morning he used to sit for a silent satsang, communion. He never talked much, unless asked something. Then too his answer was very short -- having profundity, but you had to look for it. There was no explanation in it. His literature is confined to two, three small booklets.
His teaching was mostly to be in silent communion with the disciples. Naturally, very few people were benefited by him. But every morning he was sitting, people were sitting, and a cow would come and stand outside, putting her neck through the window, and she would remain standing there while the satsang lasted. It must have continued for years.
People came and went, new people came, but the cow remained constant... and at the exact time, never late. And as the satsang would disperse she would move away.
One day she did not appear, and Shri Raman said, "Today satsang cannot be held, because my real audience is absent. I am afraid either the cow is very sick or she has died, and I have to go and look for her." He lived on a mountain in the south of India, Arunachal. The cow belonged to a poor woodcutter who lived near the ashram. Raman left the temple where they used to meet, went to the woodcutter and asked, "What happened? The cow has not come today for satsang."
The woodcutter said, "She is very sick and I am afraid she is dying, but she goes on looking out of the door, as if she is waiting for someone. Perhaps she is waiting for you, to see you for the last time. Perhaps that is why she is hanging around a little longer."
Raman went in and there were tears in the eyes of the cow. And she died happily, putting her head in the lap of Raman Maharshi. This happened just in this century, and Raman declared her enlightened, and told his people that a beautiful memorial should be made for her.
It is very rare for human beings to be enlightened; it is almost impossibly rare for animals to become enlightened, but the cow attained. She will not be born again. From the body of a cow she has bypassed the whole world of humanity, and she has jumped ahead and joined with the buddhas. So once in a while -- there are a few instances only -- it has happened. But that cannot be called the rule; it is just the exception.
Things are, but they do not know that they are. Animals are, they know that they are, but they don't have the intelligence to ask who they are. And it is not something to be wondered about. Millions of human beings never ask the question -- that is the third category.
Man is, is aware that he is, and is capable by birth to enquire who he is. So it is not a question of learning, cultivation, education; you bring the quest with yourself. You are the quest.
Your society destroys you. It has very sophisticated ways and means to destroy your quest, to remove the question from your being, or at least cover it up. And the method it uses is this: before the child has even asked who he is, the answer is given. And any answer that has been given before the question has been asked is futile; it is going to be just a burden.
He is told that he is a soul, that he is a spirit, that he is not a body, that he is not material.
Or, in communist countries he is told that he is a body, just material, and that only in the old days, out of fear and ignorance, did people believe that they have souls -- that that is just a superstition. But in both cases, the child is being given an answer for which he has not asked. And his mind is delicate, pure... and he trusts his mother, his father -- there is no reason for him not to trust.
He starts a journey of belief, and belief kills the quest. He becomes more and more knowledgeable. Then education is there, religious education is there, and there is no end to collecting knowledge. But all this knowledge is futile -- not only futile, but poisonous, because the first step has gone wrong. The question was not asked, and the answer has been implanted in his mind, and since then he has been collecting more and more answers. He has completely forgotten that any answer that is not the finding of a question is meaningless.
So the only quality of a seeker of truth is that he does not believe, that he is not a believer, that he is ready to be ignorant rather than to be knowledgeable, because ignorance is at least natural, simple, innocent. And out of ignorance there is a possibility, almost a certainty, that the question will arise, that the journey will begin. But through knowledge you are lost in a jungle of words, theories, doctrines, dogmas. And there are so many, and they are so contradictory to each other, that soon you will find yourself more and more confused... more and more knowledgeable and more and more confused.
As far as I am concerned the basic quality of a seeker of truth is to cut himself away from all belief systems, from all borrowed knowledge -- in other words, to have the courage to be ignorant rather than to have borrowed knowledge. Ignorance has a beauty; it is at least yours, authentic, sincere. It has come with you. It is your blood, it is your bones, it is your marrow.
Knowledgeability is ugly, absolute rubbish. It has been poured upon you by others, and you are carrying the load of it. And the load is such that it will not give you any opportunity to enquire on your own what truth is. Your collection of knowledge will answer immediately that this is truth. If you are filled with THE HOLY BIBLE, then the question will be answered by THE HOLY BIBLE. If you are filled with the VEDAS, then the question will come out of the VEDAS. But it will come from some source outside yourself; it will not be your discovery. And that which is not your discovery is not yours.
Truth brings freedom because it is your discovery. It makes you fully into man; otherwise you remain on the level of the animals: you are but you don't know who you are.
The search for truth is really the search for the reality of your being.
Once you have entered your being, you have entered into the being of the whole, because we are different on the periphery but at the center we meet -- we are one. You can draw many lines from the periphery of a circle towards the center; those lines on the periphery have a certain distance from each other. But as they come closer to the center the distance goes on becoming less. And when they reach to the center the distance disappears.
At the center we are one.
At the periphery of existence we appear to be separate.
And to know the truth of your being is to know the truth of the whole.
There is just one quality, one courage: not to be afraid of being ignorant. On that point there can be no compromise, no cheap borrowed knowledge to decorate yourself with as a wise man. That's enough! Just be pure and natural, and out of that purity, naturalness, ignorance, innocence, the quest is bound to be born.
Every human being would be a seeker of truth if the society were not interfering with children.
The class of children is the most harmed, oppressed, exploited, distorted class of all classes -- and the most helpless. And you are taking advantage of the helplessness of small children. But you are also not responsible. The same has been done to you. It is difficult to find out who was responsible in the beginning. But as long as we can look back, this has been the situation: every generation corrupts the new generation, and anybody who wants to prevent this corruption is condemned as corrupting the youth.
Socrates was condemned for corrupting the youth, and all that he was doing was the simple process of removing borrowed knowledge and helping his disciples to be themselves and then "to know thyself." If anybody has served truth the most sincerely it was Socrates. But he was condemned by the court, by the law, by the people who were in power, for corruption, for corrupting young minds.
Strangely, in the land of Socrates I was also condemned as corrupting people's minds. It seems the technology of corrupting the youth has evolved immensely in two thousand years, because it took Socrates his whole life to corrupt, and I was only there for two weeks! And the archbishop was already threatening to burn my house, to stone me to death.
Why are they afraid? They know perfectly well that they have no foundations. So if anybody shows the young people that their knowledge is unfounded, that all their answers are bogus because they don't even have questions, that they are only repeating things parrot-like but they don't have any understanding of what they are saying... then anybody who has a little intelligence will be able to understand it immediately.
Is this corruption of the youth?
To bring people to the quest of the truth -- is this corruption?
It seems it is the greatest crime in the world in which -- unfortunately -- we are living.
PROBABLY NO ENLIGHTENED MASTER HAS SPOKEN SO MANY MILLIONS OF WORDS ABOUT THE TRUTH AS YOU HAVE. LAO TZU SAYS, "THE TRUTH THAT CAN BE SPOKEN IS NOT THE TRUTH."
BELOVED MASTER, WHAT DO YOU SAY?
Lao Tzu is right. The truth that can be spoken is no longer true, because the mechanism of language distorts the experience -- which happens beyond mind, beyond words. To pull it down to the darker valleys of language is certainly distorting it.
On the one hand it is true that the truth cannot be spoken; on the other hand, because the truth cannot be spoken it has to be spoken in thousands of ways. The problem is not that the truth will reach to you through thousands of ways, but you may become infected with the search. If a man speaks about the truth he may not be able to say it... but you can get a glimpse from his eyes, you can get something from his gestures -- something not from the words but the way the words are spoken, the emphasis, the gaps. The presence of such a man speaking may be just an excuse to allow you to be showered by his presence.
Lao Tzu cannot speak truth, but to be with Lao Tzu you may get the right direction. His presence may prove to you that there exists something that you know nothing about, and that it is so precious that all that you know and all that you have is worth sacrificing...
that what you see in the presence of the master, of a realized man, is so precious that it has to be discovered; it has to become your experience too.
I have spoken millions of words just in order to give you a taste, a feel. Truth I cannot give to you -- nobody can give it to you -- but I can open my heart to you, which has known the truth, lived the truth. And that opening may help you in a very indirect way to go on your own pilgrimage. It may give you confidence that all this talk about truth is not just talk, that it changes people, that it changes their very presence, that it gives them a certain fragrance, a certain power, a certain authority. They don't speak like anybody else.
They are not orators, they are not speakers; they simply open their heart. Perhaps the rhythm of their heart will change the rhythm of your heart.
Listening to them you may not get the truth, but you may be transported into another world: a world of silence, a world of immense peace, a world of benediction. And all those are immensely helpful for the search.
So Lao Tzu is both right and wrong: right because what he is saying is exactly so -- the spoken truth is no longer true. But that is not all. If the truth is spoken by someone, and if it is out of experience -- and it can only be out of experience -- then that very person, his every act radiates something. It is contagious. Hence, whether truth is conveyed to you or not is not important. What is important is that if you become convinced that there is something like truth, there is a certain transformation that brings the full flowering of the being, then the word, the language, has done more than can be expected!
So I say again, Lao Tzu is right and not right. And my emphasis on not right is more than on his being right; otherwise I would not have spoken millions of words, I would have remained silent.
But I saw that it is not only a question of speaking; much more is involved. It shows why no mystic in the whole history of man has ever written anything. The reason is that the written word will miss all that the spoken word has. It will be the same word -- spoken or written makes no difference. It will be the same statement written or spoken, but why has no mystic agreed to write? The reason is that they were all aware that the spoken word has a living quality, because experience is behind it, a heart is beating behind it, a consciousness is making arduous effort to reach to you.
The written word is dead, just a corpse. You can worship it but it cannot give you anything. All scriptures are dead. Perhaps when they were spoken it was a different phenomenon. If the man who had spoken them was speaking out of his own realization, then something -- the very vibe -- is carried away by the word.
Truth may not be expressed, but truth becomes a reality. Seeing the master, seeing one who is a realized one, you become certain: if you are groping in the dark, don't be worried, and don't feel hopeless. Go on groping! Every night has a morning to it, and sooner or later you will find the door, you will reach to the point. If one man has reached, the whole humanity can reach. He is enough proof.
So the question is not whether truth can be spoken or not, the question is whether a presence can create a conviction that there is something that you are missing -- and unless you find it your life will not be complete, will not be perfect.
FOR ME YOU SEEM TO BE POINTING THE WAY SO STRONGLY THESE DAYS AND I'VE ALMOST BECOME UNATTACHED TO THE FINGER... BUT THEN THERE IS THE ARM, AND THE TWINKLING EYES, THE SOUND OF YOUR VOICE, AND THE BEAUTIFUL GRACEFUL ATMOSPHERE THAT SURROUNDS YOU. WITH YOU IT IS SO EASY TO SAY MA NANA TO THE MOON.
WHAT TO DO?
There is nothing to do.
Say ma nana to the moon!
Just live the moment with intensity and totality. Live it with as much joy as possible, with as much love as possible, with no fear, no guilt. This existence is yours and this moment is a gift -- don't let it go to waste. And don't be worried about enlightenment, the moon.
This moment, living totally, is enlightenment.
Just the other day I was telling you the Buddhist sutra.... Gautam Buddha is really a miracle, because he even puts himself down. He creates a category beyond himself: a man who has gone beyond knowledge, beyond discipline, beyond enlightenment. Then billions of buddhas are not equal to him. That last part of the sutra is so valuable, particularly for you, because here is a man in front of you who has no knowledge, who has no discipline...
Just when we came here I was sleeping twenty hours a day. Nobody has done it before, and no religious person will forgive me -- twenty hours a day! I was getting up in the morning for two hours to take a bath and take my food and go to sleep again, and two hours in the evening to take my bath, eat my food and go to bed again. And I loved it.
I don't have a discipline; that's why I don't impose any discipline on you. When it has to be transcended, why bother in the first place to impose it? I am not telling you to read this holy book or that because finally it has to be transcended -- transcend it right now!
Even enlightenment has to be transcended.
I have never said it to anybody, but I have left enlightenment far behind. I have not said it because you will not understand it. It is difficult to understand enlightenment, and if I start saying that there is something even beyond it, you may lose all hope. You will say, "This is too much! First enlightenment was too much, and we were trying hard and nothing was happening. And now, beyond enlightenment... it is better to be ordinary and not bother about these things."
That's why I have not said it. But yesterday, the sutra, suddenly... I had no desire, but I could not deny the truth of what Buddha is saying. Experience, even the highest experience of enlightenment is still a duality: the experiencer and the experienced. And that duality has also to be dropped. But the moment you drop the experience, the experiencer also disappears -- they can exist only together.
And that is the state of nirvana.
All has disappeared, the whole drama -- the actors, the audience, everything has disappeared. Just an absolute silence prevails.
So don't be worried. Just try to live this moment as sincerely, as totally as possible, without being disturbed by the past or by the future. Undistracted, go deep into it, and that's enough. It is enlightenment.
One day it will explode. You need not wait for it; even your waiting will be a distraction.
You forget all about it. That's why in my presence you feel so good -- because there is no yesterday, no tomorrow. Just here... this is our whole world for the moment. One day that atomic explosion within you happens. And finally, one day you go even beyond it -- then everything disappears.
That's why I say again and again that what has happened in the East as far as spiritual growth is concerned is incomparable. All other religions are far behind. Now, no religion can say that knowledge disappears, discipline disappears, enlightenment disappears -- only then you are at home.
Buddha is saying billions of buddhas are not worth it: it is so valuable, the ultimate value.
And it is available to all, every moment of your life. It is so mysterious how you go on missing it; it is the one thing that should not be missed. But a centuries old wrong upbringing is destroying your small precious moment.
It is up to you to throw away all that upbringing and let this small moment be all -- and you have attained everything. Then you need not worry. Existence takes care. Existence is very compassionate.
WHERE IS MY QUESTION DISAPPEARING TO? IT IS THERE ONE MINUTE, AND WHEN I WANT TO WRITE IT DOWN IT IS GONE, BLANK. IS IT GOING INTO HIDING IN MY SUBCONSCIOUS? AND WHY?
It is not going into your unconscious. It is coming from your unconscious, but when you start writing it, it becomes conscious. And this is a simple process: anything unconscious becoming conscious starts disappearing; it loses meaning.
On this simple principle the whole of psychoanalysis stands. Your dreams are unconscious. Tell them to the psychoanalyst -- by telling them you will be making them conscious. And once they are conscious, they disappear.
Unconsciousness is a kind of basement where you go on throwing things, repressing things. Things that you don't want to see, things that you don't want to hear, things that you don't want to accept, you go on throwing into the unconscious. It is your rejected parts -- allow them to surface. And that is what is happening while you are asking the question, and why I am insisting that you go on asking.
My answer may help you or not, but your asking is going to help you certainly. If it is something unconscious that wants to come into light, and you start writing it, you find it is losing meaning. Its whole meaning is in repression. Unrepressed it bursts like a soap bubble.
So it is tremendously good. Go on doing it. Only intellectual questions will not disappear; intellectual questions will remain. But if a question is coming from the unconscious and is significant... Intellectual questions are rubbish; they don't have anything to do with your being and your change. Let your unconscious reveal, and you will start seeing changes -- not that the questions are disappearing, but your attitudes, your approaches, your behavior, even your dreams are changing.
It is a beautiful exercise to write down whatever you feel is somewhere lurking in the darkness of your mind. It is not very clear; there it is dark -- bring it into the light. And if you can bring all the contents of the unconscious into the conscious mind, your unconscious mind and your conscious mind will become one; they will be both conscious.
And it is such a gift -- because right now one-tenth of the mind is conscious, and nine- tenths is unconscious -- naturally it is nine times more powerful. So you decide something by the conscious mind, but the unconscious mind can cancel it -- it will cancel it! You decide that tomorrow morning you are going to get up at five o'clock -- the morning is so beautiful, so healthy, so fresh. Exactly at five the alarm wakes you, and something happens. You don't want to get up. You say, "We will see tomorrow. It is so beautiful right now under the blankets, so cozy." And you take a turn and go to sleep.
When you do wake up, you will condemn yourself, you will feel guilty. But you don't understand what has been happening. Your conscious mind had decided to wake up at five. The unconscious was never in agreement with it. You had never asked for the agreement -- there is no way to ask for agreement.
If you are hypnotized and your unconscious mind is told, "Wake up at five," then there will be no change; you will wake up at five, alarm or no alarm. But right now you take the decision with the conscious mind, and when you are asleep the conscious mind is no longer functioning.
It is the unconscious mind which is in power and functioning in your deep sleep. So when at five o'clock the alarm goes off, you pick up the alarm clock and throw it away -- because the unconscious mind has no idea what the conscious mind has decided, and it looks so foolish to the unconscious mind, an unnecessary disturbance. You simply go back to sleep. But when you wake up, the unconscious mind has gone back; the conscious mind has come into function. It remembers, "I had decided to wake up at five o'clock, and I cheated myself." It feels guilty, but it has not done anything; it is not responsible for it.
You decide not to be angry, you decide not to be tense, you decide a thousand things and the unconscious mind goes on cancelling them. It goes on doing the way it has always been doing. But if all the contents of the unconscious mind evaporate, then you have only one mind, conscious mind, day in, day out. Every decision will be followed, no decision will ever be cancelled. Your life will have integrity.
That's what I mean when I use the word `integrity.' You will have a kind of oneness. You can promise, and you can rely on your promise, because there is nobody in you who can cancel it. It is a decision of your total mind. And a decision of a total mind is immensely powerful.
It is good -- go on doing it. If questions are not enough, then you can make a notebook.
Just write anything unconscious, and don't be worried that anybody will see it, because there will be many things which you don't want anybody to see -- that's why you are keeping them in the dark. Don't be worried, just bring them into the open. Nothing is wrong.
Keeping it in the dark is wrong. Bringing it into the light changes the whole quality... it disappears.
THE SILENCE THAT HAPPENED THE OTHER DAY -- WAS THAT A TASTE OF WHERE YOU ARE POINTING YOUR FINGER?