Thinking - The Tyranny of the Mind

Dennis Waite dwaite at INTERALPHA.CO.UK
Sat Aug 9 13:09:05 CDT 1997

Following the universal critical acclaim of my article last year on
'Happiness' (well, a few people said they liked it!), I am putting together
one on 'Thinking' this year. I am presenting it to my group in the Advaita
school on Monday but would hope to reformat it into an essay subsequently. I
would like to invite critical comments (well, not too critical!) and
suggestions for extra material from the members of the list. The first part
of the substance of the material I have prepared so far is attached. The
second part will be posted separately since Eudora claims it has
insufficient memory to cope with the whole text.



^ÑThinking^Ò - What does this mean? What about opinions, dreams, beliefs etc.

^ÑI think therefore I am^Ò is almost a cliché now in the West when we talk
about qualifying our existence. When Descartes originally formulated this he
meant that, because he was able to think, therefore he could not doubt his
existence. But it seems that now we interpret this almost as ^ÑBecause I
exist, therefore I have to think^Ò. In Eastern thought, the ^ÑI am^Ò comes
first and one of the characteristics of this conscious being, man, is that
he is able to think. He does not have to use this tool all of the time and,
indeed, it is detrimental to his development to do so. It has become a
tyrannical master rather than a useful slave.

We refer to many aspects of thought. Some we may agree to be futile, like
day-dreaming - we even refer to ^Ñidle^Ò thoughts - but most of us hold
^Ñopinions^Ò which we would defend almost to the death and all of us lay claim
to things we call ^Ñbeliefs^Ò. We ^Ñfear^Ò some things and ^Ñdesire^Ò others. We
make ^Ñplans^Ò and ^Ñsolve^Ò problems. All of these involve the formulation and
manipulation of ^Ñconcepts^Ò in the brain and we assign values to these. Are
they ultimately of any value or do they simply divert us from the true
purpose in life? Is our attachment to them, whatever ^Ñtruth^Ò may be
associated with them, actually a limitation as far as our essential nature
is concerned?

What are these various ^Ñcategories^Ò of thought? Of ^Ñopinion^Ò John Erskine
says ^ÓOpinion is that exercise of the human will which helps us to make a
decision without information.^Ô Someone else noted ^ÓA man is getting along on
the road to wisdom when he begins to realise that his opinion is just an
opinion.^Ô And Albert Einstein recognised how most of our opinions are
acquired through our upbringing anyway:- ^ÓFew people are capable of
expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of
their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such
opinions.^Ô And is belief anything more than a strongly held opinion?

Emerson said:- ^ÓWe are born believing. A man bears beliefs, as a tree bears
apples.^Ô Michel de Montaigne^Òs opinion was that ^ÓNothing is so firmly
believed as that which we least know.^Ô What is the difference between
believing something and knowing it?

Voltaire said of ^Ñknowledge^Ò:- ^ÓThe more I read, the more I meditate, and
the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.^Ô H. L.
Mencken thought ^ÓWe are here and it is now. Further than that all human
knowledge is moonshine.^Ô And is real knowledge something that we get (e.g.
from experience) or is it rather an absence of all the ideas, opinions etc.
which get in the way of a right response to an outside stimulus? (^ÓYou can
never gain knowledge; you can only lose ignorance.^Ô Me)

                            - Any preliminary thoughts? -

Does ^Ñthinking make us free^Ò or are we ^Ñat the mercy of our thoughts^Ò?

A little reflection will show that we are often at the mercy of our
thoughts. As Hamlet says, ^ÓThere is nothing either good or bad, but thinking
makes it so^Ô and later
^ÓThus conscience doth make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o^Òer with the pale cast of thought^Ô.
Chinmayananda said - ^ÓMind can make a hell out of heaven or a heaven out of
hell^Ô. Even Henry Ford acknowledged the power of thoughts in affecting our
behaviour - ^ÓWhether you think you can or think you can^Òt - you are right^Ô.
Even when we have difficulty admitting this of ourselves, we should be able
to see this in others easily. If we have ever attempted to persuade someone
out of their viewpoint, when they are unreasonably holding on to some stupid
opinion in defiance of our contradictory but perfectly reasonable one, we
will know how people can be totally influenced  by the power of a thought.
As Ambrose Pierce said, an opinion is ^ÓTo be positive: To be mistaken at the
top of one^Òs voice^Ô. George Lichtenberg^Òs conclusion was that ^ÓNothing is
more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinions at all^Ô.

Various authors have concluded that most of us, most of the time, are
effectively tyrannised by our thoughts. Emerson has said ^ÓWe are prisoners
of ideas^Ô and Jules Renard ^ÓA cold in the head cause less suffering than an
idea^Ô. Byron puts it more poetically:-

^ÓWhat exile from himself can flee?
  To zones, though more and more remote,
Still, still pursues, where^Òer I be,
  The blight of life - the demon Thought.^Ô

A view from Western Philosophy

As usual, Western Philosophy seems to get itself into a somewhat confused
state when considering what we mean by ^Ñthinking^Ò and it is this sort of
attitude which passes into general use and influences the way most people
seem to view the subject . Gilbert Ryle, one of the most celebrated of
modern philosophers, with the long history of the best thinkers of the West
on which to base his considerations, seems to end up with a view almost
diametrically opposed to that which we might take (though perhaps things
seem worse than they really are because he doesn^Òt have access to the
Sanskrita terms which allow us to clarify the issues). The following extract
illustrates this.

Suppose Jack is driving along rather carelessly, not paying due attention to
the road: you say, ^ÑFor heaven^Òs sake, think what you are doing!^Ò Or Jill
hands you the sugar bowl at tea, and you say, ^ÑYou^Òre not thinking! I gave
up sugar months ago^Ò. Or your partner at tennis misses an easy shot he
should be able to play quite well; exasperated, you say ^ÑCome on, keep your
mind on the game!^Ò Here what is missing from Jack^Òs performance (and Jill^Òs
and the tennis player^Òs) is a certain concentration on the task in hand: you
want Jack and the others to keep their wits about them, to pay attention and
perhaps use some intelligence.

Now what is the difference between doing something with thought and doing it
without thinking what one is doing? This was a favourite question of Gilbert
Ryle^Òs, and he gives a most persuasive account of the type of difference
involved here. Consider the tennis player, for example: what does his
thinking amount to? Well, not in

musing, meditating, pondering, deliberating, ruminating, reflecting or being
pensive save in the unoccupied intervals between rallies, games or sets.
While he is engaged in the game, with his mind on the game, he mostly is
unreflective or unpensive. He is not in a brown study, nor even in a series
of fleeting brown studies: the tennis player^Òs thinking almost consists in
his whole and at least slightly schooled attention being given to, inter
alia, the flight of the ball over the net, the position of his opponent, the
strength of the wind, and so on. His quick and appropriate responses to what
occurs around him on the tennis court show that the player is concentrating.

The thoughtful tennis player is not doing two things at once, outwardly
running and hitting the ball and inwardly cogitating: these aren^Òt two
separable performances such that one could have the thinking without the
running and hitting. Rather, the player is doing one thing, i.e. playing
tennis, and doing it in an intelligent and attentive manner. This
attentiveness is obviously not separable from his playing. Ryle makes a
parallel point for the case of thoughtful driving:

Driving with care is not doing two things, as driving with a song is. I can
stop driving and go on singing, or vice versa. I can do the one well and the
other badly; the one obediently and the other disobediently. But I cannot
stop driving and go on exercising traffic care. In obeying your command to
drive carefully, I am not conjointly obeying two commands, such that I might
have disobeyed the first while obeying the second.

You can^Òt have the attentive care without the driving, any more than you can
have the grin without the Cheshire Cat. The cat counts as grinning, not in
virtue of there being a mysterious associated entity (^Ña grin^Ò), but in
virtue of the manner in which its features are currently arranged.
Similarly, the player and the driver count as thinking what they are doing,
not in virtue of there being a special process of ^Ñthought^Ò going on behind
the scenes, but in virtue of the manner and setting of their overt performances.

In this sort of case then, to say that someone is thinking is - very broadly
speaking - to characterise the manner of some activity (be it driving,
playing tennis or whatever). The difference between performing an activity
with thought and performing it without it is a difference in overall style
and setting: it isn^Òt a difference in the number of things being done at
once. (Ref. 1)

We can see the sort of unnecessary confusion which this ever-so-logical
approach to explanation gets us into. We would explain this quite simply. It
all comes down to whether manas is allowed to function correctly or not. If
it is, information from the senses is passed cleanly, with nothing added,
and presented to buddhi. The situation is seen instantly for what it is and
the appropriate response made back to the organs of action. This is neither
^Ñdoing something with thought^Ò nor ^Ñnot thinking about it^Ò. Thought simply
does not come into the equation. On the other hand, if manas does not
function correctly, then we do start thinking about it. ^ÑShould I hit the
ball to his backhand this time since I haven^Òt done so for some time and it
is not one of his best strokes^Ò........and so on. When this happens, we
suddenly find our game goes to pieces. And yet, we are now thinking about
it, not acting without thought.

One of the main problems is that we seem to become confused ourselves about
what it is that really matters. Instead of the ^Ñreal^Ò world outside and our
response to it, we start to give a disproportionate attention to the
thoughts about it inside our head. This is the confusion of the symbol with
the reality, of the menu with the meal and results in Western Philosophers
spending the majority of their lives thinking and arguing about the
^Ñessence^Ò of things (like beauty and justice) when, perhaps, all they are
really discussing is how people use the words and the ideas.

This was one of the favourite topics of Alan Watts.

Several thousand years ago, human beings evolved the system of
self-consciousness, and they knew they knew.

    There was a young man who said 'though
    It seems that I know that I know,
    What I would like to see
    Is the I that sees me
    When I know that I know that I know.'

And this is the human problem: we know that we know. Suppose that you could
live absolutely spontaneously. You don't make any plans, you just live like
you feel like it. And you say 'What a gas that is, I don't have to make any
plans, anything. I don't worry; I just do what comes naturally.'
The way the animals live, everybody envies them, because look, a cat, when
it walks--did you ever see a cat making an aesthetic mistake. Did you ever
see a badly formed cloud? Were the stars ever mis-arranged? When you watch
the foam breaking on the seashore, did it ever make a bad pattern? Never.
And yet we think in what we do, we make mistakes. And we're worried about
that. So there came this point in human evolution when we lost our
innocence. When we lost this thing that the cats and the flowers have, and
had to think about it, and had to purposely arrange and discipline and push
our lives around in accordance with foresight and words and systems of
symbols, accountancy, calculation and so on, and then we worry. Once you
start thinking about things, you worry as to if you thought enough. Did you
really take all the details into consideration? Was every fact properly
reviewed? And by jove, the more you think about it, the more you realise you
really couldn't take everything into consideration, because all the
variables in every decision are incalculable, so you get anxiety. And this,
though, also, is the price you pay for knowing that you know. For being able
to think about thinking, being able to feel about feeling. And so you're in
this funny position.
Now then, do you see that this is simultaneously an advantage and a terrible
disadvantage? What has happened here is that by having a certain kind of
consciousness, a certain kind of reflexive consciousness--being aware of
being aware. Being able to represent what goes on fundamentally in terms of
a system of symbols, such as words, such as numbers. You put, as it were,
two lives together at once, one representing the other. The symbols
representing the reality, the money representing the wealth, and if you
don't realise that the symbol is really secondary, it doesn't have the same
value. People go to the supermarket, and they get a whole cart load of
goodies and they drive it through, then the clerk fixes up the counter and
this long tape comes out, and he'll say '$30, please,' and everybody feels
depressed, because they give away $30 worth of paper, but they've got a cart
load of goodies. They don't think about that, they think they've just lost
$30. But you've got the real wealth in the cart, all you've parted with is
the paper. Because the paper in our system becomes more valuable than the
wealth. It represents power, potentiality, whereas the wealth, you think oh
well, that's just necessary; you've got to eat. That's to be really mixed up.
So then. If you awaken from this illusion, and you understand that black
implies white, self implies other, life implies death--or shall I say, death
implies life--you can conceive yourself. Not conceive, but FEEL yourself,
not as a stranger in the world, not as someone here on sufferance, on
probation, not as something that has arrived here by fluke, but you can
begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental. What you are
basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure
of existence itself. So, say in Hindu mythology, they say that the world is
the drama of God. God is not something in Hindu mythology with a white beard
that sits on a throne, that has royal prerogatives. God in Indian mythology
is the self, 'Satchitananda.' Which means 'sat,' that which is, 'chit,' that
which is consciousness; 'ananda', that which is bliss. In other words, what
exists, reality itself is gorgeous, it is the fullness of total joy. And all
those stars, if you look out in the sky, is a fireworks display like you see
on the fourth of July, which is a great occasion for celebration; the
universe is a celebration, it is a fireworks show to celebrate that
existence is. (Ref. 11)


But what about memories? Surely by remembering I can also know what is past?
Very well, remember something. Remember the incident of seeing a friend
walking down the street. What are you aware of? You are not actually
watching the veritable event of your friend walking down the street. You
can^Òt go up and shake hands with him, or get an answer to a question you
forgot to ask him at the past time you are remembering. In other words, you
are not looking at the actual past at all. You are looking at a present
trace of the past.

It is like seeing the tracks of a bird on the sand. I see the present
tracks. I do not, at the same time, see the bird making those tracks an hour
before. The bird has flown, and I am not aware of him. From the tracks I
infer that a bird was there. From memories you infer that there have been
past events. You know the past only in the present and as part of the
present. ^Å^Å^Å^Å^Å.  Memory is the corpse of an experience from which the life
has vanished. (Ref. 12)

A distinction has been made between ^Ñindirect^Ò day-dreaming type thoughts
and direct, spontaneous thoughts which do not involve discursive manas.
Paine says ^ÓThere are two distinct classes of what we call thoughts: those
that we produce in ourselves by reflection and the act of thinking and those
that bolt into the mind of their own accord.^Ô Nisargadatta describes this well:-

Thoughts which form day-dreaming, or thoughts of regret about the events in
the past, or thoughts of fear and worry and anticipation regarding the
future are surely very much different from the thoughts which spring up
spontaneously from the depths of one^Òs psyche, what one might call thoughts
that do not need any argument and interpretation by the mind. The former are
to be ignored and avoided; the latter are incapable of being ignored or
avoided, because they are essentially spontaneous and immediate and
basically non-conceptual.

The very first thought ^ÑI am^Ò is surely a thought, but one that does not
need any argument or confirmation from the mind. Indeed, as the basis of all
further thought, it is the pre-conceptual thought - the very source of the
mind. Living according to indirect or mediate thought, in a divided,
dualistic mind is what most people do because they have identified
themselves with a pseudo-entity that considers itself as the subject of all
actions. But direct or absolute thought is the process by which the Absolute
non-manifest manifests itself. Such thought is spontaneous and instantaneous
and therefore without the element of duration which is an aspect of the
split mind. Whenever there is duration the thought must necessarily be an
after-thought, interpreted phenomenally and dualistically.

No spontaneous, non-dual, intuitive thought can arise unless the storm of
conceptual thinking has subsided and the mind rests in a ^Ñfasting^Ò state;
and such thought obviously cannot know bondage. Instantaneous, pure thought
results in pure action without any tinge of bondage, because no entity is

Most religions were originally based upon direct pure thoughts. In the
course of time they degenerated into concepts. And on these concepts has
been erected gradually an enormous amorphous structure, made enchanting
enough to attract and mislead millions of people. (Ref. 3)

This is rationalising what we have been saying in the material for some time
now, which is that only when the mind is still, with manas functioning
correctly and no thoughts present can knowledge arise and action be totally
in response to the need without any trace of ahankara.

Discursive thoughts belong to the past, direct to the present.

Don^Òt allow the past to enter into your mind. Then you will be free and
happy. Most people are too attached to the trouble of the mind to part with
it. Don^Òt suppress thoughts, face them wherever they are. If you run away
the thoughts will just follow you and become stronger. Stand and face them;
stay in the present and don^Òt run to the past and they will disappear. Look
within, not without. The more you look within, the more beautiful you will
find yourself to be. This beauty has been hiding for decades, you have to do
nothing to know it. Simply do not think, and you will know who you are.

When your mind is going to the past, stop it and bring it to the present.
Mind itself is past. Mind itself is thought; look at it and it will stop
spinning. Look at any thought in front of you and concentrate on it. No
thought will come if you look at it, so anytime any thought comes, simply
look at it. (Ref. 4)

In the sense that all that we perceive has arisen through the senses and
been filtered by manas, all that we come to know or understand is in the
form of a concept in the mind.

Without concepts you cannot recognise anything, So all that  you see is that
which is previously stored in your memory. Like the dream tiger who pounces
on you in your dream. It makes you feel very frightened. You don^Òt say, ^ÓYou
are a dream tiger, purely a mental concept only, I am not afraid of you.^Ô
The dream  tigers are as fierce in the dream state as they are in the forest
in the waking state. Like this everything seems real. Everything you see or
touch or taste or hear or smell seems real, but actually they are not. They
are all concepts. (Ref. 4)

                           - What of all that? -

Of course, beyond the acknowledged lack of value of day dreams and the
dubious nature of opinions, we move into the realm of beliefs and knowledge.
These surely are the peak of the thinking mind and must be worthwhile. And
do not the heights of human endeavour, the achievement and beauty of
something like Einstein^Òs General Theory of Relativity have their humble
beginnings in a simple and possibly even trivial idea?

Most of our so-called knowledge is acquired (from parents, teachers, books etc.)

Books are one of the main influences of the way we live. Our parents teach
us this, our teachers at school teach us that and we read and filter and
eventually come up with what we have the audacity to call our ^Ñown^Ò theories
of the meaning of life and how we should live it. In reality, they are all
stale ideas recycled and regurgitated as if they were original. Oliver
Wendell Holmes, Jr. said ^ÓWe are all tattooed in our cradles with the
beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible.
You cannot educate a man wholly out of superstitious fears which were
implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject
them.^Ô And Alan Watts - ^ÓSome believe all that parents, tutors, and kindred
believe. They take their principles by inheritance, and defend them as they
would their estates, because they are born heirs to them.^Ô

People are possessed with groundless beliefs. Propositions are accepted
without question as a matter of course. Their beliefs rest upon mere
tradition or someone^Òs bare assertion unsupported by any proof. Do you
realise that many of your strongest beliefs had taken root in your early
childhood? Now, as an adult, you find it difficult to question their truth.
They seem to be obviously true. You feel even to question them would be
absurd. Here is a common example. Two men with different religious beliefs.
One is a staunch Roman Catholic. The other a devoted Muslim. Suppose they
had been exchanged in their cradles by mistake when they were born. And they
had been brought up with domestic, social and religious influences reversed.
What then would be the natural consequence? Would not each of them grow up
holding exactly the opposite belief and yet swear the truth by his opinion?
(Ref. 6)

The beginning of the way out of all this is to recognise the limitations of
the world of thought; remember the correct functioning of manas and
cultivate sattwa to allow buddhi to respond appropriately to the impressions
which are received.  Life is about living, not theorising. One could spend
the best part of one^Òs life dwelling on the mistakes of the past,
speculating about what might happen in the future or trying mentally to make
sense of all that is happening in the present. All of this is completely
missing the point. If there is any purpose in life, it can only be
discovered through living it.

The first thing: life cannot be practised. That which can be practised is
always the theory. Life has to be lived; there is no way to practice it,
there is no way to prepare and rehearse it. Life is spontaneous. Only
theories, dogmas, philosophies are to be practised; they are unreal. The
unreal has to be practised so that you can create an illusion of its
reality. The real has to be lived.

The two explorers were going through the jungle when a ferocious-looking
lion appeared on the track in front of them.
"Keep calm," said the first explorer. "Remember what we read in that book on
wild animals: if you stand absolutely still and look a lion straight in the
eyes, he will turn tail and run away."
"Fine," said the second explorer. "You have read the book, I have read the
book, but has he read the book?"

The books create problems, the books puzzle you. And the thing is very
absurd: they puzzle you in the name of trying to clarify things. They puzzle
you through their explanations. You are caught in those explanations because
you think that unless you have the explanations, how are you going to live?

Have you heard the famous anecdote about a centipede who was walking? It was
a sunny morning and it was beautiful, and the centipede was happy and must
have been singing in his heart. He was going, almost drunk with the morning air.

A frog sitting by the side was very puzzled -- he must have been a
philosopher. He asked: "Uncle, wait! You are doing a miracle. A hundred
legs! How do you manage? Which leg comes first, which comes second, third --
and so on and so forth, up to a hundred! You don't get puzzled? How do you
manage? It looks impossible to me."
The centipede said: "I have never thought about it. Let me brood." And
standing there, he started trembling and he fell down on the ground. He
himself became so puzzled -- a hundred legs! How is one going to manage?

Philosophy paralyses people.
You are paralysed by your philosophies. Life needs no philosophy, life is
enough unto itself. It needs no crutches; it needs no support, no props. It
is enough unto itself.
This is the first thing I would like to convey to you; this is my
understanding, not my theory; this is how I feel life to be. It is not a
mind thing, it is my existential experience. Trust life. And if you trust in
life, I call you religious. Trust in life is trust in God. God becomes a
theory; when you dissolve that theory only life is left in its tremendous
mystery, shimmering, just surrounding you within and without. And you are
part of it, part of its ecstasy. "What is more important," the questioner
has asked, "the practice of life or the theory?"

Practice is needed only for a theory. Life needs no practice. You have
simply to live it without brooding, without bringing the mind in. Once you
bring the mind in you have started distorting life.

"Is it possible for someone as ignorant as I am to attain to enlightenment?"
It is possible only for those who recognise their ignorance -- because those
are the innocent people, who recognise their ignorance. The recognition of
ignorance is the very door to enlightenment. If you think you know, then you
will be debarred.
Pundits have never become enlightened -- they cannot. They have too much
knowledge, they are burdened too much with knowledge. They are like donkeys
carrying scriptures -- that's what Jalaluddin Rumi has said. And a donkey
remains a donkey -- whether he carries a Koran on his back or not does not
matter. You can carry scriptures in your memory, but memory is not
knowledge. To memorise a thing is not to know it. To memorise a thing is a
way to avoid knowing it. It is very cheap. A computer can do it; there is
nothing human about it, nothing special. The computer can do better. All
that your mind can do the computer can do better. So there is nothing
special about it, nothing human, nothing divine. It is a mechanical thing.

You can remember, you can memorise as much information as available, but
that is not going to help you. You can become a walking Encyclopaedia
Britannica, but the donkey will be carrying the Koran unless you become
aware that life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved. Then
you approach in a totally different way; the approach becomes qualitatively
different. Then you approach through awareness, not through knowledge. Then
you approach immediately, directly. You look into life without any clouds
hindering your eyes -- Christian, Mohammedan, Hindu. No clouds; just pure
eyes, just looking like an innocent child....  To become that innocent child
the first requirement is to understand that you are ignorant. It is one of
the most difficult things.

It is simple to renounce riches, but very difficult to renounce knowledge.
Many people renounce riches: they renounce their families, their homes, the
world, but they don't, they never renounce their knowledge. I used to know a
man who renounced the world. We were together in the university. After a few
years I came across him in a city; I went to see him. He had renounced
everything, he had become a Jain monk. I asked him: "Are you still a Jain?"
He said: "Why not? I am a Jain, I was born a Jain."
I said: "I was thinking you had renounced everything, but knowledge you have
saved? You have renounced your parents, but you have not renounced that
which your parents have taught you. This is something! You have renounced
your home, but you are still carrying subtle impressions of the home. That's
what being a Jain is! If you had been brought up in a Mohammedan family, you
would have been a Mohammedan. If you were never told by anybody that you are
a Jain, you could not have become a Jain. You have renounced the family, you
say. You say: 'I have renounced my mother, father, my wife, my children.'
Then why are you carrying knowledge that was given by them? Renounce that
too!" He looked puzzled. He said: "That is difficult."

It is easy to renounce riches because they are outside; knowledge is an
inner richness.
It is easy to renounce the worldly things because they are like clothes --
you can undress. But to renounce knowledge is like renouncing your skin; it
is not so easy. It is painful, very painful. And from where does the pain
come? The pain comes from the ego -- because knowledge is the food for the
ego. It is the subtlest food for the ego. The more you know, the more you
feel powerful.

Lord Bacon has said: "Knowledge is power." It is very difficult to renounce
power. Money too is power, but nothing compared to knowledge -- because
money can be robbed: the government can change, communists can come, money
can be distributed. You cannot rely on the money; the bank can go broke. But
knowledge is more secure: no government can take it away, no change of
politics can take it away, nobody can rob you of it, and you cannot go so
easily bankrupt. Knowledge seems to be more secure. And any day, if you have
knowledge, you can produce money -- not otherwise. Knowledge can bring
money, not otherwise. Money may not be able to bring knowledge, so knowledge
is more of a richness, a greater wealth, more powerful -- and the subtlest
possession inside. The ego feels very good: "I know." That's why it is one
of the most difficult things to recognise that "I don't know". The moment
you recognise that you don't know, you become innocent, you become
available...the ego disappears.

Because truth is mysterious and unknowable, and cannot be analysed and
dissected. There is no way to know it. You can be the truth, but you cannot
know it -- because for knowing, distance is needed. For knowledge, truth has
to be there as an object, you have to be there inside as a subject, and
between you two happens knowledge.

There is no need to study anything. Everything is revealed; you just need
clear eyes. Study is not needed. You are not to go into the books, you have
just to see the greenery of the trees, smell the fragrance of the flowers,
listen to the birds, and the sound of running water, and the beautiful
clouds floating in the sky....
Everything is so perfect and everything is so tremendously beautiful. You
just approach this great shrine of God. God is enshrined here in every
stone, and every stone is a sermon, and He is flowering in every flower, and
He is breathing in every heart. You just approach with innocence, and
everywhere you will find it is holy ground.

Every bush is afire with God -- because life itself is what God is all
about; the totality, the wholeness of life is what God is all about. You
just approach with clear, childlike, innocent eyes. That will do. The
universe is your university. And the Koran and the Vedas and the Bible and
the Geeta are irrelevant -- God's greatest book is just in front of you.
Turn its pages.

When you move from the trees and you look up to the sky you have turned a
page. When you look at the sun, you have turned another page. When you look
at your child, into his eyes, you have turned another page.
This is what the real Veda, the real Koran, the real Bible is. This is the
book, and all other books are man-made. (Ref. 7)

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