Chapter 8: Beginningless Beginning, Endless End



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Knowledge of the ultimate is paradoxical for many reasons. One, the very claim that one knows becomes a hindrance because the moment you say, "I know," you are not only emphasizing knowledge; you are also emphasizing 'I' -- and the 'I' is the barrier. The ego is the most subtle barrier, but the strongest. So when someone says, "I know," the 'I' destroys the knowledge. The 'I' cannot know 'him' because he can be known only when you have disappeared completely. When you are not, only then he is. This is the first problem.

It is said that the oracle at Delphi declared Socrates to be the wisest man alive. Those who heard it came to Socrates and said, "The oracle has declared you to be the most wise man on earth."

Socrates is reported to have laughed and said, "They should have done it earlier -- then I would have been happy. Now it is too late. Go back and tell the oracle that now I am the most ignorant man on earth.

"When I was younger and full of ego, I was also of the same opinion as the oracle -- that I knew -- because the 'I' was so strong, it couldn't conceive that the ultimate mystery could not be known. The 'I' was so strong that I could not think that it was possible for me to be ignorant. Everything that was, was conceived by me as known, or at least as knowable. But as I grew in knowledge, in understanding, I became more and more aware of my ignorance. So now go back and tell the oracle that Socrates himself says that he is simply ignorant, that he doesn't know anything."

The people returned. They said to the oracle, "Socrates refuses to accept what you say, and when he himself refuses it means something. He says he is the most ignorant man."

The oracle laughed and said, "That is why I have declared him to be the most wise man because only the most wise can know that he is ignorant."

This is the paradox: those who are ignorant, they always think they know. This is part of ignorance. To think that you know is part of ignorance; it comes from ignorance. If you are ignorant you will think that you know much. The more ignorant, the more you will think that you know much. Ignorance is filled with knowledge. Ignorance, really, lives on knowledge, feeds on knowledge. The wiser you become, the more aware and understanding, the more you will feel how ignorant you are. And a moment comes when you feel that you do not know anything. Simply, you are ignorant. All the burden of knowledge is thrown away. There is no heaviness of knowledge on you. You have become so weightless that you can fly. Knowledge is a burden.

When you feel that you do not know, ego disappears; it cannot exist. It can exist only with knowledge. Really, whenever you claim knowledge, it is a claim by the ego: "I know." The emphasis is not on knowing, the emphasis is on I. When you say, "I do not know," the emphasis is not on ignorance; now the emphasis is on egolessness. The moment you say, "I do not know," where are you, where is the I? It is no more there. Now it is simply a word to be used. Now there exists nothing corresponding to it within you. This is the first problem.

One Christian mystic, Tertullian, has divided humanity into two classes. He said that one part of humanity is in one class -- that of ignorant knowers; and the other class is of those who are knowing ignorants. The whole humanity is divided in two. There is an ignorance which knows, and there is a knowledge which is ignorance. If you claim knowledge you are ignorant. If you accept ignorance you become knowing, because in ignorance the 'I' cannot exist. And when the 'I' is not there the door is open: you can look at reality directly. YOU are the only barrier. When you are not there the barrier is not there; this is the first thing.

The second thing: the ultimate is not only the unknown; the Brahman is not only the unknown -- it is unknowable also. You can know it, but you cannot know it totally. That creates again a new puzzle. You can know it but you cannot know it totally because you are just a part to it and the part cannot know the whole. How can the part know the whole totally? But also the part cannot be totally ignorant either because it belongs to the whole, it is part of the whole. So it knows in a way, it feels in a way, it understands in a way, but it cannot comprehend the total because the total is so vast.

A river dropping into the ocean... it comes to know the ocean, it feels the ocean, it lives in the ocean, it merges in it, but it cannot merge into the TOTAL ocean. It cannot spread to the total ocean; it cannot know the total ocean. It only knows a part of it.

When your consciousness falls like a river into the Brahman, into the ocean of the ultimate, you will know him but you will not know him in his totality. You cannot; there is no possibility. So the Brahman is unknowable because the whole remains unknowable to the part; hence, the problem when someone comes to know. Someone becomes ignorant, egoless, and comes to know: then, too, he cannot say, "I have known the whole."

He cannot say, "I have not known," and he cannot say, "I have known." He can say, "In a way I know, in a way I do not know. In a sense I have entered into him and he has entered into me but I am just a drop and he is the ocean. I know him, but still the total remains a mystery." Because of this, those who have known through their ignorance, through dropping themselves, they also are in a difficulty over what to say about it. They cannot deny the knowledge, they cannot declare the knowledge. This has to be so. Because of this many have remained silent.

Buddha would never answer any question about the Brahman. Wheresoever he would move, his disciples would spread the word: "Do not ask anything about the ultimate because Buddha is not going to answer anything about it."

Someone asked Buddha, "Why don't you answer?"

Buddha said, "If I answer, it is going to be false in some way or other. If I say, 'I know,' it is wrong -- because how can a drop know the ocean? If I say, 'I do not know,' it is wrong, because the drop knows the ocean. The drop is just an atomic part of the ocean. The whole ocean is in the drop also. Really, knowing a drop of water totally, you know the ocean, because nothing else is there. The drop contains everything, but still it is a drop. So if I say, 'I know,' it will be wrong, because I am only a drop. If I say, 'I do not know,' it will be wrong, because I know. I am also an ocean -- a minute ocean. So it is better to keep silent."

But even silence can be misunderstood and it was misunderstood. People who were against Buddha started saying, "He is not saying because doesn't know. He is silent because he has not yet entered the Brahman; otherwise he must say." Look at the difficulty: if he says, "I know," then there will be difficulty; if he says, "I do not know," then there will be difficulty. If he keeps quiet, then people will misunderstand.

The ultimate cannot be conveyed in any way; whether you are silent or saying something, it remains unconveyed. It cannot be transferred; it remains untransferred. It cannot be communicated, it is beyond communication.

A third difficulty comes and makes it a problem again and that is: Brahman means the ground, the source of everything. The source must remain a mystery; it cannot be decoded. Who will decode it? No one can stand beside it. For decoding you need someone who can be an observer -- separate, neutral, looking at a thing from a distance. We cannot be at a distance from the ultimate. We are in it just like fishes swimming in a pool. Those fishes cannot stand aside, cannot observe the pool.

Kabir used to say that once a fish heard two scholars talking on the bank of a river, talking about what the ocean is. The fish became very much mystified; she started inquiring. It became an obsession for her -- what the ocean was. She inquired from elders, and they said that they had also heard about it, but they didn't know what it was. They had never seen it -- and they all lived in the ocean. But how can you see a thing if you live in it? They were born in it, but how can you know a thing if you are born in it? You are so much a part of it and it is so much a part of you that there is no distance, so you cannot know. Then the inquiring fish went on inquiring, moved on inquiring. No one could answer her, but everyone said that they had heard that there was an ocean.

Kabir says that this is the situation of man who goes on inquiring what God is, where God is, who God is. We are in him; hence, the difficulty. And for a fish it is possible to jump out of the river or out of the ocean. Even for a few seconds the fish can jump out of the ocean and be on the bank and look at the ocean. But for man there is no such possibility. You cannot jump out of the Brahman; there is no bank to it. You cannot jump out; there IS nothing out of it. Everything is in and nothing is out. That is what is meant by infinity.

You cannot go out of existence, or can you? -- because the moment you go out of existence you are no more. You cannot go out of existence. All is existence, everywhere is existence. Wherever you go existence is there, so no distance is possible. You cannot become an observer; you cannot look at Brahman. The mystery cannot be decoded. The mystery is so basic, so ultimate, so universal, and you are just a fish in the ocean. The Brahman cannot be known the way we know other facts because other facts can be observed by us.

Science decodes; science goes on decoding. But science can decode because science never takes the ultimate question. It only takes non-ultimate questions. It can come to know what hydrogen is; it can come to know what atomic structure is. You can observe. You can go into a lab and you can observe and you can penetrate into the mystery of things because no thing is ultimate. But how can you observe and experiment with the Brahman? Where, how, is it to be penetrated? Wherever you go you are part of it, in it. The mystery cannot be decoded. The Brahman remains mysterious -- and if the Brahman is an ultimate mystery, how can you say you have known? You can know something only when it is demystified. The moment you know, there is no mystery. That is why science is a mystery killer. And the more science grows and the more people are trained scientifically, the more they lose contact with mystery.

Science is a sure mystery killer, it goes on killing mystery. That is why the world has become so poor and science has made it so rich. The world was never so rich and so poor before. Everything has become richer. You are living in better houses, using better clothes, eating better food. Everything has become richer. Even kings would become jealous if they could be revived from the past. Even Ashoka and Akbar would feel poor before you because even an Ashoka cannot use the shirt you are using. The bathroom you are using, even for Akbar it would be a luxury.

The world has become richer as far as things are concerned but man has become poorer and poorer because there is no mystery. Life has become nonmysterious, dead. Only a mystery can be alive.

Look at children: they are more alive. Why? And why is an old man not so alive? It is not only a question of aging. The basic question is deeper. The child is alive because the child is living in a mystery: everything is mysterious for him -- everything. The seed is sprouting. The child looks at the seed sprouting: it is so mysterious that he cannot believe that it can happen. A bird has alighted on a branch and is singing: it is so mysterious. The clouds moving in the sky and the rain falling, everything is mysterious. The child lives in a wonderland; hence, the aliveness -- because everything is a challenge. Life is not flat, life has nooks and corners that are undiscovered. The child goes on jumping, inquiring, looking at everything. Everything is so mysterious because the child is ignorant.

Back in the days of the Upanishads everyone was so alive, everything was mysterious. There was wonder, and when there is wonder you are alive because there is a challenge outside to penetrate the mystery. Science goes on killing mystery; it goes on explaining everything. Whatsoever you do, there is an explanation -- and once explained the mystery is gone, everything becomes flat. With nothing to discover there is no challenge. And when there is no challenge life subsides; it cannot dance, it cannot explode. There is nothing.

For these three centuries, humanity has been made so poor -- unimaginably poor. Science has explained the world of things and psychology has tried to explain the world of the mind. If you fall in love it is a mystery. But go and ask Freud and he will explain the whole thing. He will say that this is nothing, just hormones in the body, and "Do not get too serious about it. It is just chemicals working -- just particular hormones forcing you to be in love. This is nothing to get mad about. Those hormones can be pulled out of your body and the love will disappear, or an injection can be given of those hormones and you will fall in a deeper love. So it is hormonal. Do not get too much into it." And once explained, the mystery of love is gone.

Now they are teaching sex all over the world. It is good in a way but only as an antidote. Because of the Victorian puritanic teachings it is good, as a reaction, to teach children about sex. But on a deeper layer it is very dangerous because once explained the mystery of sex is lost. And this is happening particularly in America where now everything is known about sex. People are becoming disinterested in it. They will get disinterested when everything is known.

Masters and Johnson, two experimenters, have penetrated the mystery of sex through electronic devices. While a couple is making love, electronic devices inside the vagina go on recording what is happening; a graph is made. While a couple is making love, devices go on working which are recording what is happening to the blood, to the breathing, to the body, to the hormones. Then the whole mystery is clear, and then they say, "This is just a mechanical thing. It happens because of these causes."

Once the mystery about sex is gone your life will be just a boredom. While making love to your wife or to your beloved, you know what is going on. The blood pressure is changing, the hormones are running: you know everything. And then there is no need, really, to be involved in love, because love can be done by devices also.

Masters and Johnson, they have devised electronic penises and vaginas. And now they say an electronic penis, an electrical device, can give a deeper orgasm than any man can do because it goes on vibrating -- and it is only a question of vibration. Man has limited energy but an electronic device has unlimited energy. Put on, it goes on vibrating. It can give a deeper orgasm to the woman. It can give multiple orgasms. And once a woman knows that an electric penis can give such a height of pleasure, than all lovers will be just pale before it. But this is dangerous. It is a penetration in a very dangerous terrain. Once the mystery is known, the romance is gone.

Science in every way has tried to demystify life. I am emphasizing this fact so that because of this background you can understand the meaning of religion. Religion is to mystify life and science is to demystify it. Religion says that the mystery is so ultimate, nothing can be known about it. Whatsoever you know is just temporary and whatsoever you know is just shifting the problem. It is never solved; you only shift it a step back. Nothing is solved. All your explanations are just artificial -- because the ultimate remains hidden and no explanation explains it. The why cannot be answered even if you answer the how.

For example, science can say that there is no mystery in the water. It is just that hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms meet and water is created -- H2O -- and the mystery is solved. Two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen and the mystery is solved but religion says that this is only the answer to the how; the why is yet unexplained. Why do two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen make water -- why? We have come to know how, so if we arrange two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, water will be created. We know the how but the why remains unexplained and the why is the Brahman.

Why is it happening that two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen make water? Why not three atoms of hydrogen? Why not four atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen? Science says that we are not interested in the why, we are only interested in the how. Religion says that how is a superficial inquiry, because unless you answer the why, the how can be used but the mystery remains; the mystery is not destroyed. The why of existence is the Brahman.

So science ultimately is reduced to technology because it is a how -- a know-how. Science always goes on being converted into technology. You know the how, then you know the technique: you can use it, and the technology is created. Science just becomes a forerunner of technology, just a pilot to technology.

Religion is based on mystery. It believes in mystery and believes that mystery is ultimate. You cannot destroy it, you cannot decode it: that is the beauty of it. Once you feel that the mystery is ultimate and undecodable, you are like a small child filled with wonder. And when wonder grips you, only then are you alive to the maximum. When the wonder is not there, you are alive to the minimum.

You pass through life without wondering eyes; hence life appears so boring. It is not life that is boring, it is your eyes without wonder: they create boredom. You can regain the insight if you can regain a wondering mind, which goes on wondering to the very end where it meets the ultimate mystery. There you can go on wondering and wondering and you can never solve it. A puzzle is not a mystery because a puzzle can be solved. A mystery is such a puzzle which cannot be solved. Science is interested in puzzles which can be solved, which are solvable. Religion is interested only in the mystery which cannot be solved. And the more you penetrate, the more you know that this is impossible to solve.

Greek philosophers have said that philosophy is born in wonder. The Upanishads say that philosophy is born in wonder but religion ends in wonder. Philosophy is born in wonder but it is against wonder. It is born in wonder but then it tries to destroy it, tries to find answers, tries to find answers and explanations. Out of this attitude of Greek philosophy that philosophy is born in wonder, and the subsequent effort to overcome it, Western science was born. But the source remains in the Greek mind. Western science is just the success of Greek philosophy. Philosophy is born in wonder but ends in explanation: then it becomes science. Philosophy starts with wonder and ends in explanation, system, solution: then it becomes science. When science experiments, comes to know the how, it becomes technology.

The Upanishads say religion ends in wonder, not that it begins. Wherever you begin, religion ends in wonder. The mystery remains there; it is never solved. This is the basic difference between the Indian mind and the Greek mind -- and these are the two basic minds in the world. Because of the Greek mind Western science came into being and because of the Indian mind no science came into being: religion came into being.

All the greatest religions were born in the East. In the West there has never been a birth of any religion at all. All the great religions were born in the East and the deepest were born in India. Others that were born around India, but not exactly in India, are just echoes of the Indian. Christ was basically a Hindu; that is why Jews could not understand him, they had to kill him. All the deepest religions -- Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism -- were born in India. And science basically originated from Athens; it is Greek.

The Greek attitude is that when you become aware of life you feel wonder. Then it is the duty of the human mind to destroy this wonder and to find explanations. The Upanishads say that wherever you find any explanation, penetrate deep into it -- and sooner or later you will come to the base where mystery is.

Explanation is only on the surface; nothing can be explained: this is the attitude of the Upanishads. Everything remains unexplained and will remain unexplained. It is only the human ego that thinks that explanations have to be found. Why this insistence on mystery? -- because if there is mystery, only then can you be ignorant. Remember this: if there is mystery, ultimate mystery in the existence, only then can you remain ignorant. With mystery there, ignorance inside the heart is possible. If everything can be explained, you will become knowledgeable. Then you will cling to knowledge. Then you will cling to knowledge and knowledge will become very, very important.

In the Western universities they have been teaching knowledge for centuries. Now in the East also, universities are teaching knowledge because they are nothing but copies of the West. Basically, originally, Eastern universities never taught knowledge. Nalanda and Takshashila, they were not teaching knowledge, they were teaching meditation. They were teaching a deep ignorance and a deep mystery around. Now there exists no Eastern university. All of the universities are Western wherever they exist, whether in the East or in the West. They go on stuffing the mind with knowledge.

So whenever a student comes back from a university he is a stuffed being. He has no soul, he has only knowledge. And then he creates problems. He will create them because the university has given him only the ego -- nothing else. He has not learned a single piece of humanity or humbleness. He has not touched a single point of non-ego. He has not looked from that window from where life is mystery. He is ignorant; he has not looked from that window. He has been stuffed with knowledge. Knowledge gives him the feeling that he is very significant and very important because he KNOWS. The ego is strengthened, then the ego creates every problem that is possible.

The ego creates politics, the ego creates ambition. The ego creates jealousy, the ego creates a constant struggle, violence, because the ego cannot be satisfied unless it reaches to the top. And everyone is trying to reach to the top. A cut-throat competition arises in every arena of life. In economics, politics, education, everywhere, there is cut-throat competition. No one is interested in himself; everyone is interested in the ambition to reach to the top and no one thinks where he is going when he is reaching to the top. What will you achieve just by reaching the top? Nothing is achieved. You simply waste your life.

Eastern universities were teaching a deep ignorance -- the basic ignorance that man cannot penetrate the mystery because the mystery is ultimate. It is basic to nature... and man is just part of the same mystery. When these two mysteries meet -- the mystery within man and the mystery within existence -- when these two mysteries meet, there is ecstasy. Life becomes beautiful. It becomes an eternal music; it becomes a dance. You can dance only if there is mystery. The dancing god is needed -- a god who can dance. And existence is dancing all around. Look! This is not a theory. Look at existence! It is dancing all around. Every particle is dancing. Only you have become stuck to the ground. You cannot move, you cannot dance because you know; your knowledge has become poison.

Now we will enter the sutra:


Really, you do not know at all -- not even a little, because you are still there claiming. The ego is still being maintained; the ego still remains the center. The ego is still asserting, saying, "I know."


And if you say such a thing, it is only a thinking, not an experience. You can think that you know, but this is not an experience. If you experience, then you will not be capable of saying that "I know."

It is so vast: how can you know it? It is so endless, beginningless: how can you know it? The claim seems to be absurd -- obscene. To know Brahman seems to be just a stupid claim. Only idiots can claim it. The claim can come only out of ignorance. Because you do not really know anything, you claim it.


Even if you have come to feel the Brahman in the manifested world -- in the trees, in the hills, in man, in animals, in birds -- if you have come to feel this life as Brahman, that too is a trifle, this is just a minute part of the unmanifest. The Upanishads say that the Brahman has two forms -- the manifest and the unmanifest. The manifest has become the world, the unmanifest remains unknown. Many worlds have been born out of it, many have disappeared in it. This is not the first world, remember.

Christianity used to say just two centuries ago that the world was created four thousand and four years before Jesus Christ. Then there was great conflict between scientific investigation and this claim, because science came to know that this earth has been in existence for at least millions of years. There was conflict. Now, the more scientists know, the further back goes the beginning. But the Upanishads say that this is only one of the worlds: many have existed before it and have disappeared.

The existence is an infinite process. So there is no beginning, really, and there cannot be any end. How can there be a beginning? A beginning means that there was nothing before it. And how can this world come out of nothing? Something can only come out of something; something cannot come out of nothing. That is absurd. How can something come out of nothing? If it comes at all, there must have been something preceding it.

The Upanishads say that this is not the first world, this is not the first creation. It is only one chain in a long, beginningless, endless procession of existences. Worlds have been in being and then they have disappeared. Just as a child is born, then he becomes young, then old, and then he dies. But the child is born of parents and those parents were also born of other parents. And this goes on and you cannot find the beginning.

The Upanishads have no concept of Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman. They say there has never been a first woman and a first man. The FIRST is just nonsense: we are always in the middle. The beginning was never there and so the end is not going to be there.

Just like a child, the earth is born out of parents. There may have been a collision between two big stars. When two parents collided, the earth was born. Now scientists say that something like this must have happened: a collision of two stars. Who knows if the Upanishads are not true? When two stars, one feminine and one male, collide, the earth is born. The earth is alive; it is not dead. There are dead earths also. Now scientists suspect that the moon may be a dead earth. It may have been alive some time back.

This earth is alive. The greenery of the trees is just part of its life. Your consciousness is just part of its growth. It has been evolving. It is young; it will become old. It will die, but somewhere else life will erupt. Now scientists say that at least there is a mathematical possibility of fifty thousand earths being alive in the whole of existence -- fifty thousand planets alive! This is just a mathematical possibility. We have no contact with other living earths but when one earth dies another is born. Somewhere birth happens, somewhere death; somewhere death happens, somewhere birth. Life goes on continuing. It is a continuity -- an eternal continuity.

Whatsoever we know is always a very small, atomic part. Backwards, it spreads to the beginningless beginning; forwards, it spreads to the endless end. We are always in the middle. Only a particle of existence is known. And this whole existence, so vast, is still a part. The whole is also a part because it is the manifested.

Look at me: I am communicating something to you. Whatsoever I communicate is just the manifested part. There remains in my heart much that is uncommunicated: that is the unmanifest part. My silence is the unmanifest part; my words are the manifest part. In my words a part of my silence is being communicated but my words are not my whole being. My words are just a part, and behind that part a deeper silence is hidden.

A poet is singing a song -- Rabindranath or a Shelley or a Yeats is singing a song: that song is just a manifest part of the poet's being but thousands and thousands of songs can be born out of that being.

The Upanishads say this whole world, this universe, is just a song which has become manifest. In the heart of the divine infinite songs are waiting to be manifested. He has been singing many songs which have disappeared. He is singing this one right now; he will sing many. We can be acquainted only with one song but not even with the one song in its totality -- just with a part of its tune, just a fragment, just a word, a gesture. The infinite remains unknown around it.

The sutra says:


Really, there comes no end to this inquiry. It goes on and on and on, and the more you inquire, the more abysses open. The more you inquire, the greater the doors that open. The mystery is not demystified: it deepens. The more you know, the more of what is to be known is before you. The wider your focus, the wider becomes your consciousness. Greater possibilities open before you to be known and this goes on and on and on; this play is endless.

So wherever you feel to stop, beware! There is no point to stop at. Wherever you feel, "Now I have achieved," beware! You are falling a victim to the ego again. There is no point where one can say, "I have achieved." The point is always reaching and reaching but it never reaches.

That is the meaning of the infinity of the Brahman. You never come to a point where you can say, "Now the journey is finished." The journey goes on and on and on. That journey is infinite life. YOU finish somewhere but the journey never ends. Your ego is no more at a point. Really, at that point the real journey starts. But then it goes on infinitely. There is no end to it; there cannot be any end to it. You drop somewhere. When you come to realize that you are just a burden to yourself, you drop yourself and you move on. This movement is eternal.

I DO NOT THINK I KNOW IT WELL, the master says.


This is the mystery. I cannot say that I know it well because much more is still to be known and much more will be there always to be known. This knowing of Brahman is always a beginning. There is no end to it. You begin it once, then it goes on and on. So I cannot say that I KNOW IT WELL: that claim will be wrong. NOR DO I THINK THAT I DO NOT KNOW IT. But the opposite is also true. I cannot say that I do not know it -- I KNOW IT ALSO.

This is the difference between the Greek and the Indian mind. The Greek mind cannot conceive of this sentence. Impossible for Aristotle to conceive of this sentence! Aristotle will say that this is a basic law of logic: that if you know you know. If you do not know you do not know. There can be no middle to it. If you are alive you are alive; if you are dead you are dead. There cannot be any middle to it -- or can there be? Can you say, "I cannot say that I am alive and I cannot say that I am dead"? Then Aristotle will say that you have gone mad. Either of the two is true; both cannot be true. Aristotle says that both cannot be true; two opposites cannot be true. One will be true.

This seer of the Upanishads says, "I cannot say I know."

Then Aristotle will say, "Stop! This is finished. If you cannot say you know, drop the matter."

But he goes on and says, "I cannot say that I do not know."

This, Aristotle cannot approve. The founder, the father of Western logic, cannot approve. He will say, "Now you are going crazy." Can you say that you are in the room and out of the room? You cannot say this. You cannot say that you are in and out of the room. Either you are in the room or you are out of the room: both cannot be true. Can you say, "I cannot say whether I am in the room and I cannot say either that I am out of the room"? To us, also, Aristotle appears right, he appears true. To the common mind, to ordinary logic, he is exactly right, logical.

Indian seers are illogical in this sense. They go on saying opposites simultaneously but they have something to convey through it. They are not really wrong; they have something to say and that something is so mysterious that it can be conveyed only when opposites are used together. The mystery can be conveyed only through contradictions, through inconsistencies.


I know in a sense and I do not know in a sense. I know because I am part of it; it is impossible not to know it. And I do not know it because I am only a part and it is impossible for the part to know the whole. Both are true and if you can feel that both are true, then just between the two contradictions a new meaning will arise. You will feel what the rishi is trying to express and you will feel how difficult it is to express it. Too much is felt and the words cannot carry that too much, so both the opposites have to be used to carry it.

For example, the Upanishads say that the divine is very far, then immediately they say that he is very near. How, if he is very far, can he be very near? Or if he is very near, how can he be very far? But they have something to say and it is very significant. Through this absurdity they are trying to convey something which is not easy to convey or which is even unconveyable. He is very far because you have forgotten him. That forgetfulness creates the distance. And he is very near because whatsoever you do, whether you forget him or remember him, you cannot be alive without him. He is the very beat of your heart. He is breathing in and out; he is you. You can forget him but you still remain him. Hence, this contradictory way of expression: "He is far and near," and "I know him and I do not know him."

The Upanishads will not agree with Socrates. I told you that Socrates said, "Once I knew; now I say I do not know." He is again following the Greek trend of mind. He is very consistent. He says, "Once I felt that I knew. Now I feel that it is wrong. I do not know." A third possibility is there when you say, "In a way I know; in a way I do not know."

First Socrates was claiming absolute knowledge, now he is claiming absolute ignorance -- but in both the cases he claims the absolute, he clings to the absolute. He is not contradictory. Once he said, "I know"; now he says, "I do not know." Upanishadic seers say both simultaneously: "I know and I do not know." Try to feel the thing that is just in between the two, between the lines, just in the gap.


The known is your knowledge; the unknown is your ignorance. If you say, "I know," you have made him known. If you say, "I do not know," you have made him unknown. And he alone amongst you knows, who knows he is neither the known nor the unknown, but the unknowable. He is the mystery.

Only one who knows him as the mystery, as the mysterium, as the ultimate mysterious which cannot be solved, only HE knows it.


Next: Chapter 9: Death: The Climax of Life, Question 1


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