Why have the awakened people always been against scriptures? This is a great misunderstanding all around the world. The people who have awakened are against the scriptures for a totally different reason than people understand. People think they are against scriptures because scriptures are wrong; they are against scriptures because if you get lost in the words of scriptures you will never come to know your own truth. The scriptures may be right, that is not the point. Perhaps they are right – but they are not right for you; they were right only for those people who had experienced and have expressed something out of their experience.
But to you they are just dead words, and if you become too much interested in collecting dead corpses around yourself, you will soon be drowned in the dead words. That’s what happens to all the scholars: their great effort simply becomes a suicide. They work hard, but their gain is nothing.
Scriptures may have come from people who were awakened, but the moment somebody says… It is no more the same as his own experience. And when it is written it goes even further away. That’s why no enlightened person in the whole world has written anything by his own hand; they have spoken – because the spoken word and the written word have qualitative differences.
The spoken word has a warmth; the written word is absolutely cold, ice cold. The spoken word has the heartbeat of the master. The spoken word is not just a word – it is still breathing when it reaches you, it has still some flavor. It is coming from a source of immense joy and light; it is bound to carry something of that fragrance, some radiation from that light, some vibe which may not be visible but will stir your being.
To listen to a master is one thing, and to read just the same words is totally different, because the living presence of the master is no more behind the words. You can’t see those eyes, you can’t see those gestures, you can’t see in those words the same authority… you can’t feel those same silent gaps.
The presence of the master, his charisma, his energy is missing in the written word. The written word is absolutely dead.
No master has ever written except Lao Tzu – and that too under imperial pressure.
His whole life he refused to write, and in the end he was going to leave China and go towards the Himalayas for his ultimate rest.
The emperor of China ordered the armies on the boundary, “If Lao Tzu passes through that area” – because that was the only gate towards the Himalayas, he was bound to pass by there – “imprison him. Take good care of him, but make it clear to him he cannot go out of China unless he writes his experiences. This is an order from the emperor.”
Poor Lao Tzu was not aware what was going on. He simply went to the place where it was easiest to move out of China. There was an army waiting, and he was caught immediately. Respectfully, with great honor, they told him, “This is the imperial order. Forgive us, we don’t want to hinder you, but just to fulfill the order – otherwise we will not be able to allow you to go out of China. And we have made a special guesthouse for you with every comfort, luxury, according to the orders from the emperor. You stay and you write whatever you have experienced, what the truth is that you have realized which has attracted so many people.”
Because he wanted to reach quickly to the Himalayas – his death was coming closer and he wanted to die in the Himalayas… The Himalayas have an eternal silence, a peace that you cannot find anywhere else. Under such circumstances he wrote Tao Te Ching, a small booklet.
That is the only exception in the whole history when an enlightened man has written anything. But the beginning of the book says, “Truth cannot be written. So remember, whatever I am writing is not truth. I will try my best to be as close to truth as possible, but approximate truth is not truth.” So he has begun his book with the statement, “Whatever is written goes far away from the living experience.”
That is the reason why all the awakened people have been against scriptures.
Lao Tzu wrote his only book, TAO TE CHING. The first sentence he wrote is, ”The truth cannot be said, cannot be written. Please remember it while you are reading this book. This is a reminder that everything that I am going to say is bound to be untrue, for the simple reason that truth is experienced in a state of your mind where no thoughts, no language exists, when there is only space and utter silence.”
A word, the moment it is uttered, goes wrong. Unuttered, it is okay; uttered, it is falsified by the very utterance. Truth cannot be said, cannot be written, cannot be indicated in any way. If it can be said, you will attain to truth just by hearing it; if it can be written, you will attain to truth just by reading it; if it can be indicated, you will attain to truth by mere indication. This is not possible, there is no way to transfer truth to you; there exists no bridge. It cannot be given, it cannot be communicated.
I have heard –
Once a villager entered a big bank; many people were coming and going and much business was going on. Suddenly the villager cried, shouted at the top of his voice, “Did somebody drop a wad of notes with a rubber band around it?” Many people cried, “Yes, I did,” and they ran towards him. A crowd gathered and everybody was claiming the money. The villager said, “I have found the rubber band.”
Whenever I say truth, whenever I say silence, you will only find the rubber band; the notes will be missing. The word will reach you but not with the weight of the notes. Those notes will be left behind — they are in my heart; the word will reach but it is just a rubber band. It may have been around the notes, but still it is just a rubber band.
This story is beautiful.
A master is on his dying bed, and soon he has to leave this earth and its vehicle, the body, and he would like to have a successor who can carry the flame that he has kindled, one who will be able to continue the work that he has started.
He chooses a disciple, calls him near, and says to him, “You are the most capable of those around me and you are going to be my successor. You will have to continue this work.……For seven generations a book has been passed from the master to the disciple who is going to be the successor. I received this book from my master and I give it to you. It is a very precious, a unique treasury. Seven enlightened persons have noted down their experiences of truth in it, and I have also added a few of my own understandings. Preserve it. Don’t lose it; don’t let it be lost.”
The disciple said, “But I have achieved the experience without any book, and I am happy and blissful. I am not even a little bit dissatisfied, so why add this burden to me, why give an unnecessary responsibility to me? I have already experienced the truth and the book was not needed. It is unnecessary.”
The master still insisted, “Much that is valuable is written in it. It is no ordinary book, it Is THE BOOK. So don’t be sacrilegious, pay respect to this book, keep it and hand it over to your successor. By giving this book to you I certify this book is a representation that you are my successor.”
The master gave the book to the disciple. It must have been a cold night because the fire was burning. In one hand the disciple received the book, and in the same instant he thrust it into the fire. The master, who had never been angry in his life, shouted, “What are you doing?”
And the disciple shouted, even louder than the master, “What are you saying?”
This is beautiful, the master must have died peacefully. This was the right man. The book had to be thrust into the fire or the disciple would have missed. If he had kept the book he would have missed, and then he would not have been the successor. You keep the book only when the thing has not happened to you. Who is bothered about words when the truth is with you? Who is bothered about a book when the real thing has happened within? Who is bothered about explanations when the experience is there?
Explanations are precious because the experience is lacking; theories are significant because there is no knowledge. When you know, you can throw theories — they are rubber bands. And when the notes are with you, you can throw the rubber band. Preserving a rubber band shows foolishness.
This book was not precious — no book is precious — and the master was playing a game, the same that his master must have played with him. Nobody knows what was written in the book, but I tell you nothing was written in it. It was empty. Had the disciple preserved it, when the master died he would have opened it, and then he would have cried. Nothing was written in the book. It was just a game, an old game. Every master tries to test the experience of a disciple, whether he knows. And if he knows, he will not be addicted to the book. Why? — there is no point in it. That is why the disciple said, “What are you saying? To preserve the book when I have achieved without it, when I have already achieved? What are you saying?
The master provoked a situation, and in that situation the disciple proved his mettle. He proved that he knew. Even a slight inclination to preserve and he would have missed, he would not have been the successor. He didn’t even look in the book to see what was there. He was not even curious, because only ignorance is curious. If you know, you know.
What is curiosity? What would have happened to you? The first thing the mind would have said was: At least look in it, see what is there. But that gesture would have been enough to prove that you had not achieved. Curiosity means ignorance. Wisdom is not curious. Curiosity asks questions; wisdom has no questions to ask.
A religious person is always beyond the book; a religious consciousness is never addicted to words and the verbal. The whole thing is childish. A religious man is in search of authentic experience, not borrowed words, not experiences of others. Unless he knows — buddhas may have existed, but they are useless. Unless he knows, there is no truth because truth can only be his experience. Only then is it there. The whole world may say there is light and there is a rainbow in the sky and the sun is rising, but if my eyes are closed what does it mean to me? The rainbow, the colours, the sunrise, the whole thing is non-existential to me. My eyes are closed, I am blind. And if I listen to them too much, and if I start believing in them too much, and if I borrow their words and I also start talking about the rainbow that I have not seen, about colours which I cannot see, about the sunrise which is not my experience, I may be lost in the forest of words.
If all books were burnt, the world would be more religious.
There are so many books and readymade answers that everybody knows the question, the answer. It has become a game; it is not your life. The world should be freed of books, should be freed of all ideals, should be freed of all borrowed inquiries. Every man should start feeling his own heartbeat, his own pulse — where it leads, what it desires, what his question is. If you can find your question, the answer is waiting just nearby. It may be that in finding the question you have already found the answer, because the answer lies in authenticity. If the question is authentic, if you have become authentic in questioning, fifty percent of the problem is already solved. Just a little more effort, going a little deeper, and the question always hides the answer behind it.
A man driving his car on a lonely road suspected that he had missed the path, suspected that he was moving in a wrong direction. He saw a beggar walking, so he stopped the car and asked the beggar, “Does this road lead to Delhi?”
The beggar said, “I don’t know.”
So the man asked, “Does this road lead to Agra?”
The beggar said, “I don’t know.”
The man, who was already irritated, became more irritated, and said to the beggar in anger, “So you don’t know much.”
The beggar laughed and said, “But I am not lost.”
So the question is not of knowledge. The question is whether you are lost or not. The beggar said, “But I am not lost. Whether I know or not is not the point. When you are lost a map is needed, knowledge is needed, a book is needed. When you are not lost, what is the point of carrying a book, a map? And an enlightened person is at the goal everywhere. Wherever he is, is the goal. Once you become aware that you are the goal you cannot be lost.”
Osho, The Great Zen Master Ta Hui, Ch 16 (excerpt)
Osho: A Bird on the Wing Chapter #8 Chapter title: Zen Without Writing (excerpts)
धूप में निकलो घटाओं में नहा कर देखो
ज़िंदगी क्या है किताबों को हटा कर देखो……………निदा फ़ाज़ली
dhuup meñ niklo ghaTāoñ meñ nahā kar dekho
zindagī kyā hai kitāboñ ko haTā kar dekho…………..NIDA FAZLI
Step out in the Sun, bathe in the rain
Look beyond your books to experience life.
“But I am not Lost” say some and there are others who just enjoy the journey with no destination in mind….One of my favorites is Kishore Kumar’s song, written by Gulzar for “Parichay” (1972). I am sure you too will love it.