Chapter 42: Be a Seeker, Not a Believer
Beliefs are false coins; they look like trust, and they can deceive small children very easily. And once you have accepted those beliefs as trust, you will never try to find the distinction - and the distinction is abysmal, unbridgeable.
If you love your children, don’t give them any belief. Help them so that they can grow trust. If you don’t know something, never lie to the children because sooner or later they are going to find that you lied - and when a child finds that the father lied to him, the teacher lied, the priest lied; all possibilities of trust are destroyed. He could not have conceived that the people he has loved - and has loved totally, because a child loves totally.
An innocent child, absolutely dependent on you, and you have the nerve to deceive him, to say things which he is going to find one day that you never knew! If he asks about God, if you are an authentic father, sincere, honest, you should say “I am seeking, I have not found yet.” Give your child a desire to seek, a desire to search. Help him to go on a pilgrimage, and tell him, “It may be that you find it before I find it. Then don’t forget me; then help me to find it. Right now, I don’t know.”
Your child will never disrespect you; your child will never come to a point when he will say that you were dishonest towards him, that you lied. And your child will have tremendous honor for you because you made him, his innocence, his questioning, into a search. You created a seeker, not a believer.
Real parents will not create Christians and Hindus and Mohammedans. Real teachers will not create believers, only authentic seekers.
I had to leave my professorship for a strange reason - perhaps nobody has ever left for such a reason.
I had to teach Shankara, Bradley, Kant - and I don’t agree with these people, so I made it clear to my students: “For half an hour I will go into the minutest detail of Shankara’s philosophy - unprejudiced, remaining absolutely aloof - and then in the remaining half hour I will give you my opinion, because I cannot teach you something which seems to me to be creating belief, not creating search. I will create doubt in you - not faith, not belief.”
The students were very much confused. I was doing the best that I could do when I was teaching them Shankara, Ramanuja, Nimbarka. I was as fair as anybody can be, but after half an hour I was just as critical - creating doubt, creating questions, making it clear that their whole philosophy was not based on any foundation of experience. The students were in a difficulty.
They said, “What are we going to do in the examination?”
I said, “That is your problem. That is not my business; I have nothing to do with the examination. My function here is to teach you. The examination is your business, and that of your examiners.”