Chapter 4: Eyes and Legs for the Journey
You don’t need knowledge: it is only a medicine to cure the sickness of ignorance. But there are many people who, even when the sickness has been cured, become addicted to the medicine. And remember one thing: it is easy to get rid of the sickness, but to get rid of the addiction to the medicine is very difficult. If the medicine becomes an addiction, then it is very difficult to get rid of it because the medicine does not seem to be an enemy; it appears to be a friend. A sickness that seems to be an enemy is not difficult to get rid of, but a sickness that starts to look like a friend will be very difficult to get rid of. You can escape from an enemy, but it is very difficult to escape from an apparent friend. And knowledge is an enemy that appears to be a friend because it destroys the enemy called ignorance.
Vedant is the state where you also remain alert about knowledge and you don’t cling to it either. When ignorance is dissolved a man becomes knowledgeable. When knowledge is also dropped, then he becomes the experiencer. Even Ashvalayana was a knowledgeable man; he was a maharishi, a great sage, but he had not experienced truth. In place of ignorance he was holding on to his knowledge, but he was as devoid of the experience as any ignorant person. That is why he had to come in search of a master.
The first thing the master said was:
Only one who knows the decisive meaning of the knowledge contained in vedant.
So the first word to be understood is vedant: freedom from knowledge.
The second thing to be understood is: “.the decisive meaning of the knowledge contained in vedant.” As long as you have not experienced for yourself, all meanings are uncertain. No matter how much you know, that knowledge will not take you beyond uncertainty. Rather, the truth is that the more you know, the more your uncertainty will grow. This is the difficulty of all scholars: they know so much that they lose their certainty.
The ignorant are very certain. This is why ignorant people are able to create so much more trouble in this world than knowledgeable people. Ignorant people feel so certain within themselves about things that they can risk their lives for anything. This is their disease - that they become so certain that they can risk their lives for any cause. This certainty is very deluded: it is there because of ignorance.
A knowledgeable person becomes completely uncertain: he may start to do something, and he will see a thousand alternatives. In one single word he senses a thousand different meanings. In every single statement thousands of dimensions start to open up. Where to go? How to go? His very movement comes to a halt; he just stops.
The ignorant are very quick to go anywhere. They are always ready to go anywhere because they don’t see very much. Even if they get a small glimpse of one path, that is enough for them to start walking on it. But knowledgeable people become incapable of moving; they simply come to a standstill because they say, “As long as the meaning is not first clear..”
Buddha has told about a pundit who was struck by an arrow. Buddha was there and he asked the man, “Should I pull the arrow out?”