Chapter 3: Conquering the World by Inaction
And Lao Tzu says: Knowledge is the only sin. And all those who have awakened to their inner innocence say the same.
Drop knowledge, and become innocent, childlike again. Regain your lost childhood, and suddenly you have become a sage, a saint. Nothing is lacking. Except for this desire to become something else, nothing is barring your way.
The student of knowledge aims at learning day by day,
the student of Tao aims at losing day by day.
Those who are interested in knowledge, their whole effort is to know more and more and more. They go on accumulating, and the more they accumulate, the more they are burdened. You can look around - everybody seems to be carrying such a heavy load, crushed under his own accumulations; suffering, but still clinging to it because he thinks it is something precious.
If you watch yourself you will be surprised that you go on clinging to your agony; you go on desiring that some day, somewhere, the ecstasy will happen - but you go on clinging to your agony, you never drop it. Remember, it is not clinging to you, it cannot cling to you, knowledge cannot cling to you, you cling to it. Not only do you cling, you go on growing it, you go on helping it to grow more and more.
Says Lao Tzu: The student of knowledge aims at learning day by day. His whole effort is to learn more, to accumulate more, to know more. And the more he knows the less he becomes inside, because then the being is lost more. Then he becomes a heap of information, a junkyard, and he cannot find himself, where he is. He is lost in the jungle of his own knowledge.
The student of Tao aims at losing day by day.
Just the opposite is the student of Tao - the student of truth, not of knowledge; the student of being, not of becoming. He is just the opposite. He goes on losing day by day, he unburdens himself, he unlearns. His only learning is how to unlearn. The only thing he is interested in is how to be totally unburdened.
A German philosopher came to see Ramana Maharishi. Of course he had traveled long, and he must have thought much about what he was going to ask. When he reached Ramana he said, “I have come to sit near you, to learn much.” Ramana looked at him with deep compassion and said, “Then you have come to the wrong person because here I teach only unlearning. If you have come to learn you have come to the wrong place, go somewhere else; but if you are ready to unlearn, mature enough to unlearn, then you can stay here.”