Chapter 8: The Bell Tolls for Thee
We teach children that “You have an immortal soul.” What nonsense you are teaching to them! And I am not saying there is no immortal soul, and I am not saying that there is no God, mind you. I am saying these things should not be taught as beliefs. They are existential experiences. The child has to be helped to explore into his inner world.
Rather than helping him in exploration we hand him ready made knowledge. That ready-made knowledge becomes his greatest problem. How to drop it?
That’s why I have spoken extensively on the stupidity of knowledge. It is ignorance masquerading as knowledge. The moment you drop it you will be again a child - fresh, alive, vibrant, curious; full of wonder will be your eyes. And your heart will start throbbing again with the mystery of life. and the exploration begins - and with that, the awareness. More and more you become aware of this inner consciousness that you have been carrying all along, but it has become too much stuffed with knowledge. So whenever you go in, you never find consciousness; you always find some content floating in consciousness. Knowledge is like clouds in the sky.
Right now, there are so many clouds in the sky. If you look at the sky you will not find the sky at all, only clouds and clouds.
That is the state of a knowledgeable man’s mind: thoughts, scriptures, great theories, dogmas, doctrines, float like clouds, and he cannot see the pure sky.
Let these clouds disappear. And they are of your own making; they are there because you are clinging to them. They are there because you go on holding onto them. Loosen your grip, let them go, then there is a pristine clarity of the sky, the absolute infinity of the sky. That is freedom. That is consciousness. That is true knowing.
A great Western philosopher, one of the greatest, David Hume, has written.hearing again and again from the great mystics, “Know thyself!” he says, “I also tried one day to know myself. I closed my eyes and went in. I found a few desires, a few thoughts, memories, dreams, imaginations.and things like that. But I could not find anybody else there. I could not find myself.”
This is the true depiction of almost everybody’s mind, except a few buddhas. If you go in, what will you find? Contents, clouds moving around. And even such an intelligent person like David Hume could not see the point: Who is it who is looking at the contents? Who is this awareness that is finding a few memories, desires floating around? Of course, this witness cannot be a desire. This witness cannot be an imagination. This witness cannot be any thought. All is passing in front of this witness. And he was looking for the witness! Now, you cannot look for the witness as an object. The only way to know the witness is to drop all content and become utterly empty. When there is nothing to see, your capacity to see turns upon itself.
That’s what Jesus calls conversion. When there is nothing else to see, one starts seeing oneself. When there is nothing to hinder, the consciousness is pure, and in that purity it becomes self-conscious.