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Chapter 6: Beyond Science

The priest was very troubled by this incident. He was by repute a wise man, so he was much agitated and resolved to put his challenger in his place. The next Sunday he came fully prepared. During his sermon he raised the matter of the miracle again. “Once Jesus went to a forest,” he said. “Listen properly! He had four thousand followers and only seven loaves of bread with him, and he fed everybody. All were fed to their hearts’ content and yet the bread was not consumed.” Then he looked at the man who had put him into difficulty the Sunday before, and asked him, “Dear friend, can you now perform such a miracle?”

The man stood up and replied, “Yes, I can.”

The priest was very nervous and asked, “How can you do it?”

The man replied, “I can do it from the stock that was left over from last time!”

Shifting of words here and there, punning of words, memorizing words - the scriptures are all a great joke. There is not much meaning in such things. It is a great folly to try to correct others, and it is sheer vanity to try never to admit our mistakes. That poor priest could not even say, “There was an error in my statement.” It was a trifle, and he could have simply asked their pardon. But our ego never lets us admit our mistakes, though we are eager and pleased to get others to admit their mistakes.

So the other point to remember is this: reconsider whether you know a little or not. Ask yourself whether you really know, or whether all this is a jungle of mere words, scriptures, principles and memory. Ask yourself, “Have I known anything? Have I lived it? Have I practiced something of it? Have I tasted it from my life’s experience? Have I danced in that supreme experience of godliness? Have I experienced that vibration? Or have I merely burned the midnight oil to commit to memory the words of the scriptures?” The nauseating smell of kerosene oil emanates from those who have crammed the scriptures into their memories. Kerosene oil burns with thick smoke. It is very difficult to find people more ignorant than the learned.

Hence, says this sutra, the ignorant grope about, but the learned grope about in thick darkness. It is better to be an ignorant person than to be a learned one. Ignorance will show you the way. Do not try to enter the great darkness; to remain in simple darkness is far better. From this darkness it is easy to enter light, but the journey from the great darkness will be long and arduous.

Enough for today. Now let us go into meditation. Let us take a few steps from darkness towards the light.