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Chapter 8: Zen without Writing

It is better to say, “I am blind. I don’t know any color and I don’t know any light. Unless my eyes open there is no sun and there can be no sunrise.” Insist, so that you can work upon your eyes. Don’t carry the books; they talk about rainbows seen by others, they talk about sunrises experienced by others. Don’t carry the borrowed God when you can encounter him directly, immediately. Why create barriers of books between you and him? Burn the books! - that is the message - throw them in the fire.

That doesn’t mean go and throw your Gita in the fire - that will not be of much help, because if a Gita cannot help towards truth how can burning a Gita be helpful? No, that is not the point. You can throw away all the books and you can remain addicted to theories, doctrines. When I say burn the books, I say: Burn the mind, drop the mind. Don’t be verbal. Seek authentic experience. But your inquiry may have arisen out of the books, that is the problem; your questions may have arisen out of books. If your questioning is itself bookish, your whole inquiry has started in a wrong direction.

People come to me and ask, “What is God?” And I ask them, “Did this question come out of your own life or have you read some book which talks about God and so you have become curious? If your curiosity has arisen out of learning it is useless. It is not your question. And if the question is not yours, no answer can be of any help. When the basic thing is borrowed, when even the question is borrowed, you will go on borrowing the answers. Seek your authentic question. What is your question?”

I have heard about a philosopher who entered a London car showroom. He looked around and became fascinated with a beautiful car, a streamlined sports car. The salesman became alert because he was looking so interested. He came nearer and asked, “Are you interested in this car?”

The man said, “Yes, I am interested. Is it fast?”

The salesman said, “Fast? You cannot find a faster car than this. If you get in it right now, by tomorrow morning at three o’clock you will be in Aberdeen. Are you really interested in buying it?”

The philosopher said, “I will think about it.”

The next day he came and said, “No, I don’t want to purchase that car. The whole night I couldn’t sleep. I remained awake thinking and thinking and thinking, and I could not find any reason why I should like to be in Aberdeen at three o’clock in the morning.”

Whenever you read a book, ask, inquire, for what reason would you like to be in Aberdeen at three o’clock in the morning?

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