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Chapter 15: No Question Means the Answer

A journalist visiting a local penitentiary in the heart of Poland is being shown around by warden Poltowsky. As they enter the maximum security block, the reporter is surprised to hear a shout from one of the cells, “Twenty-two!” followed by raucous laughter from all the other cells.

Another voice then shouts, “Forty-three!” which is again followed by loud outbursts of laughter.

“What is going on, warden?” asked the bewildered journalist.

“It is quite simple really,” replies the warden. “These fellas have been in this block so long that they know each other’s jokes. So now when someone wants to tell a joke he simply shouts out the number. Everyone remembers the joke and laughs.”

“Quite a good idea really,” remarks the reporter, as the number thirty-seven is called out and followed by peals of laughter.

Then there is a loud, “Seventeen!” and then silence. Puzzled by the lack of response, the reporter asks the warden what went wrong.

“Ah, that was Jakowsky in cell eight,” sighs the warden, “he told it wrong again!”

An American, a German and a Polack were going on safari. They split up in the morning and met again in the evening. Sitting around the camp fire they started telling of their adventures.

The German says, “I shot two tigers, an elephant and some apes.”

The American, says, “Ah, I shot much more: six crows, four tigers and about three elephants.”

They both look at the Polack, who’s saying nothing at all. “What about you, Polanski?” they ask.

“I shot sixty-seven no-no’s,” he says.

Although the American and the German had quite a bit of experience in the jungle, they had never heard of such an animal. “What is a no-no?” they ask.

“Well,” Polanski replies, “they are about six feet high, black, curly hair, big lips, and when you point your rifle at them they shout, ‘No! No!’”

You need not be a philosopher, you need not be a Polack; just be a sannyasin! And to be a sannyasin means not to be bothered about questions and answers. The whole process of sannyas is getting rid of the mind. Mind consists of questions and answers. The moment you get rid of the mind, then only consciousness is left in its purity, with not even a ripple. The lake is so silent, so unperturbed, so still, it starts reflecting the stars, the clouds, the moon, the trees, the flowers, the birds on the wing.

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