Chapter 4: Fear Is to Be Understood, Not Conquered
Curiosity is childish. It certainly keeps you excited, but it has never made anyone wise, in tune with himself and the universe. Curiosity is a kind of itching in the head. You scratch, it feels good, but don’t scratch too much; scratch in different places. But itching is not going to make your intelligence more pure, more clear, more far-reaching. That’s why in meditation it becomes a disturbance. It is your old habit, so you go on being curious about everything, what it is.
But in meditation you have to remain centered within yourself: no curiosity, no thinking, no question. And I am happy that you managed and that you can say, “Now when I sit in your presence, getting more and more silent, I don’t want to know anything anymore.” To not want to know anything anymore is to be at the stage of a sage. He knows nothing, he becomes again a child; he becomes immensely silent, no thought arises. He enjoys existence for the first time, because that old disturbance of knowing is no longer there.
There used to be a very knowledgeable man, Mahatma Bhagwandin. I came in contact with him when I was very young and he was very old. We used to go for walks in the forest and he knew about everything. He knew the names, Latin names, of all the trees, the flowers and their uses, medicinal uses, what miracles can be done with the roots or trees or flowers or leaves. The first day I heard him continuously for the three hours we were in the forest.
The second day I said to him, “You know so much, I don’t think you are going to die.”
He said, “What gave you this idea?”
I said, “Your great knowledge will certainly help you. I don’t know anything, but I enjoy the trees. I don’t know the name - and I don’t see the point that the name is needed to enjoy the tree, the name is needed to enjoy the flower, or its medicinal qualities are to be known.”
He was a very intellectual man, but when I said this to him there was silence for a few moments as we walked. And then he said, “Perhaps you are right. In fact I have never enjoyed anything, everything has been a problem: what are its qualities, what are its medicinal properties, how it can be used, in what quantities.. You are perhaps right, that I have missed enjoying existence. I always look, curious for more knowledge.”
The day he died it happened I was also in the same city. I was passing by and somebody informed me that Bhagwandin was on his deathbed. He was nearabout eighty years old. I rushed.he had almost become a skeleton; I had not seen him for five years. His last words to me were, “You were right. I wasted my life in unnecessary curiosity, I burned myself with knowledge. Innocence is the way to enjoy.”
It is perfectly good that now you are not interested in knowing anything anymore. Keep alert about it. Mind is cunning, it comes from the back door. It will try a few times at least, but remain alert.
Knowledge is of no use. When knowledge is not there, wisdom blossoms.