Chapter 1: Always on the Rocks
Mystics have always been in awe before existence. The physicist is for the first time in awe, because he has for the first time touched something very vital; otherwise he was just looking from the outside. A stone is just a stone from the outside. The physicist now knows that the stone is not just a stone - it contains universes. A single small pebble that you can hold in your hand contains so much atomic energy that the whole universe can grow out of it, contains so much atomic energy that the whole universe can be destroyed by it. It is not just a pebble any more and it is not solid any more. You are holding it in your hand and you know it is solid, but your knowing is no longer scientific. It only appears solid; it is liquid. And it looks so available, manipulatable, you can do things with it. But you don’t know its mysteries which are not manipulatable, and the mysteries are really immense - almost as immense as the mystery of God itself.
The modern physicist is using the language of the mystics for the first time. Eddington said, “The universe no longer looks like a thing but like a thought.” This, from the mouth of a scientist, a Nobel prize-winner - the universe looks like a thought and not like a thing? That means the universe is more consciousness than matter. And matter has been analyzed, our penetration has become deeper; we have come across atoms, electrons, neutrons - and we are utterly mystified, at a loss even to express what we have come across. We don’t have the language, the right language for it, because we have never known it.
Now the right language has to be found in the words of the mystics. A buddha will be helpful, a Lao Tzu will be helpful And scientists are looking into the words of the buddhas to find the right language, because these are the people who have been talking about paradox, mystery. And now science is coming across paradoxes.
The greatest paradox is that the electron behaves in such a mysterious way that the scientist has no language to express it. It behaves simultaneously as a particle and as a wave. This is impossible, inconceivable for the mind. Either something is a particle or it is a wave; the same thing cannot be both at the same time.
You know Euclidean geometry: either something is a point or something is a line; one thing cannot be a point and a line together at the same time. A line means many points following each other in sequence; a single point cannot function like a line. But that’s how electrons are functioning - simultaneously as a point and as a line, as a particle and as a wave. What to make of it? How to say it?
The scientist is dumb. Now he knows that the mystics, who have always been talking in paradoxes, who have been saying God is far away and very close by, must be saying something through their experience. The mystics who used to say that life and death are one, not two, for the first time are becoming relevant to the scientist’s mind. A new science is arising which says it is a science of uncertainty. No more certainty - certainty seems to be too gross.
Twenty-five centuries ago Mahavira used to begin each of his statements with a perhaps. If you asked him, “Is there a God?” he would say, “Perhaps.” In those days it was not understood at all - because how can you say, “Perhaps”? Either God is or is not. It seems so simple and so logical: “If God is, God is; if he is not, he is not. What do you mean by ‘perhaps’?”