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Chapter 15: The Smokeless Flame

But it gives you a very gratified ego: that “I know.” And the more you become settled in the idea that “I know,” the less and less will you feel wonder in life. How can a man of knowledge feel wonder? Knowledge destroys wonder. And wonder is the source of wisdom, wonder is the source of all that is beautiful, and wonder is the source for the search, the real search. Wonder takes you on the adventure to know the mysteries of life.

The knowledgeable person already knows - knows nothing, but thinks that he already knows. He has come to a full stop. He has not reached anywhere, he has not known anything. He is a computer, his mind is simply programmed. Maybe he has MAs, PhDs, DLitts, maybe he has been to the biggest education centers of the world and he has accumulated much information, but that information is destroying his sensitivity to feel the mystery of the flowers, the birds, the trees, the sunlight, the moon - because he knows all the answers.

How can he see any beauty in the moon? He already knows everything about the moon. And if you say to him, “My beloved’s face looks like the full moon,” he will laugh. He will say, “You are simply foolish. How can you compare the moon with your beloved’s face? There is no comparison possible!”

He is mathematically right, scientifically right, but poetically wrong. And life is not only science. Just as Jesus said, “Man cannot live by bread alone,” I say to you, “Man cannot live by science alone.” A few windows are to be left open for poetic experiences, so some sun, some wind, some rain can come from real existence. You cannot be thrilled with life if you are too full of knowledge.

I used to go for a long walk every evening when I was in the university. A professor used to follow me. For two or three days I tolerated it, and then I said, “Either you stop coming, or I will have to stop coming.”

He said, “Why?”

I said, “You are destroying my whole walk.”

He said, “How?”

He knew too much about everything, and he would talk: “This tree belongs to that species.” Now, who bothers? The tree is beautiful; it is dancing in the wind, the foliage so young, so fresh. The green of it, the red of it, the gold of it, all is so beautiful - and he is talking about the species. He was a very, very informed man about everything. A bird on the wind, he would immediately label it. He was a great labeler.

I said, “Please, either you stop coming - you are destroying my evening walk - or I will have to stop.”

You must be too burdened. You are, I know you. You are burdened with great scriptures, mountains of scriptures; nothing can ever surprise you.

A man comes into a bar, obviously nervous and obviously in a hurry, walks over to the counter, picks up an empty glass and starts eating it. When he is finished he goes over to the wall, walks up the wall, walks along the ceiling, walks down the other wall and disappears out the door.