Chapter 1: Know How to Live
Shams e-Tabrizi said, “Unless you have broken your neck, why don’t you look directly at the moon in the sky?”
The moon is there, the full moon is there, and this poet was sitting with a bowl of water and looking into the bowl of water at the reflection of the moon!
Seeking truth in scriptures, seeking truth in philosophies, is looking at the reflection. If you ask somebody else how you should live your life you are asking for misguidance, because that man can only talk about his own life. And never, never, are two lives the same. Whatsoever he can say or impart to you will be about his own life - and that too only if he has lived. He may have asked somebody else, he may have followed somebody else, he may have been an imitator himself: then it is a reflection of a reflection. And centuries pass and people go on reflecting the reflection of the reflection of the reflection - and the real moon is always there in the sky waiting for you. it is your moon, it is your sky, look directly. Be immediate about it. Why borrow my eyes or anybody else’s eyes? You have been given eyes, beautiful eyes to see, and to see directly. Why borrow understanding from anybody? Remember, it may be an understanding to me, but the moment you borrow it, it becomes knowledge to you - it is no longer understanding,
Understanding is only that which has been experienced by the person himself. It may be understanding for me, if I have looked at the moon, but the moment I say it to you it becomes knowledge, it is no longer understanding. Then it is just verbal, then it is just linguistic. And language is a lie.
Let me tell you an anecdote.
A chicken farmer, dissatisfied with the productivity of his flock, decided to use a bit of psychology on his hens. Accordingly he purchased a gay-colored, talking parrot and placed him in the barnyard. Sure enough, the hens took to the handsome stranger immediately, pointed out the best tidbits for him to eat with joyous clucks, and generally followed him around like a bevy of teenage girls following a new singing star sensation. To the delight of the farmer even their egg-laying capacities improved.
The barnyard rooster, naturally jealous of being ignored by his harem, set upon the attractive interloper, assailed him with beak and claws, pulling out one green or red feather after the other. Whereupon the intimidated parrot cried out in trepidation, “Desist sir! I beg of you, desist! After all, I am only here in the capacity of a language professor!”