Chapter 3: Of Scholars
Too long did my soul sit hungry at their table; I have not been schooled, as they have, to crack knowledge as one cracks nuts.
I love freedom and the air over fresh soil; I would sleep on ox-skins rather than on their dignities and respectabilities.
I am too hot and scorched by my own thought: it is often about to take my breath away. Then I have to get into the open air and away from all dusty rooms.
But they sit cool in the cool shade: they want to be mere spectators in everything and they take care not to sit where the sun burns upon the steps.
The scholar lives comfortably in his invented hypotheses, in his borrowed knowledge, in his respectability. He has no longing to experience life on his own. He loves comfort and respectability too much, which for a real seeker do not mean anything. What can respectability be - respectability from the people who are ignorant, who know nothing. They respect you, thinking that you are wise - you can quote scriptures. But the very idea of being respected by the ignorant is against the pride of an authentic man.
And comfort is a slow death. Soon death will be knocking on your doors; then neither comfort can save you, nor respectability can be a shield. The only thing that can save you is your own realization of truth, is your own knowing of the meaning of life. It is your own taste.
But the scholars don’t have courage enough to drop all comfort, all respectability, and to declare to the world that, “I am not a wise man, not yet. Now I am going to search, and I will stake everything to have even a glimpse of the beauty and ecstasy of reality. I have lived too much in words, now I want actual experience.”
And actual experience is wordless. It is a taste, it is a nourishment, it fulfills you. The word love is not love. Love is a deep dance of your heart, a rejoicing in your soul, an overflowing of your life juices, a sharing with those who are receptive and available. But the word love has nothing to do with it.
When they give themselves out as wise, their little sayings and truths make me shiver: their wisdom often smells as if it came from the swamps.
It smells, it stinks, it is really disgusting. If you have known something on your own, then you can see that the so-called scholars are all carrying corpses. And they are bragging whose corpse is the most ancient. The more rotten a corpse is, the more ancient a scripture is, the greater is the scholar.