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Chapter 4: Eyes and Legs for the Journey

The pundit said, “First let me find out who shot me, and why. Was the man who shot me a friend or an enemy? What was his motive for doing this? What would actually be worse, my death or my survival? Is it certain that my survival would be beneficial, or is it better if I die? Until all this is clear, how can I let you pull out the arrow? And is this arrow poisonous or not? Is it my destiny or is it a coincidence? Is this my fate or is this just accidental? All this has to be clear before we pull the arrow out.”

Buddha said, “Perhaps all this will never become clear or certain. But one thing is clear: you will be dead before you clear all this up, you will be gone.”

The pundit said, “But it is also not right to pull the arrow out until I know why all this has happened.”

A fool goes rushing in - even into darkness. Even if he sees light, a pundit will see so many shades and aspects of it that he will remain standing where he is, unable to move on.

Now it will be good to understand another meaning of the word decisive. There is the decisiveness of ignorance and the uncertainty of knowledge - but there is another decisiveness, the decisiveness of experience. When a person has become certain through experience, then in a sense his certainty is like that of the ignorant person once again.

When Vivekananda comes to Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna is very certain. When Vivekananda asks, “Does God exist?” Ramakrishna says, “Why go into all this useless talk? Would you like to meet God?” Now this answer would not be possible from a knowledgeable man

Vivekananda had also gone to a knowledgeable man: he had gone to Maharishi Devendranath, who was a maharishi like Ashvalayana. Vivekananda asked Devendranath the same question: “Does God exist?” but the way he asked was such that the wise man became perplexed. Vivekananda held him by the collar, shook him and asked, “Does God exist?”

Devendranath hesitated and said, “Sit down. Sit down calmly, then I will tell you.”

But Vivekananda said, “Your hesitation has said everything. You have hesitated, and your answer is coming out of hesitation. You don’t know! You may know much about God, but you have not known God.”

He asked Ramakrishna exactly the same thing, but Ramakrishna created exactly the reverse situation. Ramakrishna said, “Drop all this meaningless talk! Tell me if you want to meet God!” Now this was a question in response to a question, and this made Vivekananda hesitate.

He said, “Before coming here I had not thought about this. Now I came only to ask. If you give me some time I would like to think about whether I really want to meet God or not.”

Whenever you go to someone who has experienced, you will feel that his certainty is very intense. If you understand his certainty rightly, you will see that there is no presence of the opposite chord of doubt in his intensity.

I have heard:

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