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Chapter 15: You Fool Around - Then Learn the Lesson

Knowledge is nurture, not nature, but millions of people around the world live their whole life under the misunderstanding that knowledge is wisdom. If knowledge was wisdom, then great scholars, professors, PhDs, DLitts - all would have become enlightened. But it is very strange that the people who have become enlightened come not from the professional scholars but from very innocent groups. Carpenters are not scholars; nor are weavers, nor are shoemakers, nor are potters, but they all have given enlightened people to the world. Their wisdom was, and even is today, as fresh as the morning dewdrops.

Wisdom never grows old.

Knowledge is always old, it is never fresh. It is being passed from one generation to another generation; it has been going on from one hand into another hand. Wisdom, everybody has to find for himself.

Wisdom is an individual search and its fulfillment. Its beginning is to ask the question, “Who am I?” and its end is to find who is residing in you as your life, as your consciousness. And the moment you have known your being, you have become aware of your immortality.

The Upanishads say, amritasya putrah: you are all sons and daughters of immortality. To know it firsthand, not by repeating the Upanishads but to know it by your own experience, is wisdom.

A Gautam Buddha, a Mahavira, are people of wisdom because they have come face to face with their own reality. What they are saying is not within quotation marks, it is not a repetition of any scripture. What they are saying is on their own authority. Wisdom is its own authority; it is self-evident, it needs no support from the past.

Knowledge never transforms anybody, it simply burdens you. It may give you respectability, honor, prestige, but it will not make you aware of yourself; you will not know who you are. You may remain a Christian, you may remain a Hindu, you may remain a Buddhist, you may remain a Mohammedan, just because the older generation - your parents, your teachers, your priests - have burdened you, conditioned you, fed you with all kinds of traditional knowledge.

But wisdom, nobody can impart to anybody else. That’s its beauty and that’s its grandeur. You can find it yourself, but it will be always firsthand - young and fresh and alive. Knowledge is always dead; it stinks of death. Wisdom is fragrant of love, of life, of rejoicings.

James, the eldest son of a respected Hollywood family, walked into his father’s study and made a shocking announcement that he now intended to live openly with his gay boyfriend.

“Damn it, James,” shouted his father, “our family came over with Columbus and the Mayflower; we have never had a scandal like this!”

“But I can’t help it, father,” said James, “I am so in love with him.”

“But for God’s sake, son”, shouted his father, “he is Catholic!”

This is knowledge. He is not worried about homosexuality, he is worried that “he is Catholic and you are not Catholic.”

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