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Chapter 2: Ordinariness

But a total man is totally different. He is wise in his foolishness; he is foolish in his wisdom. He knows that he is ignorant - that is his wisdom. In him opposites meet. Says Lao Tzu, “Everybody seems to be wise except me. I appear to be a fool.”

Everybody is trying to be wise, trying to be knowledgeable, trying to be intelligent - cutting out, hiding, suppressing foolishness. But foolishness has a beauty of its own - if it can be joined together with wisdom. Then wisdom is total. And the greatest wise men in the dimension of totality are always fools also. They are so simple and so innocent that they look foolish. Lao Tzu must have looked foolish to many people. He was; he was both. And that is the difficulty: mind seeks perfection. Who will go to Lao Tzu? Nobody wants to be both foolish and wise. And you cannot even understand how one can be both. How can one be both?

It is reported that a Sufi mystic was traveling and came to a town. And his name had reached there before him, his fame was already known. So people gathered together and said, “Preach something to us.”

The mystic said, “I am not a wise man, because I am a fool also. You will be confused by my teachings, so better let me keep quiet.” But the more he tried to avoid it, the more they insisted, the more they became intrigued by his personality.

Finally he yielded and he said, “Okay. This coming Friday I will come to the mosque.” - it was a Mohammedan village - “and what do you want me to talk about?”

They said, “Of course, about God.”

So he came. The whole village gathered, he had created such a sensation. He stood at the pulpit and asked a question: “Do you know anything about what I am going to say about God?”

The villagers of course replied, “No, we don’t know what you are going to say.”

“Then,” he said, “it is useless, because if you don’t know at all, you will not be able to understand A little preparation is needed, and you are absolutely unprepared. It is going to be futile and I will not speak.” He left the mosque.

The villagers were at a loss: what to do? They persuaded him again the next Friday. The next Friday he again came. He asked the same question; all the villagers were ready. He asked, “Do you know what I am going to talk to you about?”

They said, “Yes, of course.”

So he said, “Then there is no need to talk. If you already know - finished. Why unnecessarily bother me and waste your time?” He left the mosque.

The villagers were completely puzzled: what to do with this man? But now their interest was going mad. He must be hiding something! So they again persuaded him somehow.

He came, and again he asked the same question: “Do you know what I am going to talk about?”

Now the villagers had become a little wiser. They said, “Half of us know, and half of us don’t know.”

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