Chapter 42: Be a Seeker, Not a Believer
Finally they reported to the vice-chancellor, “We are getting into a mess. Naturally he is very fair about anybody he teaches, but when he comes to criticize, then it is something of his heart. When he teaches, it is only his mind; and when he criticizes, it is his heart. And our problem is that we are left in an absolute uncertainty: we cannot answer any question because we know that if we listen to him, Shankara is wrong. And if we write that Shankara is right, then we are not only betraying him, we are betraying ourselves too - because we have also felt that the whole philosophical system is based on belief, not on experience.”
The vice-chancellor told me, “It is a strange way of teaching. We have never heard.”
I said, “It has to be strange - have you ever heard of me? - I am doing my best. You should look at my situation: I am walking on a razor’s edge. I am being fair to people whom I would like to crush completely, still I am giving them as much support, reason, logic, as humanly possible. But I cannot lie to my students.”
My vice-chancellor suggested, “You’d better resign; you are not supposed to be a professor. These people have come here to get some degrees to become clerks, to become teachers, to become stationmasters, postmasters. They are not interested in God, they are not interested in truth.”
If every teacher, every parent is honest, there will be Christs and there will be Buddhas and there will be Mahaviras; but there will not be Christians, there will not be Buddhists and there will not be Jainas.
There is no need for believers. When you can become a Christ yourself, why become a Christian?
Being a Christian means you are avoiding being a Christ. You are avoiding the crucifixion; you are avoiding the resurrection. You have found a very cheap escape - you have become a Christian. You go to the church every Sunday.for six days there is no difference between Christians and Hindus and Mohammedans - no difference, because there are only Sunday Christians, and that, too, for one hour. And you can see the difference: if you are a Christ there is a possibility you may be on the cross, but if you are a Christian, at the most you can have a beautiful, golden cross hanging around your neck, an ornament. Jesus did not have an ornament.
A single insight: that if you are carrying borrowed knowledge, please drop it. Drop it totally, not in installments - because that is sheer wastage.
I am reminded of a beautiful incident:
One man came to Ramakrishna and he had brought one thousand golden coins to present to him. Ramakrishna said, “I don’t need them, but I don’t want to hurt you either, so I will accept them.” He accepted the golden coins - and in those days it was a lot of money, one thousand golden coins. Then he said, “Now, I have accepted them.now these coins are mine?”
The man said, “Yes, I have given them to you.”
He said, “Now take them and throw them into the Ganges” - which was flowing just behind the temple where they were sitting.