Chapter 3: Awareness, Not Knowledge
It is as if you have been living in a dark cell. You have heard about light but you have not seen it. And how can you hear about light? It can only be seen. Ears are not the medium to know light: eyes are. And you have heard about light. And hearing again and again about light you have started to feel that you know light. You know about; but to know about is not to know. You have heard. How can you hear light? It will be as if someone says that he has seen music. It will be absurd.
Hearing about light, the mind becomes more and more greedy. You consult scriptures. You go and seek wise, old men. You may even come across somebody who has seen, but the moment he says something about that, to you it becomes the heard. In India the oldest scriptures are known as shruti, that which has been heard. That’s beautiful. That’s really beautiful. How can truth be heard? And all the old scriptures are called shrutis, and smritis. Shruti means “the heard,” and smriti means “the remembered.” You have heard and you remember. You have memorized it, but how can you know truth by hearing? You have to feel it. In fact you have to live it.
The man living in the cave, in darkness, can collect many facts about light. He can almost become a great pundit. You can consult him and you can rely on him. He will say everything that has ever been said about light, but he will live all the same in darkness. And he cannot help you towards light; he himself is blind.
Jesus says again and again, “The blind are leading the blind.” Kabir says, “If you are suffering, become alert; you must have been led by a blind man. If blind people lead blind people, they fall in the well,” says Kabir. And you are all in the well of suffering; you must have heard too much about truth; you must have heard too much about God. Thousands of pulpits continuously preaching God - churches, temples, scholars - continuously talking “about.”
God is not a talk. It is an experience.
Ignorance cannot be dissolved by knowledge. It can be dissolved only by awareness. Knowledge you can go on collecting in the dream; but it is part of the dream, and the dream is part of your sleep. Somebody has to shake you. Somebody has to shock you. Somebody has to bring you out of your sleep; otherwise you can go on and on. Sleep is alcoholic. Ignorance is alcoholic; it is a drug. You have to be pulled out of it.
I will tell you one anecdote I have always loved. It is about Siddha Naropa, the disciple Of Tilopa. It happened before Naropa found his Master, Tilopa. It happened before he himself became enlightened. And it is a must for every seeker; it has to happen to everybody. So whether it happened to Naropa or not is not the point - it is a must on the journey. Unless it happens, enlightenment is not possible. So I don’t know historically whether it happened or not. Psychologically I am certain, absolutely certain, it happened because nobody can move without it further into the beyond.