Chapter 5: Beyond Honor and Disgrace
On beyond honor and disgrace, Lao Tzu says:
He who knows does not speak;
he who speaks does not know.
Fill up its apertures,
close its doors,
dull its edges,
untie its tangles,
soften its light,
submerge its turmoil
- this is the mystic unity.
Then love and hatred cannot touch him.
Profit and loss cannot reach him.
Honor and disgrace cannot affect him.
Therefore is he always the honored one of the world.
Language is human; obviously it has to be very limited. It is good for objective things; it is completely useless for the inner, the inside.
Language can say something, but it cannot say the all. If you are sitting at the dinner table, language is useful for saying Please pass me the salt. It is utilitarian. It has use, but it cannot say the truth, because truth is not a utility, and truth is not something objective. It is not there outside you, it happens somewhere at the deepest core of your being.
A thing is between you and me: we can decide what we are going to call it - it is a contract. If both the parties are willing, language is perfectly okay. But something has happened within me, it is not something between you and me; I cannot indicate what it is. Even if I indicate, you cannot see what it is. So no contract is possible.
Religion is beyond language. At the most, language can say what it is not. It cannot say what truth is, but it can say what it is not. At the most it can be a negation. We cannot say what God is because that will be limiting him through our limited words, concepts; at the most we can say what he is not. And all the scriptures only say what he is not. They eliminate the error, but they never show the truth. But if you can go on eliminating the error, one day suddenly truth is revealed to you. It is not revealed through language, it is revealed through silence.
So the first thing to be understood very deeply - because it becomes a great pitfall if you don’t understand it - is that language can be dangerous, one can be deluded by it.
You know the word God, but the word God is not God. In the word God there is nothing godly. The word God is absolutely hollow and empty. It has nothing in it. You can go on repeating it millions of times, nothing will happen to you. It is an empty shell, inside it is hollow. Words cannot carry the inner experience.
It may have been true when a Jesus used the word, it may have meant something to him - but not to those who heard him. This has to be understood.