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Chapter 9: Means and Ends

When you listen, you are listening because you are the next speaker. You can tolerate the man - this is a bargain. If you want to bore others you have to allow them to bore you. So, really, when you say that a certain person is a bore, it’s that person who will not give you any opportunity to be the next speaker. He goes on and on and you cannot find a gap from where to enter and start boring. That person looks like a bore, but every mind filled with words is a bore.

When will you realize this? Why is one bored? - because there are only words, no fish in them, only traps - useless, meaningless, there is no content. It is like a rattling of something, a noise; no meaning is carried. Whenever there is meaning it is beautiful; whenever there is meaning you grow through it; whenever there is meaning, when you encounter a man who has meaning, it gives you a new upsurge of energy. It is not a wastage, it is a learning, it is an experience. Rare and difficult it is to find a man who is silent.

If you can find a man who is silent and persuade him to talk to you, you will gain much - because when the mind is not filled with words, the heart speaks to the heart. When everything comes out of silence, when a word is born out of silence, it is beautiful, it is alive, it shares something with you. When a word comes only out of the crowd of words, it is mad, it can madden you.

A small boy of five was asked by his teacher, “Has your younger sister learned to talk yet?”

The boy said, “Yes, she has learned to talk - and now we are teaching her to be quiet.”

This is the misery. You have to teach words, it is part of life, and then one has to learn how to be silent, how to be wordless. Universities, parents, teachers, they teach you words, and then you have to find a master who can teach you how to keep quiet.

One German scholar came to Ramana Maharshi and said, “I have come from very far away to learn something from you.”

Ramana laughed and said, “Then you have come to the wrong place. Go to some university, go to some scholar, some great pundit; there you will be able to learn. If you come to me then be aware that learning is not possible here, we teach only unlearning. I can teach you how to unlearn, how to throw words away, to create space within you. And that space is divine, that space is godliness.”

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