Chapter 7: A Harmony of Love and Renunciation
Then he wants to convey it: the mind has to come in, the mind has to do a certain role. The mind tries to convey it, but in that very effort it is distorted. Now the silence has to enter sound, the silence has to enter its opposite; the wordless has to become confined to the word, the indefinable has to be reduced to a definition, and something mysterious has to become an explanation. All is lost. If not all, then almost all. Only a flicker of truth remains, just a ripple. While in his own experience it was a great ocean, now it is just a ripple.
Still the mystic has to say it. He has to share it; it is part of his experience to share it. It is just like a flower opens and shares its fragrance: it has to be done; nobody can contain it in himself. He owes it to humanity and to all those who are still struggling in the dark. Maybe he cannot convey the whole light, but even a reflection of it may be helpful to many. Even a distorted form of it may help many to seek, to search, to inquire. It may make many thirsty for it. So the mystic has to say it, and whenever a mystic says it he cries, because he can see what it was in his experience, and what it has turned out to be in his words. Ninety-nine percent is lost. And then when you hear the word, you translate it again according to your experience.
First, the experience; then the mystic has to translate it according to his mind. And the mind is given to him by the society, the mind is conditioned by the society. The mind is nothing but an experience of living with people. He has to translate it - that which is known in tremendous aloneness, that which is experienced in absolute solitude, has to be brought into the mundane world, has to be reduced to a mass language, a mass medium. Much is lost.
And then you hear the word, and rather than listening to the wordless you catch hold of the word, which is the nonessential. The essential is lost again. And then you translate the word according to your own mind, according to your own experience. Now you are a thousand miles away from the original experience.
I have heard:
A great Zen master, Sosan, was asked to explain the ultimate teaching of the Buddha.
He answered, “You won’t understand it until you have it.”
But then what is the point in understanding it? When you have it, you have it; there is no need to understand it. When you don’t have it, you cannot understand it, and the need exists to understand it. This is the paradox: you can understand it only when you have it. There is no way to understand it before this; only the experience will explain it to you. Nothing else can do that work, no substitute is possible. But then there is no need - when you have it, you have it. When it is there, it is there. There is not even any desire to understand it. It has happened; you have known, it has become you.