Chapter 8: Beyond Mother’s Knees
Three men made their way to the circle of a Sufi, seeking admission to his teachings. Almost at once one of them detached himself from the group, angered by the erratic behavior of the master.
On the master’s instructions, the second was told by a disciple that the sage was a fraud.
The third was allowed to stay, but he was offered no teaching for so long that he lost interest and left the circle.
When they had all gone away the teacher instructed his circle thus:
The first man was an illustration of the principle: Do not judge fundamental things by sight.
The second was an illustration of the injunction: Do not judge things of deep importance by hearing.
The third was an example of the dictum: Never judge by speech, or the lack of it.
When asked by a disciple why the applicants could not have been instructed in this matter, the sage retorted: “I am here to give higher knowledge, not to teach what people pretend that they already know at their mother’s knees.”
I am talking to you, not about something, I am talking that very something. And whether I am talking or not talking, I am that very something. You may call it God, you may call it X.
The unknown cannot be taught, the unknown has to be learned. And even when you have learned it, it remains unknown - that’s the beauty of it. It never becomes the known. God never becomes knowledge. On the contrary, the more you know, the more he becomes mysterious. The more you penetrate him, the more he is elusive. As you come nearer to the center you start feeling lost - all certainty gone, all clinging disappeared. In fact you are disappearing.
And when you have really reached the center, God is there in his absolute grandeur. But you are not there; the seeker has disappeared, the knower has disappeared. And when there is no knower, how can you reduce the unknown to knowledge? The unknown becomes knowledge through the knower. If the knower has disappeared, there is no possibility of knowledge. The abyss remains, the mystery remains. But, in a very paradoxical way, the mystery is also revealed to you. You know it, you feel it, because you are it.
A master is not there to impart knowledge, a master is there to impart himself. A master is not communicating something about God, he is communicating God himself. The about does not interest a master; the about is lower knowledge. If you have come to me to know about God, you have come to a wrong person because I am not interested in about. If you have come to know God, you have come to the right person. But then, you have to be ready, ready to die for it - nothing less will do. It is the greatest risk that one can take.