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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Reflections on Khalil Gibran's The Prophet
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Chapter 31: Into the Very Center of Silence

They had believed in a lie as a truth. They have not bothered even to look at the roots to see whether they are carrying a real rosebush or just something plastic. And they are perfectly happy - at least to the outside world - because the world pays them respect and goes on fulfilling their egos. And because the ego is fulfilled, they go on collecting more and more junk.

In Jabalpur there was a special market called the thieves’ market, Chor Bazaar; you could get anything there - everything that had been stolen in Jabalpur or in surrounding towns was sold there. I was a constant visitor, particularly to a small shop run by an old man. He used to sell newspapers, old magazines, books, stolen books. He had no price for them; they were sold by their weight - Shrimad Bhagavadgita, one kilo.

The old man started, by and by, loving me, because I was a constant visitor. I told the old man, “You must be the greatest scholar in the world.”

He said, “What? I’m a poor man. I can read a little bit, but I’m not a scholar.”

I said, “But you have so much junk.” From his shop you could have found all the religious scriptures, all great novels, Nobel Prize-winner books. I am remembering him today because I had got The Prophet from his bookshop, for just two annas - that was the price, because the book is small and has not much weight.

I said, “I am saying that you are a great scholar, because your shop is nothing but a magnified form of the mind of a scholar.” He is loaded with knowledge - and knows nothing. And if you question him, you hurt him; if you argue against his knowledge, he will take you to court.

What kind of a strange world have we created? To be a scholar you don’t need any intelligence, just a mechanical memory; intelligence is a totally different phenomenon. The scholar can answer only that question which is stored in his memory system, in his biocomputer. Sometimes even computers are more intelligent.

I have heard about a computer. A man was amazed when he heard about the miracles that a computer can do. He said, “I would like to check it. I cannot believe that a machine can answer your questions.”

So he went to the central system where the biggest and most sophisticated computer was available, and he asked, “Can you tell me where my father is?”

For a moment the computer was silent and then he said, “Your father? He has been dead for almost five years.”

The man laughed. He said, “I knew from the very beginning that it is all nonsense! My father has gone fishing. Just now I have left him on the riverbank and come here; and you are saying my father has been dead for five years.”

He could not believe it when the computer laughed loudly. He said, “My God, you can laugh also!”

The computer said, “Why not? - because the man you think you have left on the boat is not your father; he is only the husband of your mother.”

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