Chapter 7: The Mad King and His Idol
And that is not only so with children, that is so with great philosophers too. They all think that once they have drawn, painted, described, the whole world will know. Millions of philosophies have existed and disappeared and ignorance about God remains the same. In fact, there is no way to know God, so to call it ignorance is not right.
Let me explain it to you: you can call something knowledge. If knowledge is possible then the state before knowledge is ignorance, but if knowledge is impossible then the state before it cannot be called ignorance. Ignorance is ignorance only compared to knowledge.
Sufis don’t call the state of man ignorance, they call it innocence. And innocence is destroyed by knowledge. You don’t become a knower, your innocence is simply destroyed - which is a loss, not a gain, because existence can be felt through innocence, never through knowledge.
Don’t think that you are ignorant, you are simply innocent. And existence cannot be reduced to knowledge. Existence is not just the unknown, existence is really unknowable. The unknown will be known sooner or later; only time is required. Something was unknown yesterday, today it is known. Something is unknown today, tomorrow it will be known. It is only a question of time; between the known and the unknown the distance is of time. But existence is not unknown, existence is unknowable, intrinsically unknowable. It is a mystery. You cannot de-mystify existence. In fact, the more you know it, the more you feel knowing is impossible. The more you know the less you know. And when you really come to know, all knowledge simply disappears. You become again ignorant, innocent, like a child.
The camel is very full of knowledge, hence he is called the camel - because he accumulates, assimilates. The lion throws the knowledge but becomes anti-knowledge, gets hooked by the opposite. The child is free from both polarities - knowledge, anti-knowledge, philosophy, anti-philosophy. The child is simply free of all dualities. The child is innocent; he knows nothing of knowledge and he knows nothing of ignorance. He simply is. That state of a child is the Sufi state of consciousness. Knowledge is almost a deception, not only to others but to yourself, because you go on repeating the borrowed.
A sailor who had been abroad for some years came home on leave, and as he had some time to wait for his train, entered a hall nearby where a conjurer was entertaining. The sailor had a parrot with him, and knowing that he could not stay very long, sat near a door at the side of the hall so that he could slip out just before his train was due.