Chapter 8: The Disappearance of the Magician
You can remember, you can memorize as much information as available, but that is not going to help you. You can become a walking Encyclopedia Britannica, but the donkey will be carrying the Koran unless you become aware that life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved. Then you approach in a totally different way; the approach becomes qualitatively different. Then you approach through awareness, not through knowledge. Then you approach immediately, directly. You look into life without any clouds hindering your eyes - Christian, Mohammedan, Hindu. No clouds; just pure eyes, just looking like an innocent child.
To become that innocent child the first requirement is to understand that you are ignorant. It is one of the most difficult things. It is simple to renounce riches, but very difficult to renounce knowledge.
Many people renounce riches: they renounce their families, their homes, the world, but they don’t, they never renounce their knowledge.
I used to know a man who renounced the world. We were together in the university. After a few years I came across him in a city; I went to see him. He had renounced everything, he had become a Jaina monk. I asked him, “Are you still a Jaina?”
He said, “Why not? I am a Jaina, I was born a Jaina.”
I said, “I was thinking you had renounced everything, but knowledge you have saved? You have renounced your parents, but you have not renounced that which your parents have taught you. This is something. You have renounced your home, but you are still carrying subtle impressions of the home. That’s what being a Jaina is. If you had been brought up in a Mohammedan family, you would have been a Mohammedan. If you were never told by anybody that you are a Jaina, you could not have become a Jaina. You have renounced the family, you say. You say, ‘I have renounced my mother, father, my wife, my children.’ Then why are you carrying knowledge that was given by them? Renounce that too.”
He looked puzzled. He said, “That is difficult.”
It is easy to renounce riches because they are outside; knowledge is an inner richness. It is easy to renounce the worldly things because they are like clothes - you can undress. But to renounce knowledge is like renouncing your skin; it is not so easy. It is painful, very painful.
And from where does the pain come? The pain comes from the ego - because knowledge is the food for the ego. It is the subtlest food for the ego. The more you know, the more you feel powerful.
Lord Bacon has said, “Knowledge is power.” It is very difficult to renounce power. Money too is power, but nothing compared to knowledge - because money can be robbed: the government can change, communists can come, money can be distributed. You cannot rely on the money; the bank can go broke.