Chapter 3: Of Scholars
The man of knowing starts by disowning knowledge, because knowledge is a hindrance; it is a false coin. And the false should be removed before the real can be realized. He disowns everything that is not his own. It is better to be ignorant than to be knowledgeable, because at least the ignorance is yours. It needs more courage than renouncing riches, renouncing kingdoms, renouncing your family, renouncing the society, because they are all outside. Knowledge accumulates inside your mind. Wherever you go.deep in the Himalayas it will be with you.
Renouncing knowledge means a deep inner cleansing and that is what I mean by meditation. Meditation is nothing but renouncing borrowed knowledge and becoming fully aware of one’s ignorance. This brings a metamorphosis. The moment you are aware of your ignorance, ignorance goes through such a great change that unless it happens it remains unbelievable. The very ignorance becomes your innocence. The wise man also says, “I do not know.”
According to Zarathustra, the highest stage of consciousness is that of a child. You are born a child but then you are ignorant. You will go through much knowledge, much memory and if you are fortunate enough, one day you will see that it is all false - because it is not yours.
Buddha may have known, Jesus may have known, Krishna may have known; but their knowledge cannot become my knowing, their life cannot become my life, their love cannot become my love. How can their knowledge become my knowledge? I will have to seek and search on my own. I have to become an adventurer, a seeker of the unknown. I have to go on untrodden paths into uncharted seas. And I have to risk everything with a determined will that if others have achieved the truth, there is no reason why existence will be unkind to me.
Very few fortunate people start dropping their borrowed knowledge. And as they start dropping their borrowed knowledge the circle starts moving back toward their childhood. The completion of the circle comes when ignorance becomes luminous. When ignorance meets with awareness the greatest explosion in the whole experience of man happens: you disappear as an ego. Now you are a pure, innocent existence - pure “isness,” with no claim for anything.
In this moment Socrates said, “I do not know anything.” In the same state Bodhidharma declared, “I know nothing. And moreover, my ‘I’ is just a linguistic convenience. Inside me there is no entity which can say ‘I.’ I am just using it, because without it you will not be able to understand. The reality is that I have disappeared and there is only a pure sky, a pure ‘isness’ - utterly innocent, with no clouds of knowledge.”
It is a difficult task to disown knowledge, because knowledge gives you respectability, makes you a great man, brings you a Nobel prize. You are known to millions of people, although you know nothing about yourself. It is a very strange state: the whole world knows you except yourself. To disown knowledge means to fall in the eyes of people, to lose respectability, fame, celebrity. And the ego is very much against doing such a thing - because with the respectability, the fame and the knowledge disowned, the ego starts dying. It can live only on the borrowed. It itself is the most false thing in your life.
Zarathustra’s statements have to be contemplated very deeply: