Chapter 5: Singing Silence
If you are a Hindu you are still part of the society called Hindu, you are not in the Himalayas. How can a single man be a Hindu? To be a Hindu one needs to belong, to be a Hindu one needs a society; to be a Mohammedan one needs a sect, a crowd. Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism are all names of different kinds of crowds.
And you say you have left the world? Then why have you brought in this crowd and this belonging? And what do you mean by calling yourself a Hindu? You mean that you carry a certain kind of knowledge - knowledge imparted by the Vedas, the Gita. Or if you think you are Mohammedan, then it is knowledge imparted by the Koran. You have not renounced knowledge.
Sufis say that if you want to renounce anything at all, renounce knowledge. That is the greatest courage - because when you renounce knowledge, ego starts disappearing. Ego dies of its own accord, it cannot exist. The moment you say “I don’t know,” have you felt the purity of that moment? Have you felt the innocence of that moment? Have you felt the silence of that moment? When you utter, “I don’t know,” this is one of the greatest statements a man can make - and this is the beginning.
The first step of Sufism is to come to know that you don’t know. And this should not be a mere idea, it should be a lived experience. You should not only say it, it should not be only on your lips, it should be deep in your heart. You should feel it from your very guts - “I don’t know.”
What do you know? Do you know God? Do you know truth? Do you know anything about death? Do you know anything about life? Yes, you are alive, but you don’t know anything about life. Yes, God is in you and has lived in you from the very beginning - the beginningless beginning - but you have not yet made any acquaintance with him. And truth is everywhere. You are surrounded by truth, you live in the ocean of truth, but you don’t know anything about it. You are as ignorant about truth as a fish is ignorant about the ocean.
But you go on thinking that you know because you have read a book, because you can recite the Koran, the Gita, the Bible. Not only do people think that reciting, remembering, is knowledge, they think this is the only kind of knowledge there is.
Remembrance, memory, is not knowledge. What do you know by remembering a thing? A parrot can do that, a machine can do it - and in a far more efficient way than you can do it. What is there? A computer can remember the whole of the Vedas and the Koran and the Bible and all the scriptures and can present all its knowledge whenever you ask. But the computer has no consciousness, no awareness, no soul.
A man who trusts his memory too much and thinks that this is knowing, starts disappearing as a man and finally becomes a mechanism. Memory is mechanical.