Chapter 6: Only Contemplating Can Know
You can write a great deal on thoughts; what will you write in connection with no-thought? Whatever you say about it will be false and you will regret it later. Sages always repent after speaking, for they feel they could not say what they wanted to say; and they have said what should not have been said. For what they tried to convey the listener could not follow, and what he understood had no meaning.
Lao Tzu has said, “Nothing can be spoken about Truth.” And whatever is spoken becomes an untruth. The more you know, the more difficult you will find it to express yourself. Each word becomes a challenge to utter for now you possess a touchstone within by which you test; as a result all words seem too shallow and petty to express. A big event has taken place inside which cannot be contained by words, a vast space discovered within that cannot be filled with the capsules of words.
And even if you speak, the regret becomes greater, for by the time your words reach the listener their meaning becomes quite different. Everything that you said gets completely changed - you gave a diamond; it became a stone. The genuine coin you gave, in changing hands became false. As you look within his eyes and see that the coin has become a fake, then you are filled with remorse for this man will now carry it along with him throughout his life.
This is exactly how all sects run, how the crowds of thousands move. They carry the burden of what was never given to them. If Mahavira were to return, he would beat his chest and weep at the state of Jainism; if Buddha returns he will weep for the Buddhists; if Jesus returns the fight will start again with the Israelites, for what each of them said never reached the people for whom it was intended. Something very different was received and digested.
If Nanak were to return he would not be as displeased with others as he would be with the Sikhs, for you can be angry only with those to whom you gave the word; it is they who have distorted it into something quite different.
We are very cunning. When a person like Nanak speaks, we add our meanings to his words, as it suits us. We do not shape ourselves in Nanak’s words; we fashion his words according to ourselves. This is our trick to bring things back to where they were. There are only two ways.
There once was a very rich woman. She was very artistic but also fickle and obstinate. Being fond of an ashtray that was very expensive, she had decorated her room so that it became the focus of the room and everything was made to match: the curtains, the furniture, the walls. The ashtray was the center of everything. One day the ashtray broke. She called the best craftsmen to make an exact replica of the ashtray but try as they would, no one could recreate the original color which was also reproduced everywhere in the room.
One day a craftsman offered his services. He asked for a full month to produce an ashtray to match the original one, but he laid one condition - no one was to enter the room during this month, not even the lady. In a month’s time he invited her to inspect the room. She was completely satisfied.