Chapter 9: The Man Who Has Conquered Himself
When you know godliness and you utter the word God, it is luminous, it is full of light, it is a diamond. But when you know nothing of godliness, but only the word God taught by others, it is an ordinary pebble with no color, with no luminosity, with no light in it. You can go on carrying it; it is simply a weight, a burden. You can drag it. It will not become your wings, it will not make you light, and it will not help you in any way to arrive closer to godliness. In fact it will hinder you, obstruct you, because the more you think you know about God, just by knowing the word God, the less you will inquire into the reality of godliness. The more you become knowledgeable, the less is the possibility of your ever going on the adventure of searching out the truth of godliness. When you already know, what is the point of inquiring, what is the point of investigating? You have killed the question. You have not solved it, you have not got the answer; you have taken it from others. But others’ answers can’t be your answers.
Buddha knows, but when he speaks, his words cannot carry his experience. When they leave his heart they are full of light, they are full of dance. When they reach to you they are dull, dead. You can accumulate those words, you can think that you have a great treasure, but you have nothing at all. All that you have are empty words.
Buddha wants you to become aware of this phenomenon, because this is of great importance. Unless you are free of empty, hollow words, you will not start the journey of inquiry. Unless you drop your so-called knowledge, unless you discard all your information, unless you become again innocent like a child, ignorant like a child, your inquiry is going to be futile, superficial.
Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace. And what is the criterion? Which word is luminous? Which word is really full of fragrance? The word that brings peace. And that word never comes from the outside - it is the still, small voice of your own heart. It is heard at the deepest recesses of your being: it is the sound of your own being, it is the song of your own life.
It is not to be found in the scriptures and it is not to be found in learned discourses. It is to be found only if you go in; it is to be found only in meditation, in deep silence. When all borrowed knowledge has left you and you are alone, when all the scriptures have been burned and you are left alone, when you don’t know a thing, when you function from a state of not-knowing, then it is heard, because then all the clamor of knowledge and the noise is gone: you can hear the still, small voice. And then a single word. It is a single word: it is the sound of om.
The moment you enter into your being you will be surprised to find that there is a constant sound that appears like om. Mohammedans have heard it as amin - it is om; Christians have heard it as “amen”; it is the same sound. Hence the Christian, the Mohammedan, the Hindu, the Jaina, the Buddhist, they all end their prayers with om. The prayer is bound to end in om; the prayer makes you more and more silent. Finally there is nothing but om. All Hindu scriptures end with om, shantih shantih shantih - om, peace, peace, peace. This is the word om.
And the criterion to judge whether you have really heard it or you have pretended to hear it or you have imagined hearing it is that it brings peace. Suddenly you are full of peace - a peace that you had never known before.
Peace is something far superior to happiness, because happiness is always followed by unhappiness; it is always a mixture of polar opposites: happiness-unhappiness. They are like day and night, they follow each other.