Chapter 5: Life and Death
The attainment of knowledge is not an end to the mystery of life. In fact, it is only when one has acquired knowledge that the true mystery is revealed. And then, only mystery remains. Knowledge is the understanding of mystery, the acceptance of mystery, the communion with mystery; knowledge is the bliss of a life with mystery, of a life in mystery, of a life through mystery. When the self has dissolved and only mystery remains you have entered into the sacred precincts of the universal soul. There is no greater mystery than this dissolution of the self, because when the individual self disappears the pure existence of the absolute self is manifest in its indescribable glory and total grandeur.
What should I say to you today? Should I talk to you about life? Perhaps I will. Perhaps it would be appropriate, because although you are alive you have no relation with life whatsoever. This may appear to be a contradictory statement, but not only is it possible to say this to you, this is really the way things are. You are alive, but you have forgotten about life. Perhaps you are too involved in living to remember life.
Whenever I look at a tree I wonder if it is aware of its roots. But even man knows nothing of his roots. And unless he does, unless a man possesses this knowledge, how can he have any real relation to life? Life exists in roots, in invisible roots; the essence of the visible is rooted in the invisible. In every living thing, the source of the visible is in the invisible. And unless you are aware of this you will go through your life without any relation to its true essence whatsoever.
To be related to life, the simple fact that you have been born is not enough. Birth is nothing more than a platform, a stage upon which the experience of life that is latent within you can unfold. Birth is only the beginning. But there are many, many people who stop here, who never progress beyond the starting point. They mistake it for the target itself. This is what generally happens.
There are only very few people who are able to distinguish the difference between the starting point and the finish line. Others, perhaps, may be able to differentiate between the two but do not live their lives accordingly. Their differentiation is purely intellectual, and it must be remembered that intellectual perception is not pure perception at all. It is only when perception comes out of a deeper understanding, out of a great sensitivity to life, that it is fruitful. This understanding comes from an intense feeling for life and from the depths of one’s heart. It transforms a man; it renews him.
The intellect labors under the illusion it possesses knowledge, but this so-called knowledge is nothing more than the borrowed thoughts of others. Intellectual perception is basically quite superficial. It is like the waves that ride the ocean - fickle, changeable, without stability or endurance. They come and they go, but in the depths the ocean is unchanged, unaffected by them. The intellect is to understanding as waves are to the ocean.