Chapter 5: The Pilgrims of Love
The scientist makes it an absolute criterion of knowledge that the knower should not be involved in the known. You should remain objective, you should remain aloof, indifferent. You should not get into the thing that you are trying to know; you should remain outside, utterly outside, uninvolved. Only then will your knowledge be valid.
The poet understands, the religious mystic understands - they don’t know. And understanding is possible only when you participate - not that you stand outside, but you dive in. To understand a flower means to become a flower, to understand a woman means to become that woman. To understand a man means to participate so totally with the man that all boundaries are merged, that your beings start overlapping each other, that there comes a moment of meeting when it is very difficult to say who is who.
When two beings pulsate in such unison that it is almost as if they are one - when their heartbeats are in a rhythm, when they breathe as if there is only one soul, maybe two bodies but one soul - when the participation is so total, then only do you know.
Religion says: Existence is available to understanding but not to knowledge. The very requirement of knowledge - that of being objective, an aloof spectator - debars you. You will know much, but you will not understand at all. You will go on gathering knowledge, you will become very much informed, but deep down you will not have any insight into the reality of things. The Ah! of things has to be understood, must be understood. And understanding needs participation, understanding needs courage to dissolve yourself. Understanding needs a very adventurous mind who is ready to melt.
If you can melt with existence then you are religious. That melting I call prayer. When somebody has melted so deeply with existence that he is not there as a knower separate from the known, but the knower and the known have become one - in that moment the secrets are revealed. But then the mystery is not destroyed, the mystery is deepened even more.
Remember it always, if the mystery of your life goes on deepening then you are on the right track. If you start feeling that there is no mystery in life and you become knowledgeable, you are on the wrong track. Avoid philosophy and take a deep plunge into poetry. Be as much of a poet as possible - because the mystic is the growth of the poet. The poet is on the way to being a mystic, and only a poet can be a mystic.
It is better to read poetry than philosophy, it is better to sing poetry than to ponder over philosophical problems. Philosophical problems are superficial. And the whole effort is based on one thing: philosophy takes it for granted that life can be reduced to knowledge. And that is utterly absurd. Life cannot be reduced to knowledge; life is so vast, it is so infinite, and how can you reduce it to knowledge? - because you are part of life. And even if for logic’s sake we can accept that one day comes when you have known all, you will still have remained unknown. The knower will have remained unknown.