Chapter 31: Into the Very Center of Silence
And then a scholar said, Speak to us of Talking.
And he answered, saying:
You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.
There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.
The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their naked selves and they would escape.
And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.
And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words.
In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence.
When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market-place, let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.
Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;
For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered.
When the colour is forgotten and the vessel is no more.
Kahlil Gibran, even in his most profound statements, always misses a few things - and those few things are so essential that their absence destroys the whole profundity. It also shows that he is not speaking from experience.
The first thing is he always answers the question as if the question has been asked by an empty sky. A man who knows does not answer the question: he always answers the questioner. But Kahlil Gibran continuously forgets the questioner.
Secondly, he never goes deeper than the heart - and the heart is not your real being. Just as you are surrounded by a thick wall of thoughts called the mind, you are surrounded by a more delicate but still very strong wall - sometimes even stronger than your thoughts - the wall of your feelings, emotions, sentiments. Unless you go beyond both, howsoever beautiful the statement may be, it lacks life, it lacks the truth.
And then a scholar said.
Scholars are the most foolish people in the world because they know nothing, yet they believe they know all. They are the people who are living on borrowed knowledge - rotten knowledge which has been out of date for centuries. Their heads are full, their hearts are empty - and they know nothing of the being.
The only knowledge worth calling knowledge is an experience of your innermost center, the center of the cyclone. The feelings, the sentiments, the emotions, these are all cyclones. Thoughts, howsoever decorated, are nothing but the outer part of the cyclone.
Your being is utterly silent, still. There is no thought, there is no feeling, there is no emotion - but a pure isness. Its very purity is so virgin, what to say of others? - even you have not entered your virgin soul.
The scholar is a collector of all kinds of junk. I have met scholars of almost all religions, I have met philosophers teaching in the universities, but everything they say is only skin-deep; just scratch a little and you will be aware of their darkness, ignorance. Hence they are very, very touchy. That’s why every day I go on receiving summons from people - their feelings are hurt, their religions are hurt. Truth is never hurt, only lies are hurt - because truth can never be exposed. Lies can be exposed any moment.