Chapter 5: The True Knowledge
You have made your mind a stale, borrowed thing - and then you cling to it. As I said, a pond shouts, “Do not take away my water! If the water is gone then I will become empty, there will be nothing left inside me. My wealth is borrowed so nobody should take it away.”
Remember, the wealth which decreases when it is used is always borrowed and false, and the wealth which increases when it is used is true. Wealth which is depleted by sharing is not wealth at all; it is only an accumulation. Only wealth which increases by sharing is really wealth. Hence, the nature of wealth is such that it will increase when it is shared. If it decreases when it is shared, then it is not wealth. And then too, someone who is afraid that his wealth will disappear through sharing must take great care of his wealth. So all borrowed wealth is a problem. Because it is never real, fear arises that it will disappear and so you cling to it more tightly.
You cling tightly to your thoughts. You care for them more than for your life. All this garbage which has accumulated in your mind did not get there just by chance: you have arranged it, you have collected it and you are taking care of it.
So if you think that knowledge arises with the accumulation of thoughts you will never be able to become free from them. How can you become free? It would be like giving water to the roots and then cutting the leaves - it cannot happen.
So the first basic thing that has to be understood is that knowledge and your collection of thoughts are two different things. Thoughts acquired or borrowed from others is not knowledge. Thoughts taken from other sources do not lead a man to truth or to himself. This knowledge is false, it is pseudo-knowledge. It creates an illusion that you have attained to knowledge, but in reality nothing is known, you remain ignorant.
This situation is the same as somebody reading many books about swimming, and learning so much about it that if he had to give a discourse on swimming or write a book about it, he could - but if somebody pushes him into a river it will become obvious that he cannot swim. He has read and learned all about it, he knows all the theory, but in practice he cannot swim.
There was a Mohammedan fakir called Nasruddin. Once, when he was sitting in a boat crossing a river, he and the boatman talked on the way. Nasruddin was considered to be a very knowledgeable person. If knowledgeable people get a chance to prove that somebody else is ignorant, they don’t miss it. Nasruddin asked the boatman, “Do you know how to read?”
The boatman said, “No, I know how to speak. I don’t know anything about reading and writing.”
Nasruddin said, “One-fourth of your life has been lost in futility, because if you don’t know how to read how can you attain to any knowledge in your life? Idiot! How can anybody attain to knowledge without being able to read?” But the boatman started laughing silently..