Chapter 1: Just an Empty Passage
Hence I can understand Ko Hsuan contemplating ten thousand times whether to write it or not. But finally he decided to write and I think he did the right thing. One should never be afraid of darkness. Light, howsoever small, is far more powerful than darkness howsoever big, howsoever old. In fact, darkness has no power, light has power.
These words are powerful words. And the way mystics speak the truth, it is almost beyond the scholars; they really cannot destroy its beauty. In fact, they cannot even touch its truth; it is impossible for them for the simple reason that the mystics speak in a paradoxical language, they don’t speak logically. Hence they are beyond the grasp of the scholars. The scholars can only see contradictions in them because the scholar functions through logic and all the mystic expressions are paradoxical - illogical or supra-logical. And particularly Taoist sayings are superb in that way - nobody has been able to transcend their paradoxes. Even in this small treatise you will come across paradoxes almost in every sentence, in every utterance.
That, too, has to be understood. Why do mystics speak in paradoxes? To remain unavailable to the scholars. The paradox can be understood only by a meditator; it can never be understood by a person who lives in the head, in the mind. Unless you have tasted something of the no-mind, you cannot understand a paradox. That is a safeguard, that is an inbuilt safeguard: speak paradoxically, speak as if you are almost mad.
Once a journalist came to see George Gurdjieff. He was drinking his morning tea. He always avoided journalists because they are the most stupid people around, and his way of avoiding them was unique. He asked the woman disciple who was pouring tea for him, as the journalist sat by his side, “What day is it today?”
And the woman said, “Today is Saturday.”
And Gurdjieff became so angry that he went into a rage and threw the cup on the floor. The cup was shattered into thousands of pieces. The journalist became very much afraid.because it was Saturday.
And Gurdjieff said, “You always go on talking nonsense to me! Just the other day you were telling me that it was Friday and now today it is Saturday? How can it be? How can Saturday come after Friday?”
The journalist thought this man was mad. He simply escaped without even saying good-bye, and Gurdjieff had a good laugh. The woman was very much shocked. She was new; she did not know that this was his way of avoiding wrong people. She said, “But why did you become so angry?”
He said, “You will understand if you remain here a little longer. Now this man will never come back; for his whole life I have put him off. And he will go and spread rumors about me to his professional colleagues, so not only has he been thrown out, many more who may have bothered me will never come here.”
He was thought to be a madman, utterly mad.