Chapter 18: In the Silences, the Semicolons and the Full Stops.
From firdaus comes the English word paradise. They have forgotten about the hunting completely, they have only remembered the walled, beautiful gardens of the kings. But the purpose was hunting; the garden was secondary. But that has been forgotten in English completely; otherwise it will be very difficult to describe paradise. A walled garden it can be described as - but who is the hunter there? And who is to be hunted?
Perhaps God is hunting the saints? I don’t see any other kind of animals there except the saints; they are the only animals allowed there. If it is a hunting place then saints must be really suffering, in tremendous misery: their whole life they suffered to enter into paradise - and now this is the paradise!
You cannot get out of it, it is a walled garden. Out side is desert and death; inside you may try to hide, you may survive - not all animals are going to die. But thinking of yourself as a hunted animal will take all the air out of the balloon of the Christian paradise. It is all hot air.
Very foolishly they have chosen the word paradise. But ninety-nine percent of those people were scholars only trained in words, knowing nothing of reality, knowing nothing of themselves, knowing nothing of enlightenment. They were blind people, utterly blind. They had never seen light, and they were talking about light. Naturally they can be forgiven; they are foolish, but forgivable.
The one percent knew perfectly well what they were talking about; their trouble was even bigger than that of the scholars. Scholars were at ease describing things that they didn’t know. There was no problem for them because there was no contradiction in their minds; they were clear. Hence the word mystic: it comes from the scholars, theologians, philosophers; they are saying that this man talks in such a way that you can’t make any sense of it. The mystic is one who talks nonsense.
But the mystic is really in trouble. He knows the truth, but he does not know any corresponding word for it, so he is compelled to use words which have been used by others. So he also calls it “coming home.”
But the true mystic will immediately recognize that what he is saying is not right. In fact, he will not lose a single moment in saying it, that “whatever I say, don’t start believing it word for word. Try to read between the words, between the lines: the silences, the semi-colons, the full stops - read there. Drop words as much as you can and create gaps.”
There is a Sufi book, at least seven hundred years old; it is simply called The Book. It is an empty book, nothing is written in it. It has been given from generation to generation of mystics, with great reverence; from the master to the disciple: “This is our message. I have read it my whole life, now you read it. I will go, you will go, but the readings should continue. The book should be preserved.”