Chapter 1: Catching the First Principle
At an isolated part of the beach of Cannes a beautiful French girl threw herself into the sea. A young man off at a distance noticed it and dashed into the water to save her, but it was too late. He dragged the seminude body ashore and left it on the sand while he went in search of some official. When he returned he was horrified to see a man making love to the corpse.
“Monsieur!” he exclaimed, “that woman is dead!”
“Sacre bleu!” muttered the man, jumping up. “I thought she was a nun.”
To be a monk or to be a nun is to be dead. And there are millions of ways of how to die and not live.
Truth surrounds you. It is in the air, it is in the fragrance of the flowers, it is in the flow of the river, it is in the green leaves, it is in the stars, it is in the dust, it is in you. Only truth is! But you go on avoiding it and you go on asking questions - How to attain to truth? Where is the map? Which way is it? And even if the map is given to you, the map does not help you in any way. In the first place the map cannot be given, because the truth goes on changing. It is not a stagnant phenomenon; it is continuously changing. It is alive, it is breathing. It is never the same; it is never the same for two consecutive moments.
Says old Heraclitus, “You cannot step in the same river twice.” In fact, you cannot even step once; the river is flowing, the river is flowing so fast. And not only is the river flowing, you are flowing. You cannot step in the same river twice: the river changes. You cannot step in the same river twice: because you change.
Truth is dynamic. Truth is not something dead. That’s why it cannot be contained in words. The moment you utter it, it has passed, it has gone beyond, it is no more the same. The moment you say it is so, it is no more so. Words lag behind.
To be with truth there is only one possibility: drop words. Language lags behind. Language is lame. Only silence can go with truth, hand in hand. Only silence can move with truth. Only silence can be so fast, because silence has no weight to carry. Words are loaded; they carry weight. So when you are carrying words, great theologies in your head, great abstractions, then you cannot walk with truth. To walk with truth one has to be weightless. Silence is weightless; it has nothing to carry. Silence has wings. So only in silence is the truth known, and only in silence is the truth transferred, transmitted.
The tyro asked the master:
“Master, what is the first principle?”