Chapter 11: The Suchness of Things
But the unknowable is qualitatively different. The unknowable is that which has never been known and will never be known; unknowability is its intrinsic nature.
This is the most profound truth, that life in its totality, in its organic wholeness is absolutely a mystery. It is not a problem that can be solved, it is not a question that can be answered. No amount of knowledge is going to demystify it. It will remain mysterious. Mysteriousness is not something accidental to it. You cannot take it away from it; it is its very soul. And whatsoever we know is just superficial, very superficial. Whatsoever we know is only befooling ourselves.
D.H.Lawrence, one of the mystic poets of this age, and a man I love and respect very much, was walking in a garden with a small child. The child asked him - and only a child can ask such a tremendously significant question.. The knowledgeable people always ask foolish questions because they ask out of their knowledge. In fact, they have already got the answer and they are asking just to see whether you have also got the answer or not. They are searching for an argument to prove their knowledge. Their question is not authentic, is not true. Any question arising out of your knowledge is pseudo.
But when small children ask something they mean it; it is not out of knowledge, it is out of innocence, out of a state of not knowing. Whenever there is a question out of not knowing it has immense beauty, splendor.
The child asked D.H.Lawrence, “Can you tell me one thing: why are the trees green? Why not red? Why not blue? Why not black? Why not this, why not that? Why are they green and always green?”
A man of knowledge would have answered very easily. He would have told the child the chemistry of the trees, the biology of the trees. He may have told the child about chlorophyll: “Why are the trees green? - it is because of the presence of chlorophyll.”
But D.H.Lawrence remained silent; he closed his eyes.
The child was puzzled - such a great man, world famous, author of many books, who could not answer such a small question? The child nudged him and said, “Why have you closed your eyes? Either you know or you don’t know! What are you doing with closed eyes? If you know, say it; if you don’t know, say so.”
D.H.Lawrence said, “The trees are green because they are green.”
And the child said, “That’s right!” He was absolutely satisfied, contented. He said, “That’s right - trees are green because they are green!”
But only a child can ask such a question, and only a child can receive such an answer. What Lawrence is saying is exactly what Lao Tzu is saying. To say that trees are green because they are green, is to accept the ultimate mystery, that nothing can be said. It is so.