Chapter 9: Hail Great Scholar!
The Upanishads? Why should he read the Upanishads to take the bad taste out of his mouth? The Upanishads are not knowledge: they are statements of pure joy, they are euphoric statements. They are ecstatic ejaculations, assertions of mad mystics. You cannot become knowledgeable by reading the Upanishads. They don’t argue, they don’t prove - they simply declare!
That’s what Lao Tzu does, Buddha does, Plotinus, Eckhart, Rumi, Al-Hillaj - all the mystics have been doing that. What they say is not knowledge: what they say is just an overflowing joy.
When Aristotle says something, it is knowledge. When Plotinus says something, it is not knowledge. You have to make that distinction very clearly. When Jesus says something, it is not knowledge; it is just his ecstasy. It is not that he is saying it - it is said through him. God is speaking through him. He is possessed by God. What he is saying is not knowledge. It is his declaration: “I have come home.” It HAS to be declared. It has to be declared from the housetops. It has to be shouted in the marketplaces. But it is not knowledge! And the difference is very clear.
If you read the Upanishads, you will see it. No argument is proposed, no syllogism, no proof, is given. Simply, the seer says: That art thou - tatvamasi. Finished! He does not give any argument for it. He does not try to explain it. He does not propose a philosophy around it. Such a potential statement, bare, naked.
When the Upanishads were for the first time translated into non-Indian languages, it was a problem for the translators: These people go on asserting without giving any proof - what kind of philosophy is this?” It is not philosophy really. It is religion. And that is the difference between philosophy and religion.
Philosophy proves, argues, proposes, fights, debates: religion declares. Religion says: God is! No proof is given. If you ask a mystic, he will say, “Look into my eyes. Come, hold my hand! Feel it!” But is this an argument? And it is not going to convince the skeptic. He will look into the eyes and will not see anything. It can convince only the trusting. It can convince only the disciple.
Santayana was bored with all the knowledge that the West has produced in these days, and could see perfectly well that “It is because of this knowledge that this world war is happening.” Knowledge creates hate in the world, because it creates separation.
Love is not possible out of knowledge, because love is a diametrically opposite dimension. Hence he is right to say, “I am reading the Upanishads to take the bad taste out of my mouth” - the bad taste of knowledge, the ugly knowledge that has created the ugly war, the murderous knowledge.
I have also heard: when Arthur Schopenhauer for the first time came across a translation of the Upanishads, he danced - actually! With the Upanishads on his head, he danced in his garden.
His students were a little puzzled. They said, “Has he gone mad or something?” And they inquired, “What is happening?”