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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 11
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Chapter 4: I Goofed Again!

“Well, why don’t you tell him he’s not?” asked the startled customer.

“What?” replied the tailor. “And work in the dark?”

The moment you know you are mad you are no longer mad. That’s the only criterion of sanity. The moment you know you are ignorant you have become wise.

The Oracle at Delphi declared Socrates the most wise man on the earth. A few people rushed to Socrates and they told him, “Be pleased, rejoice: the Oracle at Delphi has declared you the wisest man in the world.”

Socrates said, “That is all nonsense. I know only one thing: that I know nothing.”

The people were puzzled and confused. They went back to the temple, they told the Oracle, “You say that Socrates is the wisest man in the world, but he himself denies it. On the contrary, he says he is utterly ignorant. He says he knows only one thing: that he knows nothing.”

The Oracle laughed and said, “That’s why I have declared him the wisest man in the world, the greatest wise man in the world. That’s why - precisely because he knows that he is ignorant.”

Ignorant people believe they are wise. Insane people believe they are the sanest.

Yes, Prageeta, it happens; it is part of human nature that we go on looking to the outside. We watch everybody except ourselves. Hence we know more about others than about ourselves; we know nothing about ourselves. We are not witnesses to our own functioning of the mind, we are not watchful inside.

You need a hundred-and-eighty-degree turn - that’s what meditation is all about. You have to close your eyes and start watching. In the beginning you will find only darkness and nothing else. And many people become frightened and rush out because outside there is light. Yes, there is light outside but that light is not going to enlighten you, that light is not going to help you at all. You need inner light, a light which has its source in your very being, a light which cannot be extinguished even by death, a light which is eternal. And you have it, the potential is there! You are born with it, but you are keeping it behind you; you never look at it.

And because for centuries, for many lives, you have looked outside, it has become a mechanical habit. Even when you are asleep you are looking at dreams. Dreams mean reflections of the outside. When you close your eyes you again start daydreaming or thinking; that means again you become interested in others. This has become such a chronic habit that there are not even small intervals, small windows into your own being from where you can have a glimpse of who you are.

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