Aldous Huxley had a very great library, his whole life’s efforts. He had collected many rare books. And one day it caught fire. The whole library burned; his many valuable manuscripts were burned, many valuable art pieces, statues, paintings. He had really been a great seeker of beautiful things; they were all burned down to zero. He was standing in front of the fire, and nothing could be done.
Somebody asked him, “You must be feeling very, very sad.”
He said, “I am surprised at what I am feeling. I myself am surprised. I am simply feeling very clean, as if the whole burden is gone. I have never felt so clean and unburdened. I am surprised myself because I was thinking I would feel sorry, I would feel tremendously miserable – for years I would not be able to forget my library and all these things I have collected – but suddenly, seeing everything going into flames, I am feeling very unburdened, weightless, clean.”
When you throw your beliefs to the fire, you will feel very clean. It is just a burden. It is not yours, it cannot help.
We know what is right but we do what is wrong. We know anger is bad and we go on being angry again and again. We know what should be done but we never do it – we do just the opposite. What type of knowledge is this? We know where the door is and we always go on trying to get out through the wall. We stumble and we are knocked down, and we hurt our own being, but again and again we try to get out through the wall. We say we know the door; is it possible that you know the door and still you try to get out through the wall, and you get hurt and hit on the head? It is not possible. You have simply heard about the door. That door exists only in your fantasy, not in reality.
You always behave according to whatsoever you know. That’s why Socrates’ famous dictum: Knowledge is virtue – but it is not your knowledge. He says, “Once one knows something is right, one does it. There is no other way.”
When you know two plus two is four, you cannot make it five, can you? Try one day – just sit, write two plus two, and then try to write five. It will be impossible. Even if you write it you will laugh; you are joking, befooling. Once you know two plus two is four, there is no way to forget it. The basic thing is to have known it, and the knowledge should be your experience. Otherwise you can always find rationalizations.
I have heard a small anecdote.
A small town chorus girl had theatrical ambitions. Her parents finally agreed to allow her to try New York City, but on two conditions: first, no men were allowed in her apartment and second, she had to call home at least once a week. “Remember,” said her mother, “I will worry about you, so please don’t forget to call.”
Armed with a letter of introduction, she went to see an agent. He agreed to help her and started squiring her about town. At the end of the week she called home. It was late and mama was perturbed.