Knowledge makes you a carbon copy, and to be a carbon copy is the ugliest thing in the world. That is the greatest calamity that can happen to a man – because knowing not and yet believing that you know, you will remain always ignorant and in darkness. And whatsoever you do is going to be wrong. You may even be able to convince others that you know, you may be able to strengthen your ego, you may become very famous, you may be known as a great scholar, a pundit, but deep down there is nothing but darkness. Deep down you have not yet encountered yourself, you have not yet entered the temple of your being.
The ignorant is in a far better situation. At least he has no pretensions, at least he is not deceiving others and himself. And ignorance has a beauty – the beauty of simplicity, the beauty of uncomplicatedness. To know that “I don’t know” immediately brings a great relief. To know, to experience, one’s utter ignorance fills one with great wonder – existence is transformed into a mystery.
And that’s what godliness is all about. To know the universe as a miracle, as a mystery, as something unbelievable, as something impenetrable – as something before which you can only bow down in deep gratitude, you can only surrender in awe – is the beginning of wisdom.
Socrates is right when he says: “I know only one thing – that I don’t know at all.”
To be wise is not to be knowledgeable. To be wise means to realize something of your consciousness – first within and then without: to feel the pulsation of life within you and then without. To experience this mysterious consciousness that you are, first one has to experience it in the innermost core of one’s being, because that is the closest door to godliness.
Once you have known it within, it is not difficult to know it without. But remember: the wise man never accumulates knowledge – his wisdom is spontaneous. Knowledge always belongs to the past, wisdom belongs to the present. Remember these distinctions. Unless you understand the difference very clearly between knowledge and wisdom, you will not be able to understand these sutras of Gautama the Buddha. And they are tremendously important.
Knowledge comes from the past, from others, from scriptures. And Buddha has said: “My transmission of truth is beyond the scriptures. What I am saying, what I am imparting, what I am communing, is not written anywhere, has not been spoken anywhere – in fact, cannot be spoken at all, cannot be written at all. It is transferred in deep silence between the master and the disciple: it is a love affair.” Wisdom is contagious. It is not taught, remember; you can receive it but it cannot be given to you. You can be open and vulnerable to it, you can be in a state of constant welcoming, and that’s how a disciple sits by the side of the master – ready to drink, ready to allow the master to penetrate his very heart. In the beginning it is painful, because the master’s consciousness penetrates you like a sharp arrow – only then can it reach to your very core. It hurts.