Are we moving into the Socratic dialogue form of discourses now?
But I detect an essential difference. Socrates said: “Know thyself.” You have said: “Let go thyself!”
The subject of Socratic dialogue is something special to be discussed. His use of the word dialogue was very original; he means by it that truth can be discovered by discussing in a friendly way, respectful towards each other.
This way of finding the truth is bound to be only rational. That’s why Socrates cannot be counted as having reached the same heights as Gautam Buddha because at the ultimate peak of experience there is no dialogue, but only monologue. You are alone. There is nobody to whom you can say something and there is nothing which can be said. And the moment the other disappears, you also disappear because the existence of “I” and “thou” is together; you cannot separate them, they exist as two sides of one coin.
I don’t agree with Socrates. His words are beautiful when he says, “Know thyself.” But Gurdjieff is far more important, because he says, “First be thyself; otherwise what are you going to know? First become an integrated individual, discover your freedom. In that very discovery you will find your being.”
The words of Socrates have been respected for twenty-five centuries, but they have many flaws. First, the moment you enter into the world of your being there is nobody; hence no possibility of dialogue. And if you think there is a possibility of dialogue between two enlightened people, you are wrong. The moment two enlightened people have ever come across each other, looked into each other’s eyes, the dialogue is finished, because they know that there is nothing to say.
I have told you the incident of Kabir and Farid. Their meeting is immensely important. For two days they were together, and not a single word was uttered between them. They laughed, they hugged, they smiled, they kissed each other, but they did not say a single word.
Hundreds of disciples of Kabir and Farid were present, and they could not believe their eyes what has happened to these people? They are so wise, and they are behaving like small children! And they had gathered from faraway places just to hear the dialogue between these two enlightened persons, but the dialogue did not happen.
After two days, when Farid had left on his pilgrimage, Kabir was asked, “What happened to you? You speak to us every day, but for these two days, when we were so expectant and so ready to listen, so alert not to miss a single word that passed between you two…what happened to you? Why did you become so silent?”
Kabir said, “Whatever I know, he knows. And whoever uttered the first word would have proved that he is still on the way, he has not reached.”
Gautam Buddha and Mahavira were contemporaries; they traveled for almost forty years continuously in the same province of Bihar. The name of the province Bihar comes from their traveling, bihar means “traveling.”