In fact, no scientist who has been working with trees knows, although he can show that it is because of a certain element, chlorophyll, that trees are green. But that is not the answer for the child. He will simply ask, “Why have they chosen chlorophyll – all the trees?” It is not a satisfactory answer.
D.H. Lawrence closed his eyes, waited for a moment in silence…what to say to this child? He did not want to be a deceiving person to an innocent child – although the question is ordinary, any answer would do. But the question has come from innocence; hence it is very profound.
And D. H. Lawrence opened his eyes, looked at the trees and said to the child, “The trees are green because they are green.”
The child said, “Right. I was also thinking that.”
But D.H. Lawrence remembered it in his memoirs: “To me it was a great experience – the love and the trust the child showed towards me because of sheer sincerity. My answer was not an answer; according to logicians, it was a tautology. ‘The trees are green because they are green’ – is this an answer?”
In fact, D.H. Lawrence is accepting that: “My child, I am as much ignorant as you are. Just because there is a difference of age does not mean that I know and you do not know.” The difference of age is not the difference between ignorance and knowledge.
The trees being green is part of the mystery of the whole existence.
Things are what they are. A woman is a woman, a man is a man. A rose is a rose; call it by any name, it still remains the rose.
That morning, in that small incident, something tremendously beautiful is hidden.
Ask questions – not out of knowledge, because all that knowledge is borrowed, unfounded, pure rubbish. But ask out of your ignorance. Remember, the ignorance is yours – be proud of it. The knowledge is not yours. How can you be proud of it?
And the question is not to cover the ignorance. The question is to bring some light, so that the ignorance, the darkness, disappears.
I cannot give you any better answer than D.H. Lawrence, but I can give you something else which Lawrence has no insight about. I can give you a space, a silence in which you can realize the mystery on your own.
You ask the question, whatever the question is. Just remember, don’t ask out of knowledge; ask out of your own authentic ignorance.
And my answers are not answers, in fact. My answers are killers – they simply kill the question, they take away the question, they don’t give you any answer to hold on to.
And that is the difference between a teacher and a master: the teacher gives you answers so that you can hold those answers and remain ignorant – on the surface beautifully decorated, libraries full of answers, but underneath, below the surface, an abysmal ignorance.