Buddha was a guest in a village. The people there brought a blind man and requested Buddha to explain to him what light was, for this man refused to believe there was anything like light. He would only concede to its existence if he could touch it with his own hands. A blind man’s knowledge of life is through the sense of touch. For him, for anything to exist, it should be felt by touch. And he is not wrong. That is the only way he knows; touch is the only proof of being. What he cannot feel, does not exist. The blind man laughed at their chagrin. “You cannot bring light, why do you then indulge in useless talk? There is no light,” he said.
His friends had brought him to Buddha in the hope that he may be able to convince him. His demand was plain: “If your light exists I must be able to feel it, I must be able to taste it, hear it. And if it has any fragrance, I should be able to smell it.” But all this is impossible with light – it can only be seen. Then the blind man asks: “What is this seeing?” If he knew what it was to see, he would not be blind – and so he merely scoffs at others; and blames them for their mean tricks to prove him sightless. “I cannot see light, nor can you – for there is no such thing as light,” he asserts.
Buddha said: “It is futile to explain to him and I shall not commit that folly. What this man needs is a doctor and not a philosopher. He needs treatment for his eyes and not sermons for his soul. Get his eyes treated that he may see; then he will know. A thousand buddhas will not be able to convince him.”
The man was taken to an eye specialist and was cured within six months. When Buddha passed that way again, the man went to him. “Light is,” he said, and fell at Buddha’s feet.
“Where is it?” Buddha asked, “I want to touch it.”
“It cannot be known by touch or taste.”
“Let me smell it,” Buddha insisted.
“Please do not laugh at me Sire! The past is over. Now I can see that it is.”
“Why did you not believe your friends when they told you?” asked Buddha.
“The fault was not mine,” said the man, “for how can a blind man understand light? And if I had taken their word for granted, I should still have been a blind man, and then I should never have known.”
Truth is to be known; it cannot be supposed. It can neither be inculcated nor communicated. There is no “learning” of truth. Therefore there are no schools where truth is taught and people can learn. But there is a remedy – the eyes can be treated. How? We shall discuss this tomorrow in the third rule.
For the present, in the course of the second rule, it is necessary to know that truth can be known, but this knowing comes always from within. What we call knowledge always comes from outside, whereas “knowing” always comes from within. We can obtain the knowledge of light from books but not the “knowing” of light; that has to come from within. Thus there is a difference between knowledge and knowing. Knowledge makes a man learned but not wise. Wisdom comes only by knowing – knowing oneself.