Such statements should be heard in total silence. Such statements should not be heard as one may hear a song. The quality of hearing has to be very different, only then might these statements enter within you. These statements cannot be heard the way one hears things passing by on a road.
That is why for thousands of years the seers in India were insistent that the supreme knowledge should not be written down. Their insistence was valuable. But it was not possible to carry this out forever, it had to be written down. But the insistence in not writing down the supreme knowledge persisted for thousands of years. Many people, particularly the linguists, think that because there was no script, no means for writing things down, that is why the Vedas and Upanishads were not written down for so long. But their thinking is wrong…because it seems impossible that the people who could attain to an experience of the caliber of Tattvamasi, those who could make such supreme statements their living experience, were incapable of devising the art of writing.
That the people whose genius could touch such lofty peaks of experience were not able to devise such an ordinary thing as the art of writing does not feel right. The art of writing was there, but they were not willing to use it. Why? – because if such supreme statements were written down, anybody could have read them under any inappropriate conditions. And by reading them, the person could have formed the illusion of having understood them – because someone can also read these statements without having the certain kind of mental state which is necessary for reading or hearing them.
Where is the difficulty in reading ‘That art thou’? Even a grade-one student can read it. And having read it, he will fall into the illusion of having understood it: “Okay, I am also that. This is what the sentence means, and that is that.” Then he memorizes it, and he goes on repeating it for his whole life – and the whole thing is missed. The whole purpose of the statement is missed, the essential point is lost.
These statements deserve to be listened to only in a certain state of mind, with a certain quality of mind, in a certain milieu. Then only do they penetrate your being. There is danger in hearing it just anytime, anywhere. The dangers are two: one, that it will get memorized and one will feel one has known it. And the second danger is that due to this false sense of knowing, one will perhaps never make an effort to create that state of mind in which it should have been listened to.
There is a season, a special time, and a suitable, auspicious moment for sowing any seeds. And this is an extraordinary seed – it cannot be just thrown about anywhere. This is why the master used to whisper it in the disciple’s ear. Try to understand this.