And the arrangement was so strange – it had never been made before and I don’t think it will ever be made again. The arrangement was such that each of those thirty scholars was to deliver one sentence in his own language to the poor villager from Rajasthan. But the sentence was not to be delivered to him in one piece. The villager would go to one person who would give him the first word of his sentence. Then a bell would be rung. Then the villager would move to the next person, who would give him his first word. In this way he would go round and round. After thirty persons, he would come again to the first person to get the second word of his sentence, and after each word a big bell would ring to confuse him.
The scholars were not certain that they would be able to remember their whole sentence for the whole time, because it was going to take so much time. They all had their sentences written in front of them, and they were marking off each word they had given. And this man went on and on, round and round, taking their words, and accumulating in his memory system the sentences which were given to him in pieces. After all the scholars had given their sentences, he repeated thirty statements in thirty languages, of which he knew nothing. He knew nothing about what they meant. He was so correct that all the intellectuals were puzzled. They could not remember their own sentences, they had had to write them down. They could not remember whether they had given the fifth word or the sixth – they had had to mark it. And this man was uneducated – he could not even write.
Curzon was amazed. He praised the man, and rewarded him. But it was found by talking with his fellow villagers that he was an idiot. Just as far as his memory was concerned, he was simply great – but any simple question in life, any simple situation in life, and he was not able to solve it, he was not able to answer it. They said, “He is known in our village as ‘the great intellectual idiot.’”
It is a well-known fact that a student is interested in collecting knowledge. His questions are easily satisfied. His mind functions like a computer. But once in a while, a student falls into the trap of a master. He is not in search of a master, he does not know any difference between the words master and teacher. In the dictionaries both words mean the same. But in actual life, a teacher simply transfers knowledge from one generation to another generation – it is not his own experience. The master does not transfer knowledge from one generation to another generation; what he gives out is his own realization.
But if the student is caught in the trap of a master, then it is very difficult to get out of it because soon it becomes clear that knowledge and knowing are two different things; questions and quest are two different things. Questions are simply curiosities; quest is a risk, is a pilgrimage, is a search.