He must have been a tyro, a beginner; otherwise the question is foolish, the question is stupid. Either a stupid person can ask it or a philosopher. The question is meaningless because “first” means the most fundamental. The mind cannot contain it, because it contains the mind! The “first” means the basic; it was before the mind, so how can the mind comprehend it? Mind came out of it, mind is a by-product of it. The child cannot know the father; the father can know child. The reality can know you, but you cannot know the reality. The part cannot know the whole; the whole can know the part. And the part cannot contain the whole. Now the mind is a very tiny part. It cannot contain the vastness of reality. Yes, the person who asked must have been a beginner.
“What is the first principle, master?”
And the master said:
“If I were to tell you, it would become the second principle. “
Then it will be an echo, it will be a reflection, it will be a mirror image.
Do you know who you are? You don’t know, but you know a mirror image. You know your name, you know your address, you know the name of your family, the country, the religion, the political party you belong to. You know your face reflected in the mirror. You don’t know your real face. You have not encountered your original face yet. The Zen masters continuously persist, they go on hammering on the heads of their disciples, “Look into your original face – the face that you had before even your father was born, the face that you will have when you are dead, the face that is yours, originally yours.” All that we know about our face is not really about our face. It is the mask of the body, the mask of the mind. We don’t know who lives in the body. We know truth as secondhand, borrowed.
Whenever something is borrowed it becomes ugly. Only the firsthand experience is beautiful, because it liberates. The secondhand thing is ugly because it becomes a bondage. If you become religious you will be liberated. If you become a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan you will be in a bondage. Mohammed was liberated because for him Islam was a firsthand experience. So was Jesus liberated because for him his experience was his experience – authentically his. Buddha was liberated; he came upon the experience. It was not handed to him by somebody else – it was not borrowed, it was not thought out, it was not a logical syllogism, it was not an inference. It was an experience!
Beware of inference. You have been taught inference to avoid experience. There are people who say, “God exists because if God is not there, who will create the world? God must exist because the world exists.”
Just the other day I was reading a story about a rabbi. Must have been utterly unenlightened. Rabbis are like that – priests. A man came to the rabbi. The man was an atheist, and he said, “I don’t believe in God, and you talk about God. What is the proof?” And the rabbi said, “You come after seven days, and come wearing a new suit.” The man said, “But what does that have to do with my question?” The rabbi said, “It has something to do with it. You just go to the tailor, prepare a new suit, and come after seven days.”