And the child said, “I am going to the temple. My mother has told me to put this lamp there because the temple is dark. And this has been my mother’s habit: to always put a lamp there in the night so at least the god of the temple does not have to live in darkness.”
Hassan asked the child, “You seem to be very intelligent. Can you tell me one thing – did you light this lamp yourself?”
The child said, “Yes.”
Then Hassan said, “A third question, the last question I want to ask you: if you lit the lamp yourself, can you tell me where the flame came from? You must have seen it coming from somewhere.”
The child laughed and he said, “I will do one thing – just see!” And he blew the flame out and he said, “The flame has gone just in front of you. Can you tell me where it has gone? You must have seen!”
And Hassan was utterly dumb; he could not answer. The child had shown him that his question, although it looked very relevant, meaningful, was absurd. He bowed down to the child, touched his feet.
He said to the inquirer, “That child was my first master. That very moment I realized all my metaphysics, all my philosophy was meaningless. I didn’t know a thing on my own. I didn’t even know from where the light comes into a lamp, where it goes to when the light has been put out – and I have been talking about who made the world, how he made the world, when he made the world! For that moment I have always remembered the child. He may have forgotten me, he may not even recognize me, but I cannot forget that incident.”
“And since then thousands of people have taught me. I have avoided the question again and again because there is not a single person I can call my master. Many have been my masters, I have learned from many sources, and from each source I have learned one thing: that unless you know through your own experience, all knowledge is futile.”
“Then I dropped all my learning, all my knowing; all my scriptures I burned. I dropped the idea of being a scholar, I forgot all my fame. I started moving like a beggar, absolutely unknown to anybody. And slowly slowly, going deeper into meditation, I discovered my own intelligence.”
Even though the society destroys your intelligence it cannot destroy it totally; it only covers it with many layers of information.
And that’s the whole function of meditation: to take you deeper into yourself. It is a method of digging into your own being to the point when you come to the living waters of your own intelligence, when you discover the springs of your own intelligence. When you have discovered your child again, when you are reborn, then, only then will you understand what I have been meaning by emphasizing again and again that children are really intelligent.
But start watching children, their responses – not their answers but their responses. Don’t ask them foolish questions, ask them something immediate which does not depend on information and see their response.