The first thing to understand is not to take life as a question. Once you take it as a question you will be in trouble; you will have already moved on a wrong path – it will be a cul-de-sac. Somewhere, in some theory, you will be stuck. Everybody is stuck somewhere in a theory, and then it is very difficult to drop the theory. You cling to it because the question scares you. At least a theory is some consolation, at least you feel that you know. You don’t know! Mind cannot know, mind can only theorize. It can go on spinning words faster and faster; it can play with words, arrange them, but they are all interpretations – not the real, just your interpretation of it.
It is just like a map. You see the map of India? You can go on carrying that map with you, you can go on thinking that you are carrying India in your pocket, but the map is not the country. You can have a theory about a rose, about what a rose is. You can even have a photograph of a rose, but that photograph is just a photograph, it carries nothing of the living phenomenon that a rose is.
Look at a child – he is still without a mind. He opens his eyes and just looks at the world. Bring a rose to him. He does not know the name, he cannot label it, he cannot categorize it, he cannot say what it is. Still the rose is there – the colors flood the child, the beauty of the rose surrounds him, the fragrance reaches to his very heart. He does not know what it is but he passes through a living moment. You tell the child, “This is a rose,” and the experience will never again be the same; never again will the child be able to experience the mystery of the rose. Now, whenever a rose comes before him he will say, “This is a rose.” Now he will carry the word. You have made him poor – and he was very rich. The whole rose was there, and he could only live it; there was no other way to describe it, to define it.
A rose is a rose is a rose. You cannot say what it is, this or that. The child was silent, there was no functioning of the mind; the mind was not there, there was no barrier. The heart of the rose melted into the heart of the child, the heart of the child melted into the heart of the rose. The child could not even say where he ended and the rose began, where the rose ended and he began – there were no boundaries. They became one in that moment of awe. For a single moment they were not two – oneness happened.
But you have told him: “This is a rose.” Now the experience will never be there again. The moment the rose is there, immediately the mind will say, “This is a rose.” The mystery is lost; now there is an answer, now the child knows. What absurdity! Now you will say the child is growing in knowledge, but just the opposite is the case. Before you told him what was what, he knew; but he knew with his totality. It was not knowledge, it was experiencing. But then you thought he was ignorant. Now you think he knows because he carries a word in his mind.
The word rose is not rose, the word God is not God, the word love is not love. But we go on accumulating these words. And then there are clever minds who arrange these words into interpretations, theories and arguments. And the more argumentative, the more theoretical you become, the further you move from the rose. Then even echoes become impossible: nothing comes to you, you never go to anything – you simply live in the mind, arranging words.
I have heard an anecdote: