A wise man is afire


Q: Osho, I have got all the degrees that a university can offer. Why am I still ignorant?

Osho black hat

Dr. Pritam Singh, knowledge has no capacity to dispel ignorance. Knowledge is a false phenomenon; it is not wisdom at all, it is just the opposite of wisdom.

Knowledge is borrowed, wisdom is the flowering of your innermost being. You can borrow a plastic flower, but if you want real roses then you will have to grow them in your innermost being. No university can offer it, no scripture can offer it, no scholarship is capable of doing it. They are all impotent efforts, but they have been deceiving millions of people for thousands of years. Yes, they can make you knowledgeable. To be knowledgeable is one thing, and to know is totally different.

A blind man can be knowledgeable about light, but he knows nothing of light, he has not experienced it. He can collect all kinds of information about light, he can argue, philosophize, systematize, he can write great treatises on light, but he has not tasted the joy of light, he has not seen even a single ray of light. He has not seen a rainbow, the colors of the flowers, the wings of a butterfly. He has not seen the green trees, he has not seen the stars, the sun, the moon. He has missed all that. And what he has accumulated is simply rubbish.

It is better to be ignorant and have eyes than to be very knowledgeable about light and be blind.

But the universities exist specifically for that purpose. No society wants you to become wise: it is against the investment of all societies. If people are wise they cannot be exploited. If they are intelligent they cannot be subjugated, they cannot be forced into a mechanical life, to live like robots. They will assert themselves – they will assert their individuality. They will have the fragrance of rebellion around them; they will want to live in freedom.

Freedom comes with wisdom, intrinsically. They are inseparable, and no society wants people to be free. The communist society, the fascist society, the capitalist society, the Hindu, the Mohammedan, the Christian – no society likes people to use their own intelligence because the moment they start using their intelligence they become dangerous – dangerous to the establishment, dangerous to the people who are in power, dangerous to the “haves”; dangerous to all kinds of oppression, exploitation, suppression; dangerous to the churches, dangerous to the states, dangerous to the nations.

In fact, a wise man is afire, alive, aflame. He would like rather to die than to be enslaved. Death will not matter much to him, but he cannot sell his life to all kinds of stupidities, to all kinds of stupid people. He cannot serve them. Hence, the societies down the ages have been supplying you with false knowing. That’s the very function of your schools, colleges, universities.

They don’t serve you, remember, they serve the past, they serve the vested interests. Of course, they go on puffing your ego up bigger and bigger, they go on giving you more and more degrees. Your name becomes longer and longer, but only the name – you go on becoming shorter and shorter. A point comes where there are only certificates and the man has disappeared. First the man carries the certificates, then the certificates carry the man. The man is long dead.

Dr. Pritam Singh, it is not possible to become wise through the universities. Wisdom needs a totally different approach, a diametrically opposite approach. Knowledge is of the mind, wisdom is a state of no-mind. Knowledge creates the bottle around the goose – a beautiful bottle, very beautifully painted, but it is just a bottle.

And inside there cannot be a real live goose. Inside a bottle either you can have a stuffed goose – that’s what your scholars are, stuffed tomatoes, potatoes, but all stuffed, stuffed with junk – or you can have a painted goose inside. It will look beautiful from the outside, but in fact you are carrying only a bottle.

And the bottle becomes heavier, because knowledge has its own way of accumulating – it goes on reproducing itself. Knowledge does not believe in birth control at all. If you know one thing, it will drive you into another thing, because with each question answered ten new questions arise. Again the same will happen: ten questions answered and you have a hundred questions ready for you. It goes on spreading. It becomes bigger and bigger and you are lost in it.

You ask me: “Why am I still ignorant?”

This is why you are ignorant: you have not yet come out of the illusion of knowledge, the illusion of the mind.

Get out of the mind. The mind is the bottle I am talking about. The moment you drop the mind… and mind is only your idea; it is not a reality, it is fictitious, it is just a fantasy. It is made of the same stuff that dreams are made of. You can simply step out of it.

And this is the moment, Dr. Pritam Singh, because this is a great insight, in fact, to recognize: “Why am I still ignorant when I am carrying all the degrees of the university?” Accept the fact that all those years of acquiring knowledge have been a sheer wastage. Get out of it! And the moment you are out of the mind, you are out of the bottle. See?… the goose is out! And the whole freedom of the sky, and the whole freedom of insightfulness….

Just the other day I was reading:

What does a degree mean?

I have four: B.A, M.A., Ph.D., and LL.D.
Put them all together and what have you got? – BAMAPHDLLD!

A young man at college names Breeze,
weighed down by M.A.S and LL.D.S
collapsed from the strain
said his doctor, “T’is plain
you are killing yourself by degrees!”


A very agitated professor, a father-to-be, desperate for a son, was pacing up and down in the waiting room at the maternity hospital. Eventually the midwife came out of the delivery room and said to him, “It’s all over, Dr. Jones. Congratulations!”

Still in a state of total panic he replied, “Am I a father or a mother?”

That’s what it means: BAMAPHDLLD

A professor-couple living in the country, received an invitation from the local squire to a fancy-dress party. They decided to go as a cow, with the husband at the front and the wife at the back.

The party was to be held in the squire’s mansion, which was only across a couple of fields, so they thought they might as well walk across in costume.

They had only got half-way across the first field when the husband – in the front – said to his wife, “Don’t panic, darling, but there’s a bull looking at us.”

 So they kept walking and the bull kept looking. Then the bull started pawing the ground and making his way towards them in a meaningful manner.

“He’s charging us, darling, he’s charging!” said the husband.

“What are we going to do?” yelled the wife.

So the husband said, “I am going to bend down and eat grass – you had better brace yourself!”


It was the young British professor’s first visit to the United States, and in his innocence he sought lodging in the city’s red-light district. His money, however, was as green as his outlook, and the madam gladly offered him a room for the night.

When a friend questioned him about his accommodation over lunch the following day, the young Briton replied, “Well, the room was very pretentious, you know, but Gad, what maid service!”

The so-called learned, the scholarly, the knowledgeable go on living in a world of their own fictions. They have no concern for reality at all – they are disconnected from the real. And it is the real which can make your life a joy, a bliss.

The word “God” is not God, the word “love” is not love either. So the poor people who go on thinking about the word “God” or the word “love” are simply missing a great opportunity. They may have known what God is, they may have become acquainted with the mysteries of love, but the word is hiding the truth; the word is covering their eyes. The eyes of all knowledgeable people are so covered with theories, theologies, dogmas, creeds, that they cannot see. They are not transparent. And wisdom is a transparency, a vision unclouded – unclouded by all thoughts, unclouded by all dust.

One has to cleanse oneself every moment, because dust tends to gather on the mirror every moment. It is a natural process. While you are sitting here, the mirror in your bathroom is gathering dust. Even in the night when nothing is happening – even the doors of the bathroom and the windows are closed – still some dust is gathering, settling on the mirror, because dust particles are there in the air itself. Every day in the morning you have to clean the mirror.

One has to be even more alert about the inner mind, the inner mirror, the inner capacity of reflection. Each moment you have to clean the dust. I prefer to put it in this way: Each moment a sannyasin has to die to the past and be born anew. Then he remains transparent, then his mirror remains clear. Then there is nothing to obstruct his perspective. Then he is neither a Christian nor a Hindu, nor a Mohammedan, nor a Buddhist. Then he is simply a mirror, just a mirror, a mirroring – mirroring all that is, within and without. Out of that mirroring, wisdom is born.

Wisdom is the flowering of your transparency, of your translucency, of your luminous being. That’s what we are doing here. In fact, the function of the Master is to undo what the society has done to you. It is an anti-university, an anti-school, an anti-college, because it is not here to impart knowledge to you but to impart something totally different, something of a different dimension. It is here to create a triggering process in you so that you can get out of your so-called scriptures, words, theories, and you can become just ordinary. You can just become whatsoever you are without any pretensions.

I exalt the ordinariness of consciousness. I am not teaching you the superman here. Friedrich Nietzsche went mad simply because of the idea of the superman. And in India also, Sri Aurobindo, his whole life, was feeding the Indian ego with the idea of the superman, of the supermind, of the supernatural.

All this esoteric nonsense has become such a heavy burden on man that it has to be totally burnt – less than that won’t do. A fire is needed so that all that can be burnt can be burnt, and only that which remains will be your true self.

I am not esoteric, I am not occult, I am not teaching you the other world, I am not teaching you the supernatural, the superman. I am simply exalting the very ordinariness of every human being, the very ordinariness, not only of human beings, but of animals, of trees, of rivers, and rocks – this very ordinariness of godliness. To me, godliness and ordinariness are equivalent, synonymous.

If I have to choose I will drop the word “God,” because it has become really goddamned. Just pure ordinariness… and to live it moment-to-moment, joyously, dancingly, celebratingly. Then wisdom blooms. Then the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

Osho, The Goose is Out, Ch 6, Q 1

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