Osho speaks on these lines in the Desiderata: “Hear then the wisdom of the wise…” and “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”
Hear then the wisdom of the wise…
A strange statement. In fact: the wisdom of the wise…? Seems to be tautological. Of course, wisdom can be only of the wise. What is the point of repeating it? Why say “wisdom of the wise”? Can wisdom be of the unwise too? But there is a very subtle point to be understood: because there are so many knowledgeable people in the world and the knowledgeable person appears almost as if he is wise, and he is not. He speaks in the same way. The scholar who has studied the Srimad Bhagavad Gita his whole life speaks the same language as Krishna, but when Krishna speaks it, it is the wisdom of the wise, and when the scholar, the pundit speaks, it is not the wisdom of the wise, it is the wisdom of the unwise. It is mere knowledge; it is not even wisdom. How can it be wisdom?
Remember the distinction between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is a pseudo coin. Knowledge is easy; it can be borrowed from anybody. You can go to the university, to the library, you can ask the knowledgeable people, and you can accumulate it. It is very cheap. You need not go through any transformation, you need not be reborn for it. You will remain as you are, and knowledge can be accumulated. It will be added to you, but it will not be of any value because you will remain the same. In fact, it can even be dangerous. It will deceive others; they will think you know. And if many people think you know, you can fall into a self-deception. You can also start thinking, “How can so many people be wrong? If they think I know, I must know.”
I have heard a story:
A journalist died and reached heaven. St. Peter opened the door and told the journalist, “Please, our quota for journalists is full. We have only twelve journalists in heaven, not more than that. Even those twelve are almost always unemployed, because there is no news. Nothing happens!”
What will happen in heaven? No riot, no rape, no politicians, no toppling of governments, no divorces, no murder. Nothing happens there! George Bernard Shaw has defined news as: If a dog bites a man it is not news, but if a man bites the dog then it is news. Now in heaven who is going to bite the dog and for what? In the first place where will you find a dog in heaven? And to find the person who will bite the dog will be almost impossible. So there is no newspaper there, or maybe just empty sheets distributed early in the morning, and saints sit and look at the empty paper and feel very happy that nothing has happened – good. Nothing is always better than something.
So St. Peter said, “You please go to hell. There are thousands of journalists and hundreds of newspapers, and there is so much news!”
But the journalist was adamant, as journalists tend to be. He said, “No. You give me at least twenty-four hours’ time, please. And if I can convince one journalist to go to hell then one place will be vacant, that you can give to me. Just twenty-four hours’ time, otherwise I will go to hell.”
St. Peter saw the logic of it and he said, “Okay, you can try.”
And the journalist tried. And journalists are experts in lying. Truth is not their business, truth cannot be their business, because truth is so simple and so plain. You cannot make any story out of it; there is nothing much in it. It is simply so. Lies are very complicated and you can make many stories out of them, and you can go on making stones from one story to another. But in the foundation you need a lie, not truth.
The whole art of journalism is the art of lying in such a way that people think it is true. So he was an expert. He started spreading a rumor. The moment he entered he started saying to people, “Have you heard that a new newspaper, a very big project, is being started in hell? The chief editor is needed with a great salary and all facilities. Assistant editors are needed, news reporters are needed.” And he spread so much rumor around in twenty-four hours’ time that when he came back to the door to ask St. Peter, “Has any journalist left for hell?” St. Peter closed the door and said, “You get in! Now you cannot get out. All the twelve have escaped! And we should have at least one journalist in case something some time happens. So now I cannot allow you out.”
The journalist was mad. He said, “This is not right! This is not according to our contract; I had asked only for twenty-four hours. I want to go to hell!”
St. Peter said, “Why? For what? – because you spread the rumor. It was all lying! You invented it!”
He said, “Yes, I invented it – but there must be something in it when twelve journalists have believed it. There must be something in it! It may be a coincidence that I invented it and there really is going to be the beginning of a big newspaper. I cannot stay here! When twelve people have believed it… a great doubt has arisen in me. Maybe it was not a lie at all.”
This you can experience in your own life. Start telling a lie to a few people and when they start believing it you will be surprised that slowly slowly you are believing it too. Hence I say that many people live in lies knowing perfectly well that they are lies, but just because so many people believe… how can so many people be wrong?
Once George Bernard Shaw said something and then he argued against it. He was a beautiful man; in many ways his insights were great. He used to say that science is all wrong. The Earth does not go around the Sun – the Sun goes around the Earth. And he was telling this to a friend.
The friend said, “What nonsense are you talking? What proof have you got? Now science has proved it completely and I cannot believe a man like you – so intelligent, so contemporary – believing in such nonsense, that the Sun goes around the Earth?”
Bernard Shaw said, “Yes, the Sun goes around the Earth. It has to, because Bernard Shaw lives on the Earth! My Earth cannot go around the sun.”
The man said, “But now almost the whole world, so many people, millions of people, believe that the Earth goes around the Sun.”
Bernard Shaw said, “When so many people believe in a thing I always suspect it must be a lie. Otherwise, how can so many people believe in it?”
Truth has always been in the possession of very rare people. Only once in a while is there a person who has truth; otherwise the masses live in lies, all kinds of lies. But if they have been propagated for centuries they become truth.
Adolf Hitler says in his book Mein Kampf that the difference between a truth and a lie is only that of time, nothing else. The truth is a lie which has been propagated for a long time; the lie is a new truth which will become a truth finally if somebody goes on propagating it.
You believe in hell – have you ever thought it is a lie? You believe in heaven – have you ever thought it is a lie? You believe in a thousand and one things without ever giving it a thought that they may be lies, only lies given by others to you. Authoritative people have given them to you so you believe them – your parents, your teachers, your priests, authoritative people, those who have power. Such people cannot lie. In fact, such people always lie! Their whole power depends on lying. Truth is humble, not powerful. Lies become very powerful; very competitive they are. Lies are all politicians struggling, fighting, trying to prove that “I am the truth.”
Knowledge is nothing but lies you have collected from others. Remember, unless something is of your own experience it is a lie. Truth has to be your own authentic experience.
Buddha says, “Don’t believe because I say so; believe only when you know. Don’t believe because it is written in the scriptures; believe it only when you know.”
And I say to you, too, if you are a real seeker of truth you will not believe in knowledge. Knowledge is very superficial. One can talk about God without knowing anything of God, without ever tasting anything of God. One can talk about love without ever knowing through experience what love is. Even a blind man can talk about light and can explain to you the whole physics of light; that does not mean that he is not blind – he is still blind. And these scholars and pundits, ayatollahs, imams, popes, they are all knowledgeable people. They pretend to be wise – they are not wise.
Unless one is fully awakened, unless one’s whole being becomes awareness, unless all darkness, all unconsciousness disappears, you are not wise. Knowledge is information, wisdom is transformation. Hence it is meaningful: Hear then the wisdom of the wise… “not of the knowledgeable.”
“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”
A very significant sutra. This is how the seeker of truth begins his journey. The first thing is: Go placidly… don’t make much fuss. Go peacefully… don’t create much dust. There is no need.
Sufis say, if you really want to pray, pray in such a way that nobody knows that you are a man of prayer. In the middle of the night when even your wife is snoring, sit silently in the bed and pray, and so silently that nobody comes to know. Don’t make a fuss.
The real man of prayer hides and prays, and the pseudo makes much noise about it. In fact, his prayer is nothing but noise; he goes to the temple shouting. In India every temple has a big bell; he rings the bell so the whole neighborhood knows. And if there are many people in the temple, then his prayer becomes very long; if there is nobody he finishes quickly. What is the point? – there is nobody to see. If there is a photographer, then see how prayerful he is, how his face becomes divine! If the news reporters are there then he will really pray. You will see his humbleness, his simplicity. He will fall down on the ground, he will roll on the ground, he will cry and weep – and all are crocodile tears, because when nobody is there he does not care a bit.
I have heard about a man who used to say a prayer every night to God, just one word. He would look at the sky and say, “Ditto!” and cover himself under his blanket and go to sleep. What is the point of repeating the same thing again and again? Isn’t God intelligent enough to understand ditto? Once some time he had prayed; now what is the point of repeating it again and again, the same prayer? And God knows it anyway. Just to remind him that “I am praying,” he says “Ditto.”
Sufis say, pray in such a way that nobody knows. Why? For the simple reason that ego is very cunning. It wants to brag; it wants to brag even about religion, about spirituality, about prayer, about meditation. It wants to brag; it does not matter what it brags about. It will brag about money, it will brag about meditation, it will brag about power, it will brag about prayer. The ego wants to brag: “I am doing something special, something great, something extraordinary. Don’t think that I am nobody – I am somebody!”
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste…
The world is full of noise and haste. Why is the world so full of noise? – because each mind is noisy, and the world consists of minds; hence there is so much noise. The whole world has become almost a madhouse. Everybody is shouting and nobody is hearing. Everybody is talking almost to himself; the other is only an excuse.
One psychologist was observing two of his patients; both were professors of philosophy. And because they were both friends and hat gone mad they were put in a single cell in the madhouse, and the psychologist was watching them. He was very much puzzled. The most puzzling thing was that although they were absolutely insane, about one thing they were very sane: when one was talking the other would remain silent; when the other would start speaking the first would be silent. This is strange – two madmen! Why should they bother whether the other is silent or not, whether he is talking or not? So he enquired.
He said, “I am very much puzzled. Why when one talks does the other become silent?”
They said, “We know how to converse. That’s how we used to do it when we were thought to be sane -it is just old habit.” “It is not really that I am silent,” one man said. “Just on the surface I have to be silent because I know the rules and regulations of conversation. Inside I am chattering, talking, waiting for the right opportunity when this fool stops, waiting for the right moment when he says something which I can use as an excuse and start on what I want to say to him.”
In fact, that’s what you all are doing. Just look at your conversations: when the other is talking you are simply pretending to listen, just pretending to listen. Inside you are working on your own. And then you will find a word, a sentence, a statement that you can use as a jumping-board, and then you start talking. Your talking has nothing to do with what he has said; it has a connection with what was going on inside you, it is a continuum inside you; he is just an excuse.
That’s why people never agree, because they never hear. Husbands never hear what the wife is saying, wives never hear what the husband is saying, children never hear what the parents are saying. Nobody hears! Everybody at the most pretends. The world is full of noise because the world is full of insane minds.
The world can be really silent only when there are many many meditators. Only when the world consists of a great majority of meditators will there be a profound silence, an almost tangible silence. You can touch it, you can taste it, you can smell its perfume.
We are living out of noise and everybody is in a hurry. There is great haste, everybody is rushing. Nobody knows where, nobody knows why – just a deep restlessness. You can’t sit; if you sit, others won’t allow you. They will say, “Don’t just sit there, do something!” And I say to you, “Don’t just do something, sit there!” Nothing is better than something. But people say just the opposite; they say, “Something is better than nothing. Do something!”
One woman was saying to another woman, “I have heard that your son has become a Rajneeshee. He meditates?”
The other woman said, “It’s better than doing nothing.”
Now the poor woman does not know what meditation is. Meditation means doing nothing! That’s what I teach here: doing nothing, just sitting there, just being.
Why is there this hurry? Are you really trying to reach somewhere? Are you conscious about the goal, the target?
One pilot said to the passengers, “All our engines are okay, the plane is functioning perfectly well. There is only one bad piece of news, otherwise everything is good. The bad news is that we have lost contact with the earth so we don’t know where we are and we don’t know where we are going. The good news is that we are going with full speed!”
Everybody is going with full speed; that is the good news. Who cares? Who has time to think about where he is going? When you see the whole world rushing, you start rushing. We force children to run. That’s what our whole educational system is meant for, from the primary school to the university. Twenty-five years we waste on every person – almost one-third of the life to teach him to rush. Then twenty-four hours in his day it is rush hour! He is never anywhere for a single moment. He cannot see the beauty of the trees because he cannot sit underneath the trees – Buddha must have known the beauty of the trees – he cannot see the beauty of the stars, he cannot see the beauty of people. In fact, when he is in Kabul he is rushing to Kathmandu, when he is in Kathmandu he is rushing to Poona, when he is in Poona he is rushing to Goa! He is never where he is; his mind is always ahead of him, planning how to reach there. And if you ask him, “For what?” he will say, “We will enjoy!” And he is not enjoying this moment – how can he enjoy any other moment? He has lost all capacity to enjoy herenow; his only enjoyment is planning, always planning, planning to enjoy.
Osho, Guida Spirituale, Ch 1 Part 2 of 3
Featured image: Listening to the Moon II by Deva Padma – www.embraceart.com