Reading Source – Osho Book “Tao: The Golden Gate, Vol 1″
Question – Osho, Is knowledge absolutely useless?
Osho – Dharma, Knowledge has its uses, it is not absolutely useless. But if you are going inwards it becomes more and more useless; the deeper you go the more useless it is. If you are going outwards, the farther you go into the world the more useful it becomes. The world respects the knowledgeable person. It needs experts; it needs all kinds of people carrying information, knowledge, expertise. But in the inner world the question does not arise: in the inner world the same knowledge becomes a hindrance. That which is useful in the outside world becomes a barrier to the inner. It is a bridge to the world; it is a barrier to the inner exploration.
Whenever I say anything against knowledge I simply mean that for those who are pilgrims, explorers of their subjectivity, it is utterly useless. There, something else is needed: not knowledge but wisdom. Knowledge is information; wisdom is transformation. Knowledge is borrowed; wisdom is your own. Knowledge is ego-fulfilling; wisdom happens only when the ego is dropped, utterly dropped, totally dropped. Knowledge gives you the feeling that you are higher than others; it is a certain kind of power, just like money. Knowledge is power. So if you have a postgraduate degree you feel better than those who don’t have postgraduate degrees. If you have a Ph.D. you feel a little more egoistic. If you carry a D. Litt. of course you become very special. If you have many degrees, then you start feeling that you are not an ordinary person.
Once in Varanasi a man came to see me; he was known all over the world because he had twenty M.As. He was the only person in the whole world who had twenty postgraduate degrees, but I have never come across such a stupid man. He was utterly stupid, obviously; he had wasted his whole life in acquiring knowledge. And he was moving from one subject to another; his whole effort was to have as many M.As as possible.
When he came to see me he was almost sixty-five years old; he was preparing for still another examination. When he died he had acquired thirty M.A.s. But when I talked to the man he was very childish, very mediocre – no sign of intelligence, but very egoistic. In fact, an intelligent person cannot be egoistic; it is impossible. If your intelligence cannot show you the simple thing that ego is a false phenomenon then you don’t have intelligence at all. But people love to brag about their knowledge. In the inner world humbleness helps, simplicity helps. In the outer world these certificates and degrees are certainly of some use.
A distinguished man enters Harrod’s in London asks for a hippopotamus and insists that the animal should be delivered that same afternoon.
”You see,” he explains, ”I terribly need this animal… if I don’t have it by this afternoon I’ll go crazy!”
Curious, the clerk asks, ”And where should we put it?”
”In my bathtub,” replies the man.
Even more curious, the clerk exclaims, ”You mean, sir, that you want a hippopotamus in your bathtub?”
”Yes! You see, it’s for my wife. Whenever I say something she invariably replies, ’Yes, I know it already.’ And so tonight when she comes to me saying, ’There’s a hippopotamus in the bathtub!’ I will finally be able to reply, ’Yes, I know it already!’”
Dharma, if you want that kind of stupid ego to be fulfilled, knowledge has a use; otherwise it is useless. But the outside knowledge has even corrupted religions. I can understand a scientist acquiring knowledge, because he cannot function without it. Science depends on tradition, remember. Religion does not depend on tradition, although people think just the reverse. They think religion depends on tradition and science is a rebellion against tradition. That is not so, not at all.
Science is traditional. Without Newton there would have been no Edison. Without Edison there would have been no Albert Einstein. That’s what I mean when I say science depends on tradition: it depends on the past, and you have to be well informed about the past, otherwise no work is possible in scientific inquiry. First you have to know whatsoever is known already, only then can you proceed to discover something which is not known. If you don’t know what is already known you may be trying to discover something which has been already discovered and you may come to know it only later on. Then all your effort has been a waste.
But religion is non-traditional. It is rebellion, it is pure rebellion! There is no need for Krishna to be for Buddha to happen; Buddha can happen without Krishna. Christ can happen without Moses, Mohammed can happen without Christ, Ramakrishna can happen without Buddha. Religion is individual; science is collective. Because science is collective it has to depend on knowledge.
Religion is individual; you have to make the whole discovery again. You cannot depend on Buddha, you cannot depend on Christ, you cannot depend on anybody else. You always have to start from abe; you cannot take things for granted. You cannot say, ”This has been discovered by Buddha so what is the need for me to discover it again?” Yes, Columbus discovered America, now there is no need for you to discover it. Even if you go to America you cannot call it your discovery. People have reached the moon; now even if you go to the moon it won’t be of any great value – you won’t be a pioneer. But the same is not true about your inner being.
Your inner being has not been discovered yet. Buddha discovered HIS being; that is not YOUR being. If you believe in him you will remain only knowledgeable, and the knowledgeable person is always false as far as the inner is concerned. And my whole concern is the inner. I am not teaching you chemistry, physics or mathematics here, I am teaching you only one single thing: how to discover yourself. That’s why I condemn knowledge.
A rabbi and a cantor are praying together in the synagogue, beating their breasts and crying, ”O Lord, I am nothing, nothing, nothing!”
The synagogue janitor, hearing them, puts down his broom and joins them, beating his breast and crying, ”O Lord, I am nothing, nothing, nothing!”
The cantor turns to the rabbi and says, ”Look who thinks he’s nothing!”
Just a janitor, just a nobody – and thinking he is nothing? Even to be nothing you have to be somebody special. You see the stupidity of it?
Borrowed knowledge is of no help at all.
A thief and a theologian decided to escape from the prison.
As the thief climbed over the wall, the guard heard some rattling. ”Who’s there?”
”Meow,” said the thief, imitating a cat, and passed safely.
Up came the theologian and again the guard heard some noise. ”Who’s there?”
”It’s nothing,” answered the theologian. ”Just another cat!”
Knowledge is of no help at all in the inner world. You will have to know yourself. Unless you know yourself, all your beliefs will create a burden; they will not help you to be unburdened, they will not help you to be liberated.They will create new bondages, beautiful bondages.
The bride-to-be is taken by her mother to the chicken roost where she is shown the rooster ”doing his work”.
”It is going to be something more or less like that, my dear!” exclaims the mother.
On the wedding night the young husband comes into the bedroom wearing pajamas, and is surprised by the scene he sees: the young bride is lying on the bed naked, with a helmet on her head.
”What is this all about, baby?” he asks.
”You can do whatever you like with me, but you are not going to peck my head!” she answers.
Borrowed knowledge is always going to create that kind of state in you. You can repeat Jesus, you can repeat Krishna, you can repeat Moses, Zarathustra, Lao Tzu, but repetitions won’t help; you have to learn on your own. Yes, imbibe the spirit of the Masters, of the awakened ones, but remember it is not knowledge that is going to help you but wisdom. And wisdom comes when all knowledge has been put aside. Call it knowledge or call it mind, it is the same thing.
Mind is knowledge. When you have put aside all knowledge you have put aside the mind itself; you are in a state of not-knowing. And to be in a state of not-knowing is the most beautiful experience because it is innocence. You will be full of wonder and awe. You will be a child again. This will be a rebirth. Only this rebirth can release the hidden splendor of your being.
You are carrying within you a great light, a great treasure, the very kingdom of God, but you are clinging to borrowed things. Rather than clinging to borrowed things, Dharma, go in and discover your own center. Knowledge keeps you on the circumference. Jump from the circumference. Renouncing knowledge is the greatest renunciation.
I don’t tell you to renounce your money, your house, your family, because they are not the problem. Renounce your knowledge, your mind; that is the real problem, because that is something that is hindering the path. It is blocking your way in reaching your own center. Renounce knowledge and rejoice in the state of not-knowing, and great wisdom will be released in you. The Buddha within you will be awakened. Only that can give you the taste of eternity – not words, not scriptures, not beliefs, not knowledge.