Osho on Innocence and Ignorance

Question – Osho, could you say something about innocence and ignorance?

Osho – Chitprem, The difference between the two is immense; it is as vast as possible. It is the difference between darkness and light, the difference between death and life, the difference between unconsciousness and consciousness, the difference between hell and heaven.

Ignorance is darkness. It is a state of total negativity; it is a state of knowledge – the lowest state of knowledge, the zero state of knowledge. But it is not different from the knowledgeable mind; they belong to the same category. The ignorant person and the knowledgeable person, they are not qualitatively different, only quantitatively different. The difference is that of degrees: the knowledgeable person knows more, the ignorant person knows less. And you can be knowledgeable in comparison to one person and ignorant in comparison to another. Hence it is a question of relativity. Even the most ignorant person may be knowledgeable in comparison to somebody else, or even the most knowledgeable person may be ignorant except his own expertise. The mathematician is ignorant as far as physics is concerned, the physicist is ignorant as far as chemistry is concerned, the chemist is ignorant as far as mathematics is concerned and so on, so forth. All experts are knowledgeable only in one direction and in all other directions they are utterly ignorant.

That’s why a very strange phenomenon is well known that the people who are very logical, very argumentative, rational in their particular field prove to be very gullible in other fields. You may find a great scientist believing in Satya Sai Baba. It looks absurd, but it is not so absurd. Deep down that great scientist knows nothing of religion. He is as ignorant or even more ignorant than an ordinary person. The ordinary person knows much more about religion than the great scientist. The great scientist has poured his whole energy into one concentrated field, excluding everything else.

You can deceive a scientist very easily; it will not be so easy to deceive a farmer. The farmer is not a great logician but he knows many things. He is not an expert in any specialized field, but his general knowledge is far more bigger, vaster than the expert. Many great scientists fall victim of all kinds of superstitions.

I have heard the story of a Nobel prize winner scientist. He was hanging behind his chair in his study a horseshoe. Another scientist had come to visit him; he could not believe his eyes, because it is believed by the ignorant masses that keeping a horseshoe hanging in your room is very good. It protects you; it is a kind of supernatural protection. The visiting friend asked the scientist, ”I cannot believe my eyes! That you are a Nobel prize-winner scientist… Do you still believe in this nonsense, in this superstition that a horseshoe is protective?”

The Nobel laureate laughed. He said, ”No, not at all – this is all nonsense. I never believe in such stupidity!”
The friend was even more puzzled. ”Then why you are hanging this ugly horseshoe behind your chair?”
The scientist said, ”But the person who has given it to me said whether you believe in it or not, it protects you all the same!”

It is defined that science is an effort to know more and more about less and less. That’s exactly what specialization is. If you follow this logic, then the ultimate science will be to know all about nothing; that will be the logical conclusion. If science is knowing more and more about less and less, then where it will end? It will end in knowing all about nothing.

Scientists are very gullible people, and the priests and the so-called saints exploit this opportunity very much. And then they brag about that, ”Look, such a great scientist is my follower!” In fact, it is not the scientist who is his follower, it is the remaining part in him which is not a scientist, and which is far bigger than the scientist. Only a small fragment of his being has become scientific – maybe just one percent of his being – ninety-nine percent is as stupid or even more than the ordinary people, because the ordinary people don’t know more and more about less and less; they know something about everything. You cannot exploit them so easily.

Ignorance simply means you are missing knowlegeability. A little education, and your ignorance can become knowledge. Just a little conditioning, schooling, and your ignorance can be changed into knowledge. I here is no difference between ignorance and knowledge; they are interchangeable.

But innocence is a totally different phenomenon. It has nothing to do with knowledge and nothing to do with ignorance either. It is a state of total freedom – from ignorance and knowledge both. It is a state of wonder. It is a very positive state of tremendous awe. When you are full of wonder and awe; when your heart starts throbbing with each beautiful moment that passes by – with the roses, with the marigolds, with the lotuses, with the stars, with the sun, with the moon, with people, with rivers, mountains; when you can experience and feel the mystery of life; when you are so sensitive, so vulnerable, so open that the miraculous can penetrate to the very core of your being, then you are innocent. The knowledgeable cannot be innocent. It is because of his idea that he knows, his wonder dies.

All his answers are borrowed. All that he knows he really does not know, but he carries all kinds of answers, ready-made answers. Because of those ready-made answers nothing surprises him, nothing at all. He can go on amidst this beautiful existence without feeling any joy, any surprise, any wonder, any thrill. any excitement, any ecstasy. He is almost deaf. He cannot hear the music of the birds singing in the morning, he cannot hear the music of the wind passing through the pine trees.

He cannot see the life of the trees, of the grass. He cannot see the beauty of a bird on the wing in the silent infinite sky. He walks without ever experiencing the splendor of the stars. He remains blind. He knows no poetry. His approach towards life is completely blocked by his acquired knowledge, by his accumulated answers. He has a ready-made answer for everything. Before a question arises, the answer is already there; even before the question, the answer is already there. The knowledgeable person never listens to the question. He never tries to go deep into the question itself He hears the question and a process of many answers is triggered in him and he starts answering.

But the man of innocence has no answers. He listens to life in silence. He listens, he sees, he tastes, he smells, he touches. He is very alive. The knowledgeable person is dead, completely closed. He lives in his own grave, that’s why he drags. He has to carry such a burden.

The man of innocence dances; he does not even walk. He is very light. And each small thing fills him with the presence of the mysterious. A butterfly and all its colors, a rainbow in the sky, is enough to throw him into deep meditativeness. He knows no answer, he can only WATCH the rainbow. He has nothing to say, he can only see – his seeing is clear – he can only hear.

I used to know a very knowledgeable man when I was a child. He used to stay with my family once in a while. He was a great scholar. He was very much interested in all kinds of details. For example he knew the names of all the trees possible. He used to take me for a morning walk and he will tell me the name of each tree. I have never come across a man who knows the names of all the trees, small shrubs, bushes, all kinds of plants; not only the names – their history, from where they come, what country is their original place.

But one thing I became aware: that he never looked at the trees; he could not. Seeing a rose he will immediately say that, ”This rose has come from Iran. The Indian word for rose is GULAB; the word comes from Persian. That means the flower has come from Persia; it is not of Indian origin. There is no Sanskrit word for GULAB – naturally, the flower never existed in India in the Vedic age; it must have come later on. Who brought it first? How it came?” And he will go on and on; he won’t look at the rose. And he was thinking that he was teaching me.
I told him that ”You are destroying something tremendously beautiful in me. You please stop all this nonsense!”

He said, ”What do you mean? Is this nonsense? I have acquired it through my whole life!”
I said, ”You have wasted your life, because you don’t allow me to see any tree, any plant any flower. If this is going to be so then I am not coming from tomorrow with you You go alone, and you can say to yourself whatsoever you want to say. I am not going to be a part of this stupid dialogue. I am perfectly happy with the rose, I don’t want to know from where it has come. Who cares? I am not interested in its origins. I am not interested in the word. What does it matter whether it has come from Persia or not? The rose is enjoying the morning sun, the morning breeze; it is dancing – and you are talking about Persia and language and grammar and how the word has come into use and when it started for the first time in Indian literature, when it entered Indian hooks for the first time. Either you have to keep completely silent if you want me to accompany you…”

And he certainly wanted me to accompany him because he was not acquainted with the territory of my town and the roads and the streets and the ways that lead you out of the town. And he wanted to go every day towards a new direction.

I said, ”If you want to keep my company then you have to be silent; if you don’t want my company then you can keep your knowledge. Then whatsoever you want to do you can do – neither I care about it nor the roses care about it.”

He was very shocked. He told my father that, ”Your son seems to be against knowledge and this is not a good sign. He should be interested in knowledge. This is the time when one should learn.”

My father said that, ”He is a little difficult child and I knew it before, that you are taking him for a morning walk – some difficulty will arise.”

And he said, ”He has given me an ultimatum: either I have to keep quiet or he is not going to come with me.”
My father told him that, ”When he says something he means it! You decide.”

He knew all the names of all the birds and he was trying to show his knowledge. I said, ”You stop all this exhibitionism!”
But he said, ”Whenever I go to other places and I talk to other people, they all appreciate that how much I know.”

I said ”They are just as stupid as you are! But I am not stupid. I am not interested in the names of the birds. I want to enjoy their beauty, of course. I want to see them on the wing, in the wind, moving towards the sun. What tremendous joy! What freedom! If I had wings I would have followed them. But I cannot follow you – you will destroy me.”

It was very difficult for him to keep silent, but he had to keep silent because there was nobody else to take him, nobody else who was so acquainted with the territory around the town. I was acquainted with the each inch of the whole territory because I always was roaming around, missing from the school. I knew all the hillocks and I had followed the river as far away as possible. I had gone to all the mountains surrounding. I was the best guide for him. Even in the night I could have taken to any direction, to anywhere. But I said that, ”You have to fulfill the promise: you keep completely silent.”

After two days he said, ”This is too much! Many times I want to say something to you because you are ignorant!”

I said, ”You leave me as I am. I may look ignorant to you; I am not ignorant because I am not hankering for knowledge. If I am hankering for knowledge then I am ignorant. I am not hankering for knowledge; I don’t care a bit about knowledge. I am perfectly happy with my innocence and I want it to leave intact.”

Innocence is a positive state of wonder, of awe. No society allows innocence because the society needs knowledge, it depends on knowledge. And I can understand that knowledgeable people will be needed; the whole technology, science, everything depends on them. So it is okay to be knowledgeable when you are working, but leave it there. Don’t carry it around twenty-four hours.

People are carrying twenty-four hours things which should not be carried twenty-four hours. When you are a doctor, be a doctor But when you leave your hospital, forget all about medicine, forget all about what you know, forget all about your M.D.s and F.R.C.S. and everything. Just be innocent so that you can again be in that tremendously beautiful state of childlikeness.

Jesus says: Blessed are those who are like small children for theirs is the kingdom of God. Chitprem, never for a moment get confused between innocence and ignorance. Many times they appear to be the same ut they are not same; they can never be the same. Innocence is a state of meditativeness. When you are silent, aware, open, in contact with the whole, in tune with Tao, then you are innocent.

Lao Tzu is innocent, Buddha is innocent, Krishna is innocent, Jesus is innocent. These are not knowledgeable people. Of courss what they have said out of their knowing we have changed it into knowledge; what they have said out of their wonder, we have reduced it into philosophy, theology. That is our work; we have destroyed all that was beautiful in it. We have given it a certain shape, a certain pattern and structure. We have interpreted it, commented upon it, dropped many things out of it. And this happens always.

Just the other day I received a note from Arup, that Sarjano is translating your book into Italian; but he changes many things. He drops few things, he adds few things from his own knowledge.” Of course he is trying to do some good work, his intention is good! He wants to make it more logical, more intellectual, more sophisticated. And I am a little wild type of man! He wants to trim me here and there. You look at my beard! If Sarjano is allowed he will trim it like Nikolai Lenin, but then it will not be MY beard. He is trying to make it more appealing. There is no doubt about his intentions, but these are the intentions which have always destroyed.

When he was told my message that he has to do exactly as it is: ”Don’t try to improve upon it. Leave it as it is. Raw, wild, illogical, paradoxical, contradictory, repetitive, whatsoever it is, leave it as it is!” It is so difficult for him. He said, ”Then I will not translate. I would rather like cleaning work.” You see how the mind works? He is not ready to listen to me, he would rather like to do cleaning work. Otherwise he has to be allowed to interpolate, to change, to color things according to his idea.

Now, whatsoever you will do you will do wrong, because what I am saying is from a totally different plane and what you will be doing will be a totally different effort – it won’t belong to MY plane, it won’t belong to MY dimension. It may be scholarly, but I am not a scholar. It may be knowledgeable, but I am not a knowledgeable person.

Knowledgeable people have their own ways. Just small things they will do… For example, I had said that Saraha is the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Now, no scholar will say so decisively. Only a madman can say so decisively because you have to give proofs, you have to give footnotes and you have to make a big appendix in which you have to give proofs. I never give any proofs, I never give any footnotes, I never give you any sources from where… I know only one source – the Akashic records!

So just to make it more appealing, more digestible, he had changed it just a little, not much: that ”Saraha can be said to be the founder of Tibetan Tantra, Tibetan Buddhism, CAN BE SAID. Now this is a scholarly way, a legal way, but it destroys the whole beauty of it. It destroys its whole certainty, its decisiveness, its hammer-like quality. And hammers are not supposed to be digestible!

Sarjano, it is not a spaghetti! He is a good cook and makes beautiful spaghetti. I don’t know anything about spaghetti, but I know Saraha is the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. And I will not give any proof about it – I don’t believe in proofs, I simply KNOW. I know Saraha; it is a personal friendship with Saraha. Even if the historians prove something else, I won’t listen. I won’t pay any attention to them, because I know Saraha.

Just the other day I was reading a beautiful report of the Protestant Church in Germany – again they have published a report! Now, it seems the man who has written a report on me and my work has become very confused, has also fallen in some kind of love with me. Now he is wavering. He cannot refute me totally – seems to be a man of some sensibility – he cannot say that I am utterly wrong, so he has found a middle way. He supports me on everything except Jesus. And he says about Jesus: Whatsoever I am saying LOOKS appealing, but it does not come from Christian sources.

Who cares about Christian sources? Burn them all! I am interested in Christ, I am not interested in Christian sources. And I know Christ directly. And when I say I know Christ or Buddha or Saraha directly, I simply mean that I know that state of being. I know Christ can only say this because from such a state of SAMADHI no other statement is possible. This is something inner which needs no proof; it is intuitive. My certainty arises within me. Whether Jesus said it or not is not the question at all. When I quote Jesus… He says I quote Jesus and I interpret Jesus beautifully but my interpretations are very alien to Christian theology. They are bound to be: Christ himself is very alien to Christian theology – what can I do about it?

If Christ comes back he will not be able to recognize Christian theologians. He will not be able at all to understand what this fuss is all about. He was a simple man making simple statements, very direct, immediate. And these people are creating great sophistication around it. For two thousand years they have been going round and round. But the man who has written it – he is a Ph.D., a D.D., and the most important expert in the whole of Germany about Protestant theology, but the way he has written the report… He has fallen in love with me! Although he is supposed to refute me, but he goes on supporting me in many ways.

Of course one thing he has to do to keep his salary intact and his profession, otherwise he will be thrown out of the church immediately, so he says everything is okay except what I say about Jesus. And the reason he gives is that it does not seem to come from Christian sources. But Jesus never came from Christian sources! There were no Christian sources when Jesus was here. He was in contact with strange people; those people were not Christians. He was in contact with Essenes; those were great mystics. He traveled all over Asia, he traveled to India, to Tibet, to become acquainted with the eastern approach.

Buddha was still very much alive in the air – just five hundred years before Buddha had died. And Buddha had said that, ”My religion will remain alive for five hundred years.” It was still alive; the last flames were dying. He must have felt the warmth. He must have contacted Buddhist mystics.

He went to Egypt in search of secret mysteries. That’s why Christian sources miss completely many years about his life. They talk about him when he was twelve years old and then suddenly they start talking about when he was thirty years old. And what happened in between? Between age twelve and age thirty there is a long distance, and in a life which lasted only thirty-three years it is almost the whole life. Christian sources have no reference about it, but there are other sources.

In Ladakh there are Buddhist scriptures two thousand years old which say and talk about the visit of Jesus Christ. And they describe the man far more accurately because the people who wrote those things were mystics themselves. But this has always happened. Innocence will always be interpreted by knowledgeable people and will be destroyed – and with all good wishes, with all good intentions they will do a great harm. They have always done that.

Chitprem, remember, I am not telling you to remain ignorant; I am telling you to get rid of ignorance AND knowledge both. They are not different – two sides of the same coin. Throw the whole coin, and then you are innocent.

Source – Osho Book “Tao: The Golden Gate, Vol 2”

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