Osho on Questioning

Osho – Before you ask something, I must tell you that there are two types of questioning. One type of questioning comes not because you do not know, but because you know something. It comes out of your so-called knowledge. You have the answer already and then you raise the question. It is so stupid!

Whatever you know, you have not really known it. Otherwise there would have been no question. And secondly, because the question has been raised by a preconceived answer, you are not ready to receive a new answer. Whenever there is such questioning it is absolutely useless. It leads you nowhere.

Never ask because you know something. If you know, it is good. Then there is no need of a king. And if you do not know, then ask as if you are ignorant, as if you do not know. Unless you feel that you do not know, you are never vulnerable, open, receptive. Receptivity is needed otherwise you raise a question and do not allow the answer to go in.

More or less, all questions are like that. We have the answer already and then there is a search for confirmation. We are not confident because we really do not know; we have simply gathered certain information. Now we want someone to give us conviction, someone to be a witness to our knowledge so that we can feel, ”Yes, I am right.”

This is very absurd. If you know, then knowledge itself, knowing itself, gives confidence. It is self evident. If you know something then even if the whole world denies it, it makes no difference. And in the same way, if you do not know a thing and the whole world says, ”Yes, this is right,” that too makes no difference. Knowing is self-evident and ignorance is also self-revealing. So do not ask from your knowledge. If you know, it is good. If you do not know, then be conscious that you do not know and ask from your conscious ignorance.

The second type of questioning – which is authentic questioning, sincere, honest – is always from the feeling that you do not know. Your doors are open. Now you are ready to invite the guest. Otherwise you invite the guest and your house iS completely closed. Then you do not really invite. If you invite, then make a space for the guest. If you have ready-made answers then you have no space within you to receive the answer.

Questioning is useless if there is no space to receive. See when you are asking a question, if there is any space to receive the answer. First create the space, then ask. Then the question is not merely intellectual, not merely mental. You are totally involved in it; your whole being is at stake, your total being This is what is meant by being existential. Now the question comes from your very existence, from your very being.

The first type of questioning is always conditioned by others. This must be understood very clearly. Ignorance is yours, and your so-called knowledge is given by others. Ignorance is more existential than so-called knowledge. If you do not know, this not-knowing is yours. But if you say, ”I know because I have read the Gita. I know because someone somewhere has said such and such a thing, because Buddha had such knowledge and I have become acquainted with it. Therefore, I know,” this knowledge is not yours.

And remember, even your ignorance is more valuable than others’ knowledge. At least it is yours. Something can be done with it. It is real, existential. Nothing can be done with a fiction. The real can be transformed and changed, but with a fiction you can do nothing, with imagination you can do nothing. Imagined knowledge, based only on information, is fictitious. It is not existential.

So ask a question, inquire about something, through your existential feelings not your accumulated, mental information. If you really ask from your ignorance then your question will be universal in a way and individual in a way because when you ask from your ignorance you ask about a problem that is the same for everyone.

If you ask from your knowledge, then the problem differs. A Hindu will never ask a question that a Mohammedan will ask; a Christian will never ask the same question that a Jain will ask. A Mohammedan’s knowledge is completely different from a Hindu’s knowledge, but there is no such thing as Mohammedan ignorance and no such thing as Hindu ignorance. Ignorance is universal, existential, but knowledge differs. Mohammedan knowledge is different from Hindu knowledge or Jain knowledge, or Christian knowledge.

If your questioning comes out of your knowledge, it is bound to come out of your social conditioning. Then it is not universal, existential. When a Mohammedan asks something, he himself is not really asking. That which has been forced upon him, imposed upon him, that which has been conditioned that conditioning is asking. The real man is hidden behind the Mohammedan. The imposed Mohammedan (the imposed Hindu) is asking. Then it is superficial, and whatsoever answer is given is not going to benefit you to your depths because the question was never from your depths. Existential questioning means that you go through all the conditioned layers of your mind and ask – just as a pure, naked existence not as a Mohammedan, Sikh or Jain. Ask as if you have not been

given any answers before. Put your answers aside. Then your question will be individual in a way, because it has come from you, and it will be simultaneously universal – because whenever someone goes inside himself so deeply, the same question comes. So be existential in asking and never ask from your knowledge, ask from your ignorance. If you want
transformation, mutation, then ask from your ignorance. Be aware of your ignorance. Dig deep and find that questioning which is coming out of your ignorance and not out of your knowledge.

Source: Osho Book “The Eternal Quest”

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