Quote of the Day

Jul 3, 2021
Now, if one can really come to that state of saying, `I do not know', it indicates an extraordinary sense of humility; there is no arrogance of knowledge, there is no self-assertive answer to make an impression. When you can actually say, `I do not know', which very few are capable of saying, then in that state all fear ceases because all sense of recognition, the search into memory, has come to an end; there is no longer inquiry into the field of the known. Then comes the extraordinary thing. If you have so far followed what I am talking about, not just verbally, but if you are actually experiencing it, you will find that when you can say, `I do not know', all conditioning has stopped. And what then is the state of the mind? Do you understand what I am talking about? Am I making myself clear? I think it is important for you to give a little attention to this, if you care to.

You see, we are seeking something permanent, permanent in the sense of time, something enduring, everlasting. We see that everything about us is transient, in flux, being born, withering and dying, and our search is always to establish something that will endure within the field of the known. But that which is truly sacred is beyond the measure of time, it is not to be found within the field of the known. The known operates only through thought, which is the response of memory to challenge. If I see that and I want to find out how to end thinking, what am I to do? Surely, I must through self-knowledge be aware of the whole process of my thinking. I must see that every thought, however subtle, however lofty, or however ignoble, stupid, has its roots in the known, in memory. If I see that very clearly, then the mind, when confronted with an immense problem, is capable of saying, `I do not know', because it has no answer. Then all the answers of the Buddha, of the Christ, of the Masters, the teachers, the gurus, have no meaning; because if they have a meaning, that meaning is born of the collection of memories which is my conditioning.

So, if I see the truth of all that and actually put aside all the answers, which I can do only when there is this immense humility of not-knowing, then what is the state of the mind? What is the state of the mind which says, `I do not know whether there is God, whether there is love', that is, when there is no response of memory? Please don't immediately answer the question to yourselves, because if you do your answer will be merely the recognition of what you think it should or should not be. If you say, `It is a state of negation', you are comparing it with something that you already know; therefore that state in which you say, `I do not know' is non-existent.

I am trying to inquire into this problem aloud so that you also can follow it through the observation of your own mind. That state in which the mind says, `I do not know', is not negation. The mind has completely stopped searching, it has ceased making any movement, for it sees that any movement out of the known towards the thing it calls the unknown is only a projection of the known. So the mind that is capable of saying, `I do not know' is in the only state in which anything can be discovered. But the man who says, `I know', the man who has studied infinitely the varieties of human experience and whose mind is burdened with information, with encyclopaedic knowledge, can he ever experience something which is not to be accumulated? He will find it extremely hard. When the mind totally puts aside all the knowledge that it has acquired, when for it there are no Buddhas, no Christs, no Masters, no teachers no religions, no quotations; when the mind is completely alone, uncontaminated, which means that the movement of the known has come to an end - it is only then that there is a possibility of a tremendous revolution, a fundamental change. Such a change is obviously necessary; and it is only the few, you and I, or X, who have brought about in themselves this revolution, that are capable of creating a new world, not the idealists, not the intellectuals, not the people who have immense knowledge, or who are doing good works; they are not the people. They are all reformers. The religious man is he who does not belong to any religion, to any nation, to any race, who is inwardly completely alone, in a state of not-knowing, and for him the blessing of the sacred comes into being.
Ojai, California | Sixth Talk in The Oak Grove, July 4, 1953 Read full text