Knowledge is negative, devotion is positive. Knowledge is like preparing the earth by removing the grass and the weeds and then putting in the manure, and devotion is like sowing the seed. Knowledge in itself is not sufficient. It cleans the earth but it does not sow the seeds (cannot be sown). It is necessary but not sufficient, because knowledge is of the mind and devotion is of the heart. All the obstacles on the path of the divine can be removed by knowledge. But the steps of the stairs can be climbed only by devotion. That is why knowledge is negative. It is very effective in removing the meaningless but it is not able to create the meaningful.

Shankaracharya is talking about knowledge so that the layers of ignorance collected within you may be cleared away. And once the soil of the mind is cleared of all the unnecessary wild grass and plants the seeds of devotion can be sown. Then it is possible to sing the song of the divine.

There is no contradiction between the two. Devotion is the culmination of knowledge and knowledge is the beginning of devotion, because man has both heart and mind, and both of them have to be approached, both of them have to be transformed. If you get stuck only in knowledge then you will be like a desert — very clean but nothing will grow there; clean but seedless; vast but without any height or depth.

Knowledge is dry and lonely. And if you remain a devotee, a bhakta only, then there will be trees, flowers and greenery in your life but you will not know how to protect that greenery. You will not be able to protect those plants. If anyone puts the seeds of doubt in your fertile soil, they also will sprout.

If a devotee has not passed through the process of knowledge then his building is going to be shaky. Anyone can put doubt in him. He knows how to believe the believers, those who are leading him on the path, and he believes even those who are misleading him. He does not have the sense of discrimination and discretion. He gets hold of the wrong in the same way as he gets hold of the right. The devotee is like a blind man and the knowledgeable person is like a lame man. If they both get together then things work out beautifully.

You must have heard this story. A blind man and a lame man were caught in a fire in a jungle. The blind man could not run away as he could not see. He had strong legs and feet and could save himself by running away, but he had no sense of direction. The lame person could see the path, he could see which part of the jungle had not yet caught fire, but he could not run away as he was lame. According to the story both of them got together. The blind man carried the lame one on his shoulders. By becoming one, they overcame their shortcomings. With the joint effort of the blind man’s feet and the lame man’s eyes they could come out of the jungle safely. The fire could not destroy them.

You cannot save yourself from the flames of life until the intellect and the heart unite. Intellect has eyes but no feet; intellect is lame. Heart has feet, but no eyes; heart is blind. That is why they say that love is blind. When they meet, there is perfume. When they unite, there is attainment, there is enlightenment, there is nirvana. If they oppose each other, both will be destroyed. Then it will be impossible to get out of the jungle which is on fire. Alone, both are crippled. United, both become whole. And you have both, you have to use both. Hence make knowledge a support of devotion; make devotion a support of knowledge.

You can fly in this sky if you make them both your wings. No bird can fly with one wing, no man can walk with one foot, nor can a boat be rowed with one oar; both the oars are needed. There is no contradiction, and those who have told you that there is a contradiction are wrong. They made this error because they did not know this great harmony. They were either mind-dominated people who possessed only dry thoughts and logic and never experienced the dance of the heart, or they were heart-dominated people who could dance but did not have any understanding.

It will be a fortunate moment when you can dance with understanding. That moment will be fortunate when you can love with understanding. And never refuse anything which existence has given you, because if you do so you will become disabled to that degree. You are whole, but everything has to be properly adjusted and made to coincide. It is as if there is a musical instrument, a veena: the strings are there, and the strings have to be fixed to the veena, they have to be tightened and adjusted.

Everything is within you but the coincidence is not there. The name of that coincidence which can adjust your inner veena and its strings is sadhana.

Sufis say that a man was dying of hunger. In his house there was flour, water, fuel, an oven, but he did not know how to knead the flour, how to light the fire and how to bake the bread. Everything was there but he was hungry. The uncooked food was there. But these things did not coincide so he died of hunger.

This story applies to everybody. You have got all the means but you are hungry. You have got everything; existence sends everyone with all the means. But these means are to be adjusted in the proper proportions, the proper harmony and music; only then the light of the divine will shine within you.

You are not to be dominated either by intellect or by the heart; your consciousness should flow like a river between these two banks. If you become the Ganges, then the sea is not very far away. But do not insist on flowing with the support of one bank only, because the support of both the banks is needed. In the end both the banks will be given up. But this end is possible only through that support. In the ultimate condition, in the ultimate realization, there is neither devotion nor knowledge. When a river flows into the sea then both banks disappear and the river becomes the sea.

Therefore, there are three types of people in this world. The first are the mind-dominated people — philosophers, metaphysicians. They go on thinking and arguing but reach nowhere. Their life is full of the dry sand of logic.

The second type are the heart-dominated people. They sing and dance a lot but their singing and dancing is without any understanding or discretion. They are not doing so out of freedom; it is a sort of madness or intoxication. Heart is like an intoxication for those who do not have awareness or discretion.

The third type are those who have made full use of mind and heart and have gone beyond both. Your aim should be the third. You must desire, you must aspire for this great transcendence.

Ultimately the Ganges has to leave both the banks and flow into the sea. But do not hurry, you have to reach the sea with the support of the two banks, and you can give up the banks as soon as you reach there.


Source: OSHO

The Great Transcendence
Chapter 2 – The Attraction of the Transient

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