In Wonder: Nothing is Ever Known
7th of April is the date of birth of an English romantic poet William Wordsworth who lived from 7th April, 1770 to 23rd April, 1850. Wordsworth Along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798).
Wordsworth was Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death from pleurisy on 23 April 1850. The prelude is considered as the master piece of wordworth.
These are some of his works: Simon Lee, We are Seven, Lines Written in Early Spring, Expostulation and Reply, The Tables Turned, The Thorn, Lines Composed A Few Miles above Tintern Abbey.
Wordsworth’s most famous lines on the relation between the human mind and nature:
… my voice proclaims
How exquisitely the individual Mind
(And the progressive powers perhaps no less
Of the whole species) to the external World
Is fitted:—and how exquisitely, too—
Theme this but little heard of among Men,
The external World is fitted to the Mind;
And the creation (by no lower name
Can it be called) which they with blended might
Osho has used wordworth’s poems quite a few times in his discourses. Osho says MEDITATE ON THESE beautiful words of Wordsworth:
THE WORLD IS TOO MUCH WITH US, LATE AND SOON, GETTING AND SPENDING,
WE LAY WASTE OUR POWERS.
LITTLE WE SEE IN NATURE THAT’S OURS,
WE HAVE GIVEN OUR HEARTS AWAY,
A SORDID BOON, THIS SEA THAT BARES
HER BOSOM TO THE MOON,
THE WINDS THAT WILL BE HOWLING AT ALL HOURS
AND ARE UPGATHERED NOW LIKE SLEEPING FLOWERS;
FOR THIS, FOR EVERYTHING, WE ARE OUT OF TUNE IT MOVES US NOT……
FULL OF WONDER IS THIS PURE REFLECTION….
INFINITE WONDER PERMEATES THIS SERENITY….
Wonder is the taste of that serenity. The modern mind has lost all capacity to wonder. It has lost all capacity to look into the mysterious, into the miraculous, because of knowledge, because it thinks it knows. The moment you think you know, wonder stops arising. The moment you start again becoming less knowledgeable, wonder enters back, starts penetrating you. Watch it. If you think you know this tree then you are no more in any wonder about it.
That’s why your own wife and her beauty does not fill your eyes with wonder. You think you know her. Had she been somebody else’s wife you would certainly have been attracted. But now you think you know her, now you think you are acquainted with her. And you are not — because each person is such a unique mystery there is no way to know. You cannot know a woman by becoming her husband and you cannot know a man by becoming a wife. You may have lived for thirty years together but you don’t know. You remain strangers. Because we are all mysteries there is no way to get acquainted, and each moment the unpredictable is possible.
Sometimes you come across it. You have lived for ten years with a woman and suddenly one day she is angry and you had never thought that she would be so angry. For ten years you have watched her and she has been always so tender, so loving, so compassionate, and suddenly one day she is so angry that she would like to kill you. Unpredictable. And you were getting settled and you had started taking her for granted and you were thinking that you knew her. Nobody knows anybody. Neither she knows you nor you know her.
Yes, you may have given birth to a child. The child has remained nine months in your womb, but you don’t know it. When the child comes he is as unpredictable as anybody else’s child. Don’t for a single moment think that you know anybody.
We are strangers. So is this whole existence. These trees surround you here…. You see them every day and by and by you have stopped seeing them because you think that now you know — what is the point? Please listen to me. Have a look again and you will be surprised. Nothing is ever known. Knowledge happens not. Knowledge is just sheer ignorance. Life remains mysterious. Yes, we can enjoy it, we can dance with it, we can sing with it, we can celebrate — that’s possible. But we cannot know it.
All the great Masters of the world have said that knowledge is not possible. It is not in the nature of things. And whatsoever you think you know is just so-so — your make-believe. Because of that make-believe you become so burdened that you stop wondering.
A child wonders because he does not know. Once he starts getting acquainted — he reads geography and history and all kinds of nonsense — then he thinks he knows. Then the flower does not smell the way it used to any more. Then the butterfly does not attract him any more as it used to. Then he will not collect seashells on the seashore. He has become a grown-up. In fact, he has stopped growing. In fact, he has died. The day you think you know, your death has happened — because now there will be no wonder and no joy and no surprise. Now you will live a dead life. You can enter into your grave, you will not be losing anything. Because you are not going to be surprised by anything what is the point of going on living? Commit suicide. In fact, that’s what you are actually doing. We commit suicide. The day you think you know, you have committed suicide.
With this MO CHAO, with this serene reflection, again you will become a child, again you will attain to those beautiful eyes of childhood — innocent, unknowing, yet penetrating. So remember, sereneness or silence is not calmness, is not quietitude. It implies transcendency over all words or thoughts denoting a state of beyond, of pervasive peace. It is not a still mind, it is stillness itself. It is not a disciplined thing out of your effort. It is nothing to be practised, it is something to be understood, to be loved. You have to play with it rather than work it out. It is absence of mentation. Yes, that is what
meditation is all about — absence of mentation. The mind is no longer thinking, the mind is silent. It has no savour of mental activity, it is clear awareness in the tranquillity of nothingness. The Japanese have a beautiful word for it: they call it KOKORO. KOKORO means absolute nothingness; KOKORO means a tremendous absence; KOKORO means blankness — but not negative. Nothingness gives the sense of something being negated. No. All that is rubbish is negated, certainly, obviously, but once you negate all that is rubbish your own innermost nature asserts. It is very positive.
When the ripples have disappeared from the lake you can say that now nothing exists on the surface of the lake. Absolute nothingness resides, floats. But this is not a negative state. In fact, now the lake asserts itself in its total silence. Its nature is visible on the surface; those waves and ripples were hiding it. Now it is there, just present. Not noisy, very silent. Not declaring that ‘I am here’ — there is no ‘I’ any more.
‘I’ is nothing but all your noise together, put together. When noise disappears, when the mind is no more, when mentation is no more there, suddenly you are for the first time — and yet you are not. You are not in the old way; you have died and you are reborn. This is the second childhood…
KOKORO, nothingness. And when you are in this nothingness everything is possible. This nothingness is so potent, this nothingness is so positive, this nothingness is God. The Buddhists don’t use the word God because God seems to be confining. They use nothingness — KOKORO, SHUNYATA. In this nothingness you will see that God is omnipresent. This nothingness is filling the whole existence.
These are the words of John Donne: ‘God is so omnipresent that God is an angel in an angel and a stone in a stone and a straw in a straw.’ In this nothingness you will have penetrated into the very nature of things. This penetration into the nature of things is the goal. And that is possible only when you ‘devise no word’. Then things are.
Listen to these words of Wordsworth:
THE COCK IS CROWING,
THE STREAM IS FLOWING,
THE SMALL BIRDS TWITTER,
THE LAKE DOTH GLITTER,
THE GREEN FIELDS SLEEP IN THE SUN.
Then everything is as it is. The cock is crowing and the green fields sleep in the sun. ‘God is so omnipresent that God is an angel in an angel and a stone in a stone and a straw in a straw.’ Then God disappears. There is only godliness. Then there is no deity, there is only divineness, pure liquid divineness, overfilling all the space.
Just the other night I was reading Leonardo Da Vinci’s diary. In his diary he writes one sentence which struck me.
‘Among the great things which are to be found among us, the being of nothingness is the greatest.’ KOKORO. That being of nothingness comes through no word, no language, no concept, no mind, no mentation — MO CHAO.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1
Chapter title: Devise No Word
13 June 1977 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on eminent poets and writers like Byron, Coleridge, D.H. Lawrence, Ghalib, Heinrich Heine, John Ruskin, Kahlil Gibran, Kalidas, Keats, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Milton, Oscar Wilde, Rabindranath Tagore, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Rumi, Rudyard Kipling, Shakespeare, Shelley, William Blake, Wordsworth and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Book of Wisdom
- The Sword and The Lotus
- Returning to the Source
- Light on the Path
- The Secret
- The Hidden Splendour
- The New Dawn
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The Golden Future
- The Messiah, Vol 2