How can the seed know that by dying in the soil it will become a great tree? It will not be there to witness the happening. How can the seed know that one day, if it dies, there will be great foliage, green leaves, great branches, and flowers and fruits? How can the seed know? The seed will not be there. The seed has to disappear before it can happen. The seed has never met the tree. The seed has to disappear and die.
Only very few people have that much courage. It really needs guts to discover truth. You will die as yourself. You will certainly be born, but how can you be convinced of it? What guarantee is there? There is no guarantee.
Hence, unless you are with a master who has died and is reborn, who has crucified himself and is resurrected -- unless you come across a man like Christ or Buddha or Atisha -- you will not be able to gather enough courage.
Seeing Atisha, something may start stirring in your heart, a chord may be touched, something may be triggered, a synchronicity. The presence of somebody who has arrived may create a great longing in you, may become the birth of an intense passionate search for truth.
Belief cannot give you the truth, it only pretends. It is cheap, it is a plastic flower. You need not take all the trouble of growing a rosebush, you can simply go to the market and purchase plastic flowers -- and they are more lasting too, in fact they are almost eternal. Once in a while you can wash them, and they are fresh again. They will not deceive you, but at least they can deceive the neighbors, and that is the point. You will know all along that they are plastic flowers.
How can you forget it? You have purchased them! The neighbors may be deceived, but how can you be deceived?
And I don't think that even the neighbors are deceived, because they have also purchased plastic flowers. They know they are deceiving you, they know you are deceiving them. Everybody is perfectly aware that everybody else is deceiving. "But this is how life is," people say. Nobody is really deceived. People just pretend to be deceived. You pretend that you have real flowers, others pretend that they are deceived. Just watch, observe, and what I am saying will be experienced by you. It is a simple fact; I am not talking philosophy, just stating facts.
There is this danger in belief: it makes you feel that you know the truth. And because it makes you feel that you know the truth, this becomes the greatest barrier in the search. Believe or disbelieve and you are blocked -- because disbelief is also nothing but belief in a negative form.
The Catholic believes in God, the communist believes in no God: both are believers. Go to Kaaba or go to the Comintern, go to Kailash or to the Kremlin, it is all the same. The believer believes it is so, the nonbeliever believes it is not so. And because both have already settled without taking the trouble to go and discover it, the deeper is their belief, the stronger is their belief, the greater is the barrier. They will never go on a pilgrimage, there is no point. They will live surrounded by their own illusion, self-created, self-sustained; it may be consoling, but it is not liberating. Millions of people are wasting their lives in belief and disbelief.
The inquiry into truth begins only when you drop all believing. You say, "I would like to encounter the truth on my own. I will not believe in Christ and I will not believe in Buddha. I would like to become a christ or a buddha myself, I would like to be a light unto myself."
Why should one be a Christian? It is ugly. Be a christ if you can be, but don't be a Christian. Be a buddha if you have any respect for yourself, but don't be a Buddhist. The Buddhist believes. Buddha knows.
When you can know, when knowing is possible, why settle for believing? But again, the society would like you to believe, because believers are good people, obedient, law-abiding. They follow all formalities and etiquette, they are never trouble-makers. They simply follow the crowd, whichever crowd they happen to be in; they simply go with the crowd. They are not real men, they are sheep. Humanity has not yet arrived.
Somebody once said to George Bernard Shaw, "What do you think about civilization?"
He said, "It is a good idea. Somebody should try it."
It has not yet been tried. Humanity is still arriving; we are still groping between animality and humanity. We are in limbo: man has to be born, man has to be given birth to; we have to prepare the ground for man to appear.
And the most significant thing that will help that man to come will be if we can drop believing -- if we can drop being Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans, Jainas, Buddhists, communists. If you can drop believing, immediately your energy will take a new turn: it will start inquiring. And to inquire is beautiful. Your life will become a pilgrimage to truth, and in that very pilgrimage you grow.
Growth is a by-product of the inquiry into truth. Believers never grow, they remain childish. And remember, to be childlike and to be childish are poles apart, they are not the same thing. It is beautiful to be childlike. The man of trust is childlike and the man of belief is childish. To be childlike is the ultimate in growth; that is the very culmination -- consciousness has come to the ultimate peak. To be childlike means to be a sage, and to be childish means to be just un-grownup.
The average mental age of human beings on the earth today is not more than twelve years. When for the first time this was discovered, it was such a shock. Nobody had ever thought about it; it was just by accident that it became known. In the First World War, for the first time in human history, the people who were candidates, who wanted to enter the army, were examined. Their mental age was inquired into, their IQ was determined. This was a great revelation -- that they were not more than twelve years; the average age was just twelve years.
This is childishness. The body goes on growing, and the mind has stopped at the age of twelve. What kind of humanity have we created on this earth? Why does the mind stop at twelve? Because by the time one is twelve, one has gathered all kinds of beliefs; one is already a believer, one already "knows" what truth is. One is a Christian, another is a communist; one believes in God, one does not believe in God; one believes in The Bible and the other believes in Das Kapital; one believes in the Bhagavad Gita, another believes in the Red Book of Mao Zedong.
We have drilled concepts and ideologies into the innocent minds of poor children. They are already becoming knowers. Do you know -- by the age of seven, a child already knows fifty percent of all that he will ever know. And by the time he is fourteen he has almost arrived; now there is nowhere to go, he has only to vegetate. Now he will exist as a cabbage. If he goes to college then, as they say, he may become a cauliflower. A cabbage with a college education is a cauliflower. But there is not much difference, just labels change. The cabbage becomes an M.A., a Ph.D., this and that, and just to show respect we call it a cauliflower. But the mental age is twelve.
The real man grows to the very end. Even while he is dying, he is growing. Even the last moment of his life will still be an inquiry, a search, a learning. He will still be inquiring -- now inquiring into death. He will be fascinated: death is such an unknown phenomenon, such a mystery, far more mysterious than life itself -- how can an intelligent man be afraid? If in life he has not been afraid to go into the uncharted and the unknown, at the moment of death he will be thrilled, ecstatic. Now the last moment has come: he will be entering into the darkness, the dark tunnel of death. This is the greatest adventure one can ever go on; he will be learning.
A real man never believes; he learns. A real man never becomes knowledgeable; he always remains open, open to truth. And he always remembers that "It is not that truth has to adjust to me, but just vice versa: I have to adjust to truth." The believer tries to adjust truth to himself, the seeker adjusts himself to truth. Remember the difference; the difference is tremendous. One who believes, he says, "Truth should be like this, this is my belief."
Just think of a Christian... If God appears not like Jesus Christ but like Krishna, not on the cross but with a flute and girlfriends dancing around him, the Christian will close his eyes; he will say, "This is not my cup of tea." Girlfriends? Can you think of Jesus with girlfriends? The cross and girlfriends can't go together. Jesus hanging on the cross and girlfriends dancing around? It won't fit, it will be very bizarre. He was waiting for Christ to appear, and instead of Christ this guy, Krishna, appears: he seems to be debauched. And the flute? The world is suffering and people are hungry and they need bread -- and this man is playing on the flute? He seems to be utterly uncompassionate, he seems to be indulgent. The Christian cannot believe in Krishna: if God appears as Krishna, then the Christian will say, "This is not God."
And the same will be the case with the Hindu who was waiting for Krishna: if Christ appears, that will not be his idea of God -- so sad, such a long face, so gloomy, with such suffering on his face.
Christians say Jesus never laughed. I don't think they are right, and I don't think they are representing the real Christ, but that's what they have managed to propagate. The Hindu cannot accept the revelation; he must think this is some kind of nightmare. Jesus will not appeal to him.
The believer cannot even trust his own experience. Even if truth is revealed, he will reject it, unless it fits with him. He is more important than truth itself: truth has an obligation to fit with him. He is the criterion, he is the decisive factor. This kind of man can never know truth; he is already prejudiced, poisoned.
The man who wants to know truth has to be capable of dropping all concepts about truth. Everything about truth has to be dropped. Only then can you know truth. Know well: to know about truth is not to know truth. Whatsoever you know may be utter nonsense; there is every possibility that it is utter nonsense. In fact people can be conditioned to believe any kind of nonsense; they can be convinced.