Ludwig Wittgenstein was really a lovable man. I don’t hate him, but I don’t dislike him. I like him and I love him, but not his book. His book is only gymnastics. Only once in a while after pages and pages you may come across a sentence which is luminous. For example: That which cannot be spoken should not be spoken; one should be silent about it. Now this is a beautiful statement. Even saints, mystics, poets, can learn much from this sentence. That which cannot be spoken must not be spoken of.
Wittgenstein writes in a mathematical way, small sentences, not even paragraphs – sutras. But for the very advanced insane man this book can be of immense help. It can hit him exactly in his soul, not only in the head. Just like a nail it can penetrate into his very being. That may wake him from his nightmare.
Ludwig Wittgenstein was a lovable man. He was offered one of the most cherished chairs of philosophy at Oxford. He declined. That’s what I love in him. He went to become a farmer and fisherman. This is lovable in the man. This is more existential than Jean-Paul Sartre, although Wittgenstein never talked of existentialism. Existentialism, by the way, cannot be talked about; you have to live it, there is no other way.
This book was written when Wittgenstein was studying under G.E.Moore and Bertrand Russell. Two great philosophers of Britain, and a German…it was enough to create Tractatus Logico Philosophicus. Translated it means Wittgenstein, Moore and Russell. I, on my part, would rather have seen Wittgenstein sitting at the feet of Gurdjieff than studying with Moore and Russell. That was the right place for him, but he missed. Perhaps next time, I mean next life…for him, not for me. For me this is enough, this is the last. But for him, at least once he needs to be in the company of a man like Gurdjieff or Chuang Tzu, Bodhidharma – but not Moore, Russell, not Whitehead. He was associating with these people, the wrong people. A right man in the company of wrong people, that’s what destroyed him.
My experience is, in the right company even a wrong person becomes right, and vice-versa: in a wrong company, even a right person becomes wrong. But this only applies to unenlightened men, right or wrong, both. An enlightened person cannot be influenced. He can associate with anyone – Jesus with Magdalena, a prostitute; Buddha with a murderer, a murderer who had killed nine hundred and ninety-nine people. He had taken a vow to kill one thousand people, and he was going to kill Buddha too; that’s how he came into contact with Buddha.
The murderer’s name is not known. The name people gave to him was Angulimala, which means “the man who wears a garland of fingers.” That was his way. He would kill a man, cut off his fingers and put them on his garland, just to keep count of the number of people he had killed. Only ten fingers were missing to make up the thousand; in other words only one man more…. Then Buddha appeared. He was just moving on that road from one village to another. Angulimala shouted, “Stop!”
Buddha said, “Great. That’s what I have been telling people: stop! But, my friend, who listens?”