Yesterday I was told that I am intelligent. I felt as if I had been called something terrible…As if it was even dangerous.
Would you please shed some light on the fear of intelligence?
Avirbhava, to feel terrible for being called “intelligent” proves you really to be intelligent. The first and the most important part of intelligence is innocence. That’s why you felt terrible – because in the world innocence and intelligence have been divided, not only divided but put diametrically opposite to each other.
If intelligence remains innocent it is the most beautiful thing possible, but if it is against innocence then it is simply cunningness and nothing else; it is not intelligence.
The moment innocence disappears, the soul of intelligence is gone; it is a corpse. It is better to call it simply “intellect.” It can make you a great intellectual, but it will not transform your life and it will not make you open to the mysteries of existence. They are open only to the intelligent child, and the really intelligent person keeps his childhood alive to his last breath. He never loses it – the wonder the child feels looking at the birds, looking at the flowers, looking at the sky.
Intelligence also has to be, in the same way, childlike.
Jesus is right when he says, “Unless you are born again, you will not see the kingdom of God.” What he calls “God” I call “existence.” But the statement is true. “Born again” means becoming a child again.
But when a mature person becomes a child again, there is a difference between the ordinary child and the reborn. The ordinary child is innocent because he is ignorant, and the reborn innocence is the greatest value in life because it is not ignorance, it is pure intelligence.
So don’t be afraid of intelligence; be afraid of intelligence only if it is against innocence.
And I know Avirbhava: she is innocent. That’s why she must have felt terrible being called intelligent. To her it must have appeared that she is being called cunning, crafty, clever. And her feeling is right.
But don’t be against intelligence if it goes in tune with your innocence. Innocence alone becomes ignorance. Intelligence alone becomes cunningness. They both together are neither ignorance nor cunningness, but simply a receptivity, an openness, a heart which is capable of wondering at the smallest thing in life.
And the man who knows the feeling of wonder, to me, is the only religious man. It is through his wonder that he comes to know that existence is not just matter, it cannot be. It is not a logical conclusion for him, not a belief for him, but a real experience. Such a beautiful experience, so mysterious, so unfathomable, indicates tremendous intelligence in him.
But existence is not cunning. It is very simple, it is innocent.