April Fool’s Day just went by; let us try and understand what the Fool within us represents. The Fool is that aspiration for freedom and understanding of the mystery of life that lies dormant within. It is a symbol of the awakening of intuition or rising above our logical mind.
In the Srimad Bhagwad Gita, Arjuna continuously argues with Sri Krishna. At one point he is empty of all arguments and he realises and tells the lord that he knew nothing, was his disciple, and pleads him to show him the path of shreya (welfare). It is only after this emptying out that the immortal wisdom of the Gita is spoken. What is this feeling of Nothingness?
We have many emotions — love, happiness, and pain, among others. The emotion of Nothingness is totally different. It is when we know that in spite of all our knowledge, we really know nothing; that even though we have a lot of money, richness is something totally different. It is the most beautiful and receptive state we can or will ever be in.
When the disciple comes to the teacher, he comes with the wish to see, feel, know, and understand the truth. The teacher wants to give it to him but he cannot do this as long as the student is full of his own ideas, opinions, and information about truth. There is a long period of apprenticeship where the teacher talks of everything but the truth. At a certain point in time, the disciple slowly calms his thoughts, is free of all his so called knowledge, feels a deep receptivity and vulnerability, and the inner spirit cries, “I know nothing”, just like Arjuna’s did. The vessel is now empty and the teacher pours his whole being into it.
In ancient India, the kings would have a Guru who advised them on everything. Similarly in Europe, the kings had a court jester. He was called a Fool, but in reality he was the wisest of the wise and the king consulted him in everything. It was the Guru in disguise.
If for a moment we could become the fool and feel our nothingness, we would be filled with knowledge beyond all words and thinking.