This is an excerpt from discourse number 5, in the series titled And the Flowers Showered. I have taken the excerpt from this website – Osho And The Flowers Showered: Is he dead?
Man of Salt – Parable
“I will tell you one anecdote Ramakrishna loved to tell. He used to say: Once it happened that there was a great festival near a sea, on the beach. Thousands of people were gathered there and suddenly they all became engrossed in a question — whether the sea is immeasurable or measurable; whether there is a bottom to it or not; fathomable or unfathomable? By chance, one man completely made of salt was also there. He said, ‘You wait, and you discuss, and I will go into the ocean and find out, because how can one know unless one goes into it?’
So the man of salt jumped into the ocean. Hours passed, days passed, then months passed, and people started to go to their homes. They had waited long enough, and the man of salt was not coming back.
The man of salt, the moment he entered the ocean, started melting, and by the time he reached the bottom he was not. He came to know — but he couldn’t come back. And those who didn’t know, they discussed it for a long time. They may have arrived at some conclusions, because the mind loves to reach conclusions.
Once a conclusion is reached, mind feels at ease — hence so many philosophies exist. All philosophies exist to fulfill a need: the mind asks and the mind cannot remain with the question, it is uneasy; to remain with the question feels inconvenient. An answer is needed — even if it is false it will do; mind is put at rest.
To go and take a jump into the sea is dangerous. And remember, Ramakrishna is true: we are all men of salt as far as the ocean is concerned — the ocean of life and death. We are men of salt, we will melt into it because we come out of it. We are made by it, of it. We will melt!
So mind is always afraid of going into the ocean; it is made of salt, it is bound to dissolve. It is afraid, so it remains on the bank, discussing things, debating, arguing, creating theories: all false — because they are based on fear. A courageous man will take the jump, and he will resist accepting any answer which is not known by himself.
We are cowards, that’s why we accept anybody’s answer: Mahavira, Buddha, Christ — we accept their answers. Their answers cannot be our answers. Nobody else’s knowledge can be yours — they may have known, but their knowledge is just information for you. YOU will have to know. Only when it is your own is it knowledge; otherwise it will not give you wings. On the contrary, it will hang on your neck like stones, you will become a slave to it. You will not achieve liberation, you will not be set free by it.
Says Jesus, ‘Truth liberates.’ Have you seen anybody being liberated by theories?
Experience liberates, yes, but theories about every experience? No, never! But the mind is afraid to take the jump, because mind is made of the same stuff as the universe; if you take the jump you will be lost. You will come to know, but you will know only when you are not.
The salt man came to know. He touched the very depth. He reached the very center but he couldn’t come back. Even if he could, how would he relate…? Even if he comes, his language will belong to the center, to the depth, and your language belongs to the bank, to the periphery.
There is no possibility of any communication. He cannot say anything meaningfully, he can only remain silent meaningfully, significantly. If he says something he himself will feel guilty, because he will immediately know that whatsoever he knows has not been transferred through the words; his experience is left behind. Only words have gone to you, dead, stale, empty. Words can be communicated but not truth. It can only be indicated.”
Ready to take the plunge and know for yourself ? Or wait and hope that the Man of Salt comes back :).
Thank You Master. Guru – defined by Osho