All debates are futile and stupid. Debate as such is foolish, because no one can reach the truth through discussion, through debate. You may get a night’s shelter, but that’s all. Hence the tradition. The tradition is beautiful. In any Zen monastery in Japan, for many centuries, if you ask for shelter you have to discuss. If you win the debate, you can stay for the night – this is very symbolic – but only for the night. In the morning you have to move on. This indicates that through debate, logic, reasoning, you can never reach the goal, only a night’s shelter. And don’t deceive yourself that the night’s shelter is the goal. You have to move on. In the morning you have to again be on your feet. But many have deceived themselves. They think that whatsoever they have attained through logic is the goal. The night’s shelter has become the ultimate. They are not moving, and many mornings have passed.
Logic can lead to hypothetical conclusions, never to truth. Logic can lead to something which approximates truth, but never to the truth. And remember, that which approximates the truth is also a lie, because what does it mean? Either something is true or not true; there is no in-between. Either something is true or it is not true. You cannot say that this is a halftruth; there is nothing like that – just like there cannot be a half-circle, because the very word circle means the full. Half-circles don’t exist. If it is half, it is not a circle. Half-truths don’t exist. Truth is the whole, you cannot have it in fragments, you cannot have it in parts. Approximate truth is a deception, but logic can lead only to the deception. You may have a shelter for the night, just to retire, relax, but don’t make it your home. By the morning you have to move again, the journey cannot end there. Every morning it will begin again and again. Relax in the logic, in the reasoning, but don’t remain with it, don’t become static with it – and continually remember that you have to move.
The tradition is beautiful. So one thing to be understood about the tradition and the meaning; it is symbolic. Second thing: all discussions are foolish, because through the mood of discussion you can never understand the other. Whatsoever he says is misunderstood. A mind which is bent on winning, conquering, cannot understand. It is impossible, because understanding needs a nonviolent mind. When you are seeking how to be victorious, you are violent. Debate is violence. You can kill through it, you cannot revive through it. You cannot give life through it, you can murder through it. Truths can be murdered through debate, but they cannot be resurrected. It is violence; the very attitude is violent. Really, you are not asking for the truth, you are asking for the victory. When victory is the goal, truth will be sacrificed. When truth is the goal, you can sacrifice victory also. And truth should be the goal, not victory, because when victory is the goal you are a politician, not a religious man.
You are aggressive, you are trying somehow to overpower the other, you are trying somehow to dominate and domineer. And truth can never become a domination, it can never destroy the other. Truth can never be a victory in the sense that you have overpowered the other. Truth brings humility, humbleness. It is not an ego-trip – but all debates are ego-trips. So debate can never lead to the real; it always leads to the unreal, the untruth, because the very phenomenon that you are after, victory, is stupid. Truth wins, not you, not I. In discussion you win or I win, truth never wins. Real seekers will allow the truth to win both. Debaters are asking that the victory should belong to me, it should not belong to the other. In truth, there is no other. In truth, we meet and become one. So who can be the winner and who can be the loser? In truth, no one is defeated. In truth, truth wins and we are lost. But in discussion I am I and you are you; really there is no bridge. How can you understand the other when you are against him?
Understanding is impossible. Understanding needs sympathy, understanding needs a participation. Understanding means listening to the other totally, only then understanding flowers. But if you are discussing something, debating, arguing, reasoning, you are not listening to the other, you only pretend that you are listening. Deep down you are preparing, deep down you have already moved to the next step – when the other stops, what you are going to say. You are getting ready how to refute him. You have not listened to him and you are trying to refute him! Really, truth is not significant in a discussion, in a debate. So debate is never a communication, and it is impossible through debate to come to a communion. You can argue, and the more you argue… you fall apart. The more you argue, the bigger the gap is, it becomes an abyss; there can be no meeting ground. That’s why philosophers never meet, pundits never meet: they are great arguers. An abyss exists. They cannot meet with the other – impossible. Only lovers can meet, but lovers cannot be in a debate – they can communicate.
That’s why so much insistence in the East for shraddha – trust, faith. If you argue with your master the gap widens. Then it is better to move; then let this master be a night’s shelter, but move. Being with him will not lead you anywhere, the gap will widen. If you are argumentative, then the gap cannot be bridged. It is impossible. Trust means sympathy; trust means you are not arguing – you have come to listen, not to argue. You have come to understand, not to debate. You have not come to win; rather, you are ready to lose. A real disciple is always in search of being defeated by the master. That is the greatest moment in the life of the disciple, when he is completely destroyed and defeated. Not that the master is going to win; he is going to be defeated, the disciple is going to be defeated. And when the disciple is there no more – completely defeated, disappeared – only then the gap is bridged, the abyss is gone, and the master can penetrate you. Hence, it happened: Jesus was wandering all over his country, but all the disciples that he could gather were simple men, not a single educated person, not a single scholar. Not that there were not scholars; there were great scholars at that time.
Jews were at the peak of their glory, that’s why they could produce such a son as Jesus. Jesus was the culmination. Jesus could happen – that shows that the Jews touched their peak. Never again would they reach to such a peak. There were great scholars, great debates were arranged. The Jewish synagogue was the seat of learning, a real university. People would travel from all over the country to discuss, to debate, to argue, to find; but it was an argument. Not a single scholar followed Jesus. Really, all the scholars were unanimously agreed that this man should be destroyed. All the scholars, learned people, were ready to kill this man. Why? – because this man was against argument. He was pulling at their very base; the whole structure would fall down. This man was saying something against reason. He was talking about faith, he was talking about love, he was talking about how to create a bridge between two hearts. Debate is between two minds, two heads; love, communication, trust, is between two hearts. He was opening a new route – of friendship, of discipleship, of growth. He was thinking in terms of a totally different dimension – the quality was different. He was saying, ”Put aside your scriptures.
Your bibles are not needed, because they are only words.” The scholar, the pundit, couldn’t tolerate it. Jesus was crucified. He could only find simple people: a fisherman, a woodcutter, a shoemaker – simple men. All his disciples, except Judas, were uneducated. Only Judas was really cultured, a refined gentleman, and he sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. This cultured, refined Judas betrayed him, and Jesus knew that if anybody can betray him it is Judas. Why? Because the heart can be betrayed only by the head. Love can only be betrayed by logic; nothing else can betray. So this is the second thing to remember before I enter the story; that through logic, through the head, argumentativeness, you become alien, strangers to each other; the bridge between is lost. How can you attain to the truth when you cannot understand the other, when you are not even capable of listening to him, when your mind goes on and on inside arguing, fighting? You are violent, aggressive. This aggression will not help. So all debates are futile, they never lead anywhere. Even if you feel that a conclusion is reached, the conclusion is forced; it is not reached through discussion.
You can silence the other but conviction never comes out of it, never. And I say it categorically: never. If you have some logical tricks, you can silence the other. He may not be able to answer you. You know more than he knows. You know more tricks than he knows. You can put him in a corner through words and reasoning and he is unable to answer. But this is not the way to convince him. Deep down he knows that, ”Some day I will find more tricks and put you right in your place. Right now I cannot answer. Okay, I accept defeat.” He is defeated, but not won over. And these are two different things. When you win a heart he is not defeated – he is happy. He is victorious in your victory, he participates. It is not your victory – truth has won, and you both can celebrate. But when you defeat a person, he is never won over; he remains the enemy. Deep down he is waiting for the right moment when he can assert himself. No debate can become a conviction. And if conviction is not reached, where is the conclusion? The conclusion is forced, it is always premature. It is just like an abortion, it is not a natural birth. You have forced – a dead child is born or a crippled child, who is going to remain crippled, weak and dead his whole life.
Socrates used to say, ”I am a midwife, I help natural birth.” A master is a midwife. He is not going to force, because a forced birth cannot be a real birth. It is more like death and less like life. So a master is never argumentative. And if sometimes he appears to be argumentative, he is just playing with you – and playing for a certain reason. Don’t become a victim. He is playing for a certain reason; he can be argumentative just to find whether your argumentativeness is aroused or not. If it is aroused, you have missed. If you can listen to his argumentativeness without becoming argumentative, he will not play the game with you. He has to look within you. You may be consciously listening, unconsciously argumentative. Then he has to bring your unconscious up so that you can become aware of it. Sometimes a master will look as if he is aggressive, as if he is bent upon defeating you. But he is never bent upon your defeat – just to defeat your ego, not you; just to destroy your ego, not you. And remember: the ego is the poison, it is destroying you. Once the poison is destroyed you will be free and alive for the first time.
An abundance of light will happen to you for the first time. He is destroying the disease, not you. Sometimes he may have to be argumentative. There have been masters who were very argumentative. It was impossible to defeat them, impossible to play the game of words with them. But they were just helping to bring your consciousness up, so that you can become aware whether your faith is true or not. It happened: a Sufi, Junnaid, was living with his master. And the master was so argumentative that whatsoever you said, he would immediately negate it. If you said, ”It is day,” he would say, ”No, it is night” – and it was really not so, it was day. Whatsoever Junnaid would say, he would always find that the master would negate it. And he would simply bow down his head and say, ”Yes, Master, it is night.”
One day the master said, ”Junnaid, you have won. I couldn’t create argumentativeness in you. And I was so obviously false that anybody who had never argued anything would say, ’What foolishness. It is day. There is no need to argue, it is so obvious.’ And still you said, ’Yes, Master, it is night.’ Your trust is deep. Now I will never be argumentative with you, now I can talk truth, because you are ready.” When the heart says yes totally, then you are ready to listen. And only then the truth can be revealed to you. If even a slight no remains within you, the truth cannot be said to you, because that ’no’ will destroy the whole thing. The no, howsoever small, is powerful, very powerful; then the truth will be said but it will not be revealed to you. The no will hide it again. That’s why I say all debates are futile. And that’s why I go on repeating again and again that the whole effort of philosophy has been useless. It has not reached any conclusion – it cannot.