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Chapter-1 The qualities of the child

It is the child’s experience that haunts intelligent people their whole life. They want it again — the same innocence, the same wonder, the same beauty. It is now a faraway echo; it seems as if you have seen it in a dream.But the whole of religion is born out of the haunting childhood experience of wonder, of truth, of beauty, of life in its beautiful dance all around. In the songs of the birds, in the colors of the rainbows, in the fragrance of the flowers the child goes on remembering deep in his being that he has lost a paradise.
It is not a coincidence that all the religions of the world have the idea in parables that once man lived in paradise and somehow, for some reason he has been expelled from that paradise. They are different stories, different parables, but signifying one simple truth: these stories are just a poetic way to say that every man is born in paradise and then loses it. The retarded, the unintelligent completely forget about it.
But the intelligent, the sensitive, the creative go on being haunted by the paradise that they have known once and now only a faint memory, unbelievable, has remained with them. They start searching for it again.
The search for paradise is the search for your childhood again. Of course your body will no more be a child’s, but your consciousness can be as pure as the consciousness of the child. This is the whole secret of the mystical path: to make you a child again, innocent, unpolluted by any knowledge, not knowing anything, still aware of everything that surrounds you, with a deep wonder and a sense of a mystery that cannot be demystified.
(Satyam ShivamSundram, Chapter-1, Q-1)


Nobody allows their children to dance and to sing and to shout and to jump. For trivial reasons — perhaps something may get broken, perhaps they may get their clothes wet in the rain if they run out — for these small things a great spiritual quality, playfulness, is completely destroyed.
The obedient child is praised by his parents, by his teachers, by everybody; and the playful child is condemned. His playfulness may be absolutely harmless, but he is condemned because there is potentially a danger of rebellion. If the child goes on growing with full freedom to be playful, he will turn out to be a rebel. He will not be easily enslaved; he will not be easily put into armies to destroy people, or to be destroyed himself.
The rebellious child will turn out to be a rebellious youth. Then you cannot force marriage on him; then you cannot force him into a particular job; then the child cannot be forced to fulfill the unfulfilled desires and longings of the parents. The rebellious youth will go his own way. He will live his life according to his own innermost desires — not according to somebody else’s ideals.
The rebel is basically natural. The obedient child is almost dead; hence the parents are very happy, because he is always under control.
Man is strangely sick: he wants to control people — in controlling people your ego is fulfilled, you are somebody special — and he himself also wants to be controlled, because by being controlled you are no longer responsible.
For all these reasons, playfulness is stifled, crushed from the very beginning.
You are asking, “There is a beautiful small boy within me, whom I have neglected for a long time. This small boy is playful, curious, and ecstatic — but most of the time I do not allow him to lose control.” What is the fear? The fear is implanted by others: always remain in control, always remain disciplined, always respect those who are older than you. Always follow the priest, the parents, the teachers — they know what is right for you. Your nature is never allowed to have its say.
Slowly, slowly you start carrying a dead child within yourself. This dead child within you destroys your sense of humor: you cannot laugh with your total heart, you cannot play, you cannot enjoy the small things of life. You become so serious that your life, rather then expanding, starts shrinking.
I have always wondered why Christianity has become the world’s greatest religion. Again and again I have come to the conclusion that it is because of the cross and the crucified Jesus — so sad, so serious; naturally… you cannot expect Jesus to be smiling on the cross. And millions of people have found a similarity between themselves and Jesus on the cross.
Its seriousness, its sadness, has been the reason that Christianity has spread more than any other religion.
I would like our churches and temples, our mosques, our synagogues to become nonserious, more playful, full of laughter and joy. That would bring to humanity a more healthy, wholesome, integrated soul.
But you are here…. At least being my sannyasin you need not carry your cross on your shoulders. Drop the cross. I teach you to dance, to sing, to play.
Life should be, each moment, a precious creativity. What you create does not matter — it may be just sandcastles on the seashore — but whatever you do should come out of your playfulness and joy.
(Excerpt from: The Rebellious Spirit, Chapter-17, Q-1)


Intelligence is not something that is acquired, it is inbuilt, it is inborn, it is intrinsic to life itself. Not only children are intelligent, animals are intelligent in their own way, trees are intelligent in their own way. Of course they all have different kinds of intelligences because their needs differ, but now it is an established fact that all that lives is intelligent. Life cannot be without intelligence; to be alive and to be intelligent are synonymous.
But man is in a dilemma for the simple reason that he is not only intelligent, he is also aware of his intelligence. That is something unique about man, his privilege, his prerogative, his glory, but it can turn very easily into his agony. Man is conscious that he is intelligent; that consciousness brings its own problems. The first problem is that it creates ego.
Ego does not exist anywhere else except in human beings, and ego starts growing as the child grows. The parents, the schools, colleges, university, they all help to strengthen the ego for the simple reason that for centuries man had to struggle to survive and the idea has become a fixation, a deep unconscious conditioning, that only strong egos can survive in the struggle of life. Life has become just a struggle to survive. And scientists have made it even more convincing with the theory of the survival of the fittest. So we help every child to become more and more strong in the ego, and it is there that the problem arises.
As the ego becomes strong it starts surrounding intelligence like a thick layer of darkness. Intelligence is light, ego is darkness. Intelligence is very delicate, ego is very hard. Intelligence is like a rose flower, ego is like a rock. And if you want to survive, they say — the so-called knowers — then you have to become rock-like, you have to be strong, invulnerable. You have to become a citadel, a closed citadel, so you cannot be attacked from outside. You have to become impenetrable.
But then you become closed. Then you start dying as far as your intelligence is concerned because intelligence needs the open sky, the wind, the air, the sun in order to grow, to expand, to flow. To remain alive it needs a constant flow; if it becomes stagnant it becomes slowly slowly a dead phenomenon.
We don’t allow children to remain intelligent. The first thing is that if they are intelligent they will be vulnerable, they will be delicate, they will be open. If they are intelligent they will be able to see many falsities in the society, in the state, in the church, in the educational system. They will become rebellious. They will be individuals; they will not be cowed easily. You can crush them, but you cannot enslave them You can destroy them, but you cannot force them to compromise.
In one sense intelligence is very soft, like a rose flower, in another sense it has its own strength. But that strength is subtle, not gross. That strength is the strength of rebellion, of a non-compromising attitude. One is ready to die, one is ready to suffer, but one is not ready to sell one’s soul.
And the whole society needs slaves; it needs people who function like robots, machines. It does not want people, it wants ancient mechanisms. Hence the whole conditioning is: make the ego strong. It serves a double purpose. First: it gives the person the feeling that now he can struggle in life. And secondly: it serves the purposes of all the vested interests. They can exploit him; they can use him as a means to their own ends.
Hence the whole educational system rotates around the idea of ambition; it creates ambitiousness. Ambitiousness is nothing but ego. “Become the first, become the most famous. Become a prime minister or a president. Become world known Leave your name in history.” It does not teach you to live totally, it does not teach you to love totally, it does not teach you to live gracefully, it teaches you how to exploit others for your own purposes. And we think that the people who are clever are the ones who succeed. They are cunning, but we call them clever. They are not intelligent people.
An intelligent person can never use another person as a means; he will respect the other. An intelligent person will be able to see the equality of all. Yes, he will see the differences too, but differences make no difference as far as equality is concerned. He will have tremendous respect for others’ freedom — he cannot exploit them, he cannot reduce them into things, he cannot make them stepping stones to the fulfillment of some absurd desire to be the first. Hence we go on conditioning children, and the question arises…
Your question is relevant, Gautami, because it is not only I who am saying that children are intelligent, it has been said by Buddha, by Lao Tzu, by Jesus, by all the awakened ones. Jesus says: Unless you are like a small child there is no hope for you. Again he says: Unless you become like small children you cannot enter into my kingdom of God. Again and again he repeats one of his most famous beatitudes: Blessed are those who are the last in this world, because they will be the first in my kingdom of God. He is teaching non-ambitiousness — to be the last. He says: Blessed are the meek, for theirs is the kingdom of God — the meek, the humble, the people who are standing last in the queue. It was natural, very natural that the society he was born in was against him because he was destroying the very roots of their ambitiousness.
And Jews have always been very ambitious people, so much so that for centuries, against all hazards, they have carried the idea in their minds that they are the chosen people of God. A thousand and one calamities have happened because of this stupid idea; if they can drop it they will be more acceptable in the world. But they cannot drop it — their whole ego is involved in it. And it is an ancient ego, at least three thousand years old. Since Moses they have been carrying the idea that they are the chosen people of God.
And here comes this man who says, “Be the last”! “We are meant to be the first, and he says, ‘Be humble and meek’! And we are the chosen people; if we are humble and meek then those who are not chosen will become the first!” And Jews are earthly people; they don’t bother much about the other world. They are worldly. “Who knows about the other world? He is saying, ‘If you are the last here you will be the first in my kingdom of God.’ But where is your kingdom of God? It may be just a fiction, just a dream.”
Jesus looks like a dreamer, a poet maybe, but he is destroying their very foundation. They cannot forgive him; they have not even forgiven him yet. They still carry the idea that “we are the chosen people.” They have suffered much for it; the more they have suffered the stronger the idea has become — because if you have to face suffering you have to become more and more egoistic, more rock-like so that you can fight, struggle, so that nobody can destroy you. But they have also become very closed.
Jesus was creating an opening for them; they refused him. He was telling them to come into the open sky. He was telling them to be just ordinary: “Drop this nonsense of being special.” If they had listened to Jesus their whole history would have been different, but they could not listen
Hindus have not listened to Buddha for the simple reason — the same reason — that Hindus are also carrying the idea they are the holiest people in the world and their land is the holiest land. Even gods long to I e born in India! No other country is so holy. And Buddha said, “This is all nonsense!” They had to reject him. Buddhism was thrown out of this country. No society can tolerate such people, who are telling the truth, because they seem to sabotage the very structure.
But now the time has come when we have suffered enough. All over the world, in different ways, people have suffered much, and it is time to have a look at history and its stupidity and its ridiculousness and drop the whole idea of these egoistic patterns.
Watch small children, Gautami, and then you will not ask me — you will see their intelligence. Yes, they are not knowledgeable. If you want them to be knowledgeable, then you will not think that they are intelligent. If you ask them questions which depend on information, then they will look not intelligent. But ask them real questions which have nothing to do with information, which need an immediate response, and see — they are far more intelligent than you are. Of course your ego won’t allow you to accept it, but if you can accept it, it will help tremendously. It will help you, it will help your children, because if you can see their intelligence you can learn much from them.
A Sufi mystic, Hasan, was dying. When he was dying a man asked him, “Hasan, you have never told us who your Master was. We have asked again and again; you always somehow managed not to answer it. Now you are leaving the world. Please tell us who your Master was. We are very curious.”
Hasan said, “I never answered the question for the simple reason that there has not been just a single Master in my life, I have learned from many people. My first teacher was a small child.”
They were puzzled. They said, “A small child! What are you saying? Have you lost your senses because you are dying? Have you gone mad, crazy?”
He said, “No, listen to the story. I went into a town. Although I had not known the truth up to that time, I was very knowledgeable. I was a scholar. I was well known all over the country; even outside the country my name was spreading. People had started coming to me thinking that I knew it. I was pretending that I knew it, and I was pretending without knowing that I was pretending — I was almost unconscious. Because people believed that I knew they convinced me that I must be right, I must be knowing, otherwise why should so many people be coming to me? I had become a teacher. Without knowing, without experiencing anything of truth, without ever entering into my own inner world, I was talking about great things. I knew all the scriptures; they were on the tip of my tongue.
“But for three days I was moving in a country where nobody knew me and I was very much hankering to find somebody to ask me something so that I could show my knowledge.”
Knowledgeable people become very exhibitionistic; that is their whole joy. If a knowledgeable person has to remain silent he would rather commit suicide. Then what is the point of living in the world? He has to exhibit his knowledge. Only a wise man can be silent. For the wise man to speak is almost a burden; he speaks because he has to speak. The knowledgeable person speaks because he cannot remain silent. There is a vast difference; you may not be able to know it from the outside because both speak. The Buddha speaks, Jesus speaks, and Hasan was also speaking. And they all say beautiful things. Sometimes the knowledgeable people say wiser things than the wise people because the wise persons may speak in contradictions, in paradoxes, but the knowledgeable person is always logical, consistent; he has all the proofs and arguments, he has all the scriptures to support him.
But for three days he had to keep silent. It was almost like fasting, and he was feeling hungry — hungry for an audience, hungry for somebody. But he had not come across anybody who knew him so nobody asked anything.
He entered this town. It was just getting a little dark, the sun had just set. A small child was carrying an earthen lamp, and he asked the child, “My son, can I ask you a question? Where are you taking this earthen lamp?”
And the child said, “I am going to the temple. My mother has told me to put this lamp there because the temple is dark. And this has been my mother’s habit: to always put a lamp there in the night so at least the god of the temple does not have to live in darkness.”
Hasan asked the child, “You seem to be very intelligent. Can you tell me one thing — did you light this lamp yourself?”
The child said, “Yes.”
Then Hasan said, “A third question, the last question I want to ask you: if you lit the lamp yourself, can you tell me where the flame came from? You must have seen it coming from somewhere.”
The child laughed and he said, “I will do one thing — just see!” And he blew the flame out and he said, “The flame has gone just in front of you. Can you tell me where it has gone? You must have seen!”
And Hasan was utterly dumb; he could not answer. The child had shown him that his question, although it looked very relevant, meaningful, was absurd. He bowed down to the child, touched his feet.
He said to the inquirer, “That child was my first Master. That very moment I realized all my metaphysics, all my philosophy was meaningless. I didn’t know a thing on my own. I didn’t even know from where the light comes into a lamp, where it goes to when the light has been put out — and I have been talking about who made the world, how he made the world, when he made the world! For that moment I have always remembered the child. He may have forgotten me, he may not even recognize me, but I cannot forget that incident.
“And since then thousands of people have taught me. I have avoided the question again and again because there is not a single person I can call my Master. Many have been my Masters, I have learned from many sources, and from each source I have learned one thing: that unless you know through your own experience, all knowledge is futile.
“Then I dropped all my learning, all my knowing; all my scriptures I burned. I dropped the idea of being a scholar, I forgot all my fame. I started moving like a beggar, absolutely unknown to anybody. And slowly slowly, going deeper into meditation, I discovered my own intelligence.”
Even though the society destroys your intelligence it cannot destroy it totally; it only covers it with many layers of information.
And that’s the whole function of meditation: to take you deeper into yourself. It is a method of digging into your own being to the point when you come to the living waters of your own intelligence, when you discover the springs of your own intelligence. When you have discovered your child again, when you are reborn, then, only then will you understand what I have been meaning by emphasizing again and again that children are really intelligent.
But start watching children, their responses — not their answers but their responses. Don’t ask them foolish questions, ask them something immediate which does not depend on information and see their response.
The mother was preparing little Pedro to go to a party. When she finished combing his hair she straightened his shirt collar and said, “Go now, son. Have a good time… and behave yourself!”
“Come on, mother!” said Pedro. “Please decide before I leave which it is going to be!”
You see the point? The mother was saying, “Have a good time… and behave yourself.” Now, both things cannot be done together. And the child’s response is really of tremendous value. He says, “Please decide before I leave which it is going to be. If you allow me to have a good time, then I cannot behave; if you want me to behave, then I cannot have a good time.” The child can see the contradiction so clearly; it may not have been apparent to the mother.
A passerby asks a boy, “Son, can you please tell me what time it is?”
“Yes, of course,” replies the boy, “but what do you need it for? It changes continuously!”
A new transit sign was put in front of the school. It read: “Drive Slowly. Do Not Kill a Student!”
The following day there was another sign under it scribbled in a childish writing: “Wait for the Teacher!”
Little Pierino comes home from school with a big smile on his face.
“Well, dear, you look very happy. So you like school, do you?”
“Don’t be silly, mom,” replies the boy. “We must not confuse the going with the coming back!”
While slowly walking to school the little boy prays, “Dear God, please do not let me arrive at school late. I pray you, God, let me arrive at school on time…”
At this moment he slips on a banana peel and slides on the path for a few meters. Pulling himself up he looks at the sky annoyed and says, “Okay, okay, God, there is no need to push!”
A little boy is having a test with a psychologist. “What do you want to do when you grow up?” asks the shrink.
“I want to become a doctor or a painter or a window washer!” replies the boy.
Puzzled, the psychologist asks, “But… you aren’t very clear, are you?”
“Why not? I’m very clear. I want to see naked women!”
The father was telling stories to his sons in the living room after dinner. “My great-grandfather fought in the war against Rosas, my uncle fought in the war against the Kaiser, my grandfather fought in the war of Spain against the Republicans and my father fought in the Second World War against the Germans.”
To which the smallest son replied, “Shit! What’s wrong with this family? They can’t relate to anybody!”
(Excerpt from: Tao: The Golden Gate, Vol-1, Chapter-7)


Small children are innocent; but they have not earned it, it is natural. They are ignorant really, but their ignorance is better than the so-called learning, because the learned person is simply covering his ignorance with words, theories, ideologies, philosophies, dogmas, creeds. He is trying to cover up his ignorance, but just scratch him a little bit and you will find inside nothing but darkness, nothing but ignorance.
A child, Maria, is in a far better state than the learned person.But one thing is absolutely bound to happen: he will have to go through learning; this is part of life’s experience. Unless you lose something, unless something is lost, you don’t recognize its value. It happens every day: whenever something is available to you, you start taking it for granted, you forget all about it.
A woman loves you and you don’t take much notice of it, you are not even thankful to her. The day she dies or goes away from you, then suddenly you feel something inside is missing. It is like the fish: if you take it out of the ocean, then it knows that the ocean was a blessing. Unless you take the fish out of the ocean it will never know — it will never know that it exists in the ocean, that it is a great gift that she or he is in the ocean. The fish has to be thrown on the bank, on the hot sand in the burning sun, then only will understanding dawn. And if the fish can reach the ocean again it is going to be tremendously thankful to the ocean.
This is what happens. Learning is bound to happen — it is part of growth; you have to lose your innocence. But if you remain just a learned man your whole life and you never lose your learning, then you are stupid, then you have behaved in an idiotic way.
Children are in a far better space because they can see things. Even though they are ignorant they are spontaneous, even though they are ignorant they have insights of tremendous value.
A little boy, seized with hiccups, cried, ‘Mommy, I am coughing backwards!’
A small boy was brought to a psychiatrist’s office for an examination by the mother who was a chatterbox. The psychiatrist examined the little fellow and was surprised that he hardly paid any attention to the questions.
‘Do you have trouble hearing?’ the psychiatrist asked him.
‘No,’ replied the lad. ‘I have trouble listening.’
You see the insight? Hearing and listening are tremendously different. The child said, ‘I have no difficulty in hearing, but I am tired of listening. One has to hear — the chatterbox mother is there — but I have trouble listening. I cannot pay attention.’ The mother and her being a chatterbox have destroyed something valuable in the child: his attentiveness. He is utterly bored.
The second grade teacher had sent the children to the board to work out arithmetic problems. One little fellow said, ‘I ain’t got no chalk.’
‘That’s not right,’ the teacher said. ‘The right way to say it is, “I don’t have any chalk, you don’t have any chalk, we don’t have any chalk, they don’t have any chalk.” Now do you understand?’
‘No,’ said the little boy. ‘What happened to all the chalk?’
The clock had just struck 3 a.m. when the minister’s teenage daughter returned from a dance. The minister and his wife had been waiting up for the girl, and as she came in the front door he said to her rather scornfully, ‘Good morning, child of the devil.’
Speaking sweetly, as any child should, she said, ‘Good morning, father.’
The teacher was trying to teach subtraction. ‘Now, Hugh,’ she said, ‘if your father earned $180 a week and if they deducted $6 for insurance, $10.80 for social security, and $24 for taxes, and then if he gave your mother half, what would she have?’
‘A heart attack!’ the kid said.
Supper was over. The father of the house and his nine-year-old son were in the living room watching television. Mother and daughter were in the kitchen, washing up the supper dishes. Suddenly the father and son heard a terrible crashing sound of something being broken in the kitchen. They waited for a moment in shock but did not hear a sound.
‘It was Mom who broke the dish,’ said the boy.
‘How do you know?’ his father asked.
‘Because,’ replied his son, ‘she’s not saying anything!’
From the kitchen came the sound of the crash of either broken glass or broken china.
‘Willy,’ cried his mother from the living room. ‘What on earth are you doing in the kitchen?’
‘Nothing,’ Willy said, ‘it’s already done!’
A salesman who had been working in the New England area was being transferred to California. The move had been the principal topic of conversation around the house for weeks.
Then the night before the big move, when his five-year-old daughter was saying her prayers, she said, ‘And now, God, I will have to say goodbye forever because tomorrow we are moving to California!’
(Excerpt from: Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap and Zing, Chapter- 2, Q-3)
Innocence is courage and clarity both.
There is no need to have courage if you are innocent. There is no need, either, for any clarity because nothing can be more clear, crystal clear, than innocence. So the whole question is how to protect one’s own innocence.
Innocence is not something to be achieved.
It is not something to be learned.
It is not something like a talent: painting, music, poetry, sculpture. It is not like those things. It is more like breathing, something you are born with.
Innocence is everybody’s nature.
Nobody is born other than innocent.
How can one be born other than innocent? Birth means you have entered the world as a tabula rasa, nothing is written on you. You have only future, no past. That is the meaning of innocence. So first try to understand all the meanings of innocence.
The first is: no past, only future.
The past corrupts because it gives you memories, experiences, expectations. All those combined together make you clever but not clear. They make you cunning but not intelligent. They may help you to succeed in the world but in your innermost being you will be a failure. And all the success of the world means nothing compared to the failure that finally you are going to face, because ultimately only your inner self remains with you. All is lost: your glory, your power, your name, your fame — all start disappearing like shadows.
At the end only that remains which you had brought in the very beginning. You can take from this world only that which you have brought in.
In India it is common wisdom that the world is like a waiting room in a railway station; it is not your house. You are not going to remain in the waiting room forever. Nothing in the waiting room belongs to you — the furniture, the paintings on the wall …. You use them — you see the painting, you sit on the chair, you rest on the bed — but nothing belongs to you. You are just here for a few minutes, or for a few hours at the most, then you will be gone.
Yes, what you have brought in with you, into the waiting room, you will take away with you; that’s yours. What have you brought into the world? And the world certainly is a waiting room. The waiting may not be in seconds, minutes, hours, days, it may be in years; but what does it matter whether you wait seven hours, or seventy years?
You may forget, in seventy years, that you are just in a waiting room. You may start thinking perhaps you are the owner, perhaps this is the house you have built. You may start putting your nameplate on the waiting room.
There are people — I have seen it, because I was traveling so much: people have written their names in the bathrooms of the waiting room. People have engraved their names on the furniture of the waiting room. It looks stupid, but it is very similar to what people do in the world. There is a very significant story in ancient Jainascriptures ….
In India it is believed that if somebody can become the emperor of the whole world he is called a chakravartin. The word chakravartin simply means … CHAKRA means the wheel. In ancient India it was a way to avoid unnecessary fighting and violence: a chariot, a golden chariot, very valuable, with beautiful and strong horses, would move from one kingdom to another kingdom. If the other kingdom did not resist and let the chariot pass, that meant that kingdom had accepted the owner of the chariot as its superior. Then there was no need to fight.
This way the chariot would move, and wherever people obstructed the chariot, then there would be war. If the chariot was not obstructed anywhere, then without any war, the superiority of the king was proved: he become a chakravartin — one whose wheel has moved around and whom nobody has been able to obstruct. This has been the desire of all the kings, to become a chakravartin.
Certainly it needs more power than Alexander the Great had. Just to send your chariot … it needs tremendous power to support it. It needs the absolute certainty that if the chariot is obstructed there is going to be a mass slaughter. It means the man is recognized already, that if he wants to conquer anybody there is no way to prevent him conquering you.
But it is a very symbolic way, more civilized than …. There is no need to attack, there is no need to start killing; just send a symbolic message. So with the flag of the king, the chariot will go, and if the other king feels that there is no point in resisting — fighting simply means defeat and unnecessary violence, destruction — he welcomes the chariot, and in his capital, flowers are thrown over the chariot.
This seems to be a far more civilized way than what the Soviet Union and America are going to do. Just send a beautiful chariot — but that means your strength should be something absolutely certain to you; and not only to you, it should be certain to everybody else. Only then can such a symbol be of any help. So every king had the desire to become a chakravartin someday.
The story is that one man became a chakravartin — and it happens only once in thousands of years that a man becomes a chakravartin. Even Alexander the Great was not a world conqueror; there was yet much left unconquered. And he died very young, he was only thirty-three: there was not even time enough to conquer the world. What to say of conquering, the whole world was not even known. Half of the world was unknown, and the half that was known, even that was not conquered. This man, of whom I am going to tell you the story, became the chakravartin.
It is said that when a chakravartin dies — because a chakravartin happens only in thousands of years, he is a rare being — when he dies he is received in heaven with great rejoicings and he is taken to a special place.
In Jaina mythology, in heaven there is a parallel mountain to the Himalayas. The Himalayas are just made of rocks and earth and ice. The parallel Himalayas in heaven is called Sumeru. Sumeru means the ultimate mountain: nothing can be higher than that, nothing can be better than that. It is solid gold; instead of rocks there are diamonds and rubies and emeralds.
When a chakravartin dies he is led to Sumerumountain to engrave his name on it. That is a rare opportunity; that happens only once in thousands of years. Of course this man was immensely excited that he was going to write his name on Sumeru. That is the ultimate catalogue of all the great ones that have been, and will also be the catalogue of all the great ones who are going to be. This emperor was becoming party to a lineage of supermen.
The gatekeeper gave him the instruments to engrave his name. He wanted a few of his men who had committed suicide just because their emperor was dying — they could not think of living without him. His wife, his prime minister, his commander-in-chief — all the great people who were around him, they all had committed suicide, so they had come with him.
The emperor wanted the gatekeeper to let them all come to see him engrave his name, because what is the joy if you go alone and engrave your name and nobody is there even to see? — because the real joy is that the whole world should see.
The gatekeeper said, “You listen to my advice, because this is my inherited profession. My father was a gatekeeper, his father was a gatekeeper; for centuries we have been gatekeepers to Sumeru mountain. Listen to my advice: Don’t take them with you; otherwise you will repent.”
The emperor could not understand, but he could not even go against his advice — because what interest could that man have in preventing him?
The gatekeeper said, “If you still want them to see, first go engrave your name; then come back and take them with you if you want. I have no objection even now if you want to take them, but just in case you decide not to, then there will be no place, no chance … they will be with you. You go alone.” This was perfectly sane advice.
The emperor said, “That’s good. I will go alone, engrave my name, come back, and call you all.”
The gatekeeper said, “I am perfectly agreeable to that.”
The emperor went and he saw the Sumeru shining under thousands of suns — because in heaven you cannot be so poor as to have just one sun — thousands of suns, and a golden mountain far bigger than the Himalayas — and the Himalayas are almost two thousands miles long! He could not open his eyes for a moment, it was so glaring there. And then he started looking for a space, the right space, but he was very much puzzled: there was no space; the whole mountain was engraved with names.
He could not believe his eyes. For the first time he became aware what he was. Up to now he was thinking he was a superman who happens once in thousands of years. But time has been from eternity; even thousands of years didn’t make any difference, so many chakravartins had happened already. There was no space on that biggest mountain in the whole universe where he could write his small name.
He came back, and now he understood that the gatekeeper was right not to take his wife and his commander-in-chief and his prime minister and other intimate friends. It was good that they had not seen the situation. They would still believe that their emperor was a rare being.
He took the gatekeeper inside and he said, “But there is no space!”
The gatekeeper said, “That’s what I was telling you. What you have to do is to erase a few names and write down your name. That’s what has been done; my whole life I have been seeing this done, my father used to say this has been done. My father’s father — none of my family have seen Sumeru empty, or any space ever.
“Whenever a chakravartin has come he had to erase a few names and write his own name. So this is not the whole history of the chakravartins. Many times it has been erased, many times it has been engraved. You just do your work, and then if you want to show your friends you can bring them in.”
The emperor said, “No, I don’t want to show them and I don’t want to even write my name. What is the point? — someday somebody will come and erase it.
“My whole life has become utterly meaningless. This was my only hope, thatSumeru, the golden mountain in heaven was going to have my name. For this I have lived, for this I have staked my life; for this I was ready to kill the whole world. And anybody else can erase my name and write his. What is the point of writing it? I will not write it.” The gatekeeper laughed.
The emperor said, “Why are you laughing?”
The gatekeeper said, “This is strange, because this too I have been hearing from my grandfathers — thatchakravartins come, and seeing the whole story, just turn back; they don’t write their names. You are not new: anybody having a little intelligence would do the same.”
In this whole world what can you gain?
What can you take away with you?
Your name, your prestige, your respectability? Your money, your power — what? Your scholarship?
You cannot take anything.
Everything will have to be dropped here.
And in that moment you will understand that all that you possessed was not yours; the very idea of possession was wrong. And because of that possession you were corrupted.
To increase that possession — to have more money, to have more power, to conquer more lands — you were doing things which even you cannot say were right. You were lying, you were dishonest. You were having hundreds of faces. You were not true even for a single moment to anybody or to yourself; you could not be.
You had to be false, phony, pretending, because these are things that help you to succeed in the world. Authenticity is not going to help you. Honesty is not going to help you. Truthfulness is not going to help you.
Without possessions, success, fame; who are you?
You don’t know.
You are your name, you are your fame, you are your prestige, your power. But other than these, who are you?
So this whole possessiveness becomes your identity. It gives you a false sense of being.
That’s the ego.
Ego is not something mysterious, it is a very simple phenomenon. You don’t know who you are, and to live without knowing who you are is impossible. If I don’t know who I am, then what am I doing here? Then whatsoever I am doing becomes meaningless. The first and the foremost thing is to know who I am. Perhaps then I can do something that fulfills my nature, makes me contented, brings me home.
But if I don’t know who I am, and I go on doing things, how can I manage to reach where my nature was supposed to reach, to lead? I have been running hither and thither but there is not going to be any point that I can say, “Now I have arrived, this was the place I was searching for.”
You don’t know who you are, so some false identity is needed as a substitute. Your possessions give you that false identity.
When Alexander the Great was coming back from India he remembered that his master, Aristotle, had asked him to bring a sannyasin from India. Aristotle had heard about sannyasins. Rumors from business people, travelers, adventurers, were reaching him that a strange kind of man exists in India: the sannyasin. It was absolutely unbelievable because a sannyasin is possible only when a certain civilization reaches its very peak, not before that. A primitive society cannot have sannyasins.
Only a very superior culture, rich, can become fed up with richness, fed up with culture, fed up with civilization. You cannot be fed up with something which you don’t have. To be fed up with something, you need to have it so much that it loses all meaning.
There is a continuous loss in meaning. For example: if you have one million dollars, do you think when you have ten million dollars the dollar will have the same value for you? It will be ten times less. But if you have one hundred thousand million dollars, then in the same proportion the dollar will go on losing its value for you. You can think of a situation where the dollar loses all meaning, it becomes just dust unto dust. But that is possible only when you have so much.
A country poor, hungry, starving cannot have real sannyasins. Yes, India still has sannyasins but that is just the dead corpse of sannyas carried on by tradition. Otherwise sannyasins disappeared at least two thousand years ago in India — they don’t exist.
My effort was the first after two thousand years to bring the sannyasin back in his true color. That became a conflict because the old sannyasin is dead, but he holds the power of tradition, of the past; my sannyasin is alive, but he has no power of the past, no power of tradition, no authority from the scriptures. There was going to be conflict. And the old were afraid: although they knew they had all the authority, one thing was certain — that they were not alive. They may have all the authority but they are a corpse.
My sannyasin may not have any authority, but he is alive, and life is the only authority there is; hence, the fear in all different traditions of sannyas in India against my sannyasins.
We were not doing any harm to anybody; we were not even concerned. We were simply trying to live our way, not interfering with anybody, not even trespassing on anybody’s path. But strangely, the whole of traditional India — and the whole country is traditional — wanted to destroy my people.
The reason is clear: they became aware that if we succeed in surviving then their death has come. Then they cannot remain any more, they will have to disappear. In fact they are living posthumously; they should have disappeared two thousand years before. Exactly at the time when Alexander left India, they should have disappeared.
Alexander enquired in every place he visited, “I want to see a sannyasin. My master has requested me …. I asked him, `Would you like anything from India?'” — because in those days India was the golden bird. Everything valuable was coming from India — in fact Europe was almost in a barbarous state. But Aristotle had asked not for something that Alexander could have thought of, imagined. He asked a very strange thing: “Bring a sannyasin.”
Alexander enquired in every place he visited, and everybody said, “You come a little late.” It was five hundred years after Buddha that Alexander reached India. They said, “You should have come five hundred years before, or at least two hundred years before.
“If you had come five hundred years before you would have been greeted by sannyasins everywhere; they were all over the place. They were a strange tribe of people. Even if you had come two hundred years before you would have found one here, one there. That great era of the sannyasins had passed but a few remnants were still available. Now it is very difficult, but you go on trying; perhaps somewhere you may be able to find one.”
Alexander was very puzzled: he would not even be able to present to his master the simple gift he had asked for; but finally at the border he found a man. People said, “You have come to the right place. This is the man.” Alexander reports in his memoirs that the man’s name was Dandamis; that seems to be a Greek transliteration of some Indian word.
I have been thinking what exactly it could be, because Dandamis is not an Indian word. But there has been a certain group of sannyasins who are called Danda Swami. Danda means a staff — they carry a staff — and swami means a master of oneself. So it seems “Danda swami” somehow has got mixed and become “Dandamis.”
Alexander sent his people — obviously. Alexander was a great conqueror, emperor: he would not go to the sannyasin. The sannyasin was just a beggar, and Alexander heard from people that he was naked and just lived by the side of the river under a tree.
Alexander sent four soldiers with naked swords and told them, “Invite the swami. Tell him, `Alexander the Great wants you to be his guest. He wants to take you to his country with great respect and honor, and you will remain there as a royal guest. This is something very special, because Alexander has never invited anybody the way he is inviting you.'”
They went, and they told Dandamis. The naked man simply laughed. He said, “A man who calls himself Alexander the Great cannot be really great. That is a sign of a very mean mind, to think of oneself as `the Great’.”
The soldiers were shocked. They said, “What are you saying? Can’t you see our naked swords?”
Dandamis said, “I am not blind like you, and like your Alexander the Great. If you who are blind can see, can’t I, who am not blind, see? Just go and tell Alexander that a sannyasin moves according to his will. Thanks for your invitation, and in return I invite you to be here with me, my guest under my tree, to have some taste of what sannyas is.”
Alexander was very angry when he heard that this had been the response. He himself went and he said, “I am a dangerous man.”
Again the naked man laughed, and he said, “You cannot be more dangerous than I am. If you are so dangerous, why are you carrying this sword and having so many people around you with naked swords? Look at me, standing naked — and you think you are dangerous? Have you come to accept my invitation and be with me, or have you come to repeat your invitation?”
Alexander said, “I have come to take you forcibly. Now it is no longer an invitation: either you come with us, or this sword will cut your head off and finish you right now.”
Dandamis laughed a third time, and he said, “That’s great! You do it, right now. I am not moving from here. Nobody can move me against my will. Yes, you can cut off my head because that does not belong to me, but you cannot shake me; that is my citadel where I am absolutely the emperor.
“You can cut off my head, you can cut off my hands, you can cut off my legs, you can cut my whole body into pieces, but remember one thing: when you are cutting my body, my head, my hands, I will be watching in the same way as you will be watching. Your sword cannot cut me, my watcher cannot be penetrated by a sword. So start!” he said.
But it is so difficult to kill such a man, who is inviting you to kill him. Alexander said, “I am sorry that I disturbed you, but now I know why my master asked me to bring a sannyasin. And now I also know why I could not find a sannyasin in so many places I have been visiting. Now I understand also why people were saying, `You have come five hundred years late. The whole country was full of sannyasins; now they are certainly a rare phenomenon.’
“I don’t know what this watcher is, but seeing you, looking at you — your integrity, your strength — makes me feel that I have wasted my life. Perhaps rather than conquering the whole world, if I had also found this watcher that would have been better.”

You come with an innocent watcher into the world. Everybody comes in the same way, with the same quality of consciousness.
The question is, how did I manage so that nobody could corrupt my innocence, clarity; from where did I get this courage? How could I manage not to be humiliated by grown-ups and their world?
I have not done anything, so there is no question of how. It simply happened, so I cannot take the credit for it.
Perhaps it happens to everybody but you become interested in other things. You start bargaining with the grown-up world. They have many things to give to you; you have only one thing to give, and that is your integrity, your self-respect. You don’t have much, a single thing — you can call it anything: innocence, intelligence, authenticity. You have only one thing.
And the child is naturally very much interested in everything he sees around. He is continuously wanting to have this, to have that; that is part of human nature. If you look at the small child, even a just-born baby, you can see he has started groping for something; his hands are trying to find out something. He has started the journey.
In the journey he will lose himself, because you can’t get anything in this world without paying for it. And the poor child cannot understand that what he is giving is so valuable that if the whole world is on one side, and his integrity on the other side, then too his integrity will be more weighty, more valuable. The child has no way to know about it. This is the problem, because what he has got he has simply got. He takes it for granted.
Let me tell you one story which will make it clear. One rich man, very rich, became in the end very frustrated — which is a natural outcome of all success. Nothing fails like success. Success is significant only if you are a failure. Once you succeed then you know that you have been cheated by the world, by the people, by the society. The man had all the riches but no peace of mind. He started looking for peace of mind.
That’s what is happening in America. In America more people are looking for peace of mind than anywhere else. In India I have never come across a person who is looking for peace of mind. Peace of the stomach has to be taken care of first — peace of mind is too far away. From the stomach the mind is almost millions of miles away.
But in America everybody is looking for peace of mind, and of course when you are looking for it, then people will be there ready to give it to you. This is a simple law of economics: wherever there is demand there is supply. It does not matter whether what you are asking for you really need. Nor does anybody bother about what the supply is going to give you — whether it is just bogus advertisement, propaganda, or whether there is something substantial.
Knowing this simple principle, that wherever there is demand there is supply, the cunning and clever people have gone one step ahead. Now they say, “There is no need to wait for demand to happen, you create the demand.” And that is the whole art of advertisement: it is creating demand.
Before you read the advertisement you had no such demand, you had never felt that this was your need. But reading the advertisement, suddenly you feel, “My God, I have been missing it. And I am such a fool that I never knew that this thing exists.”
Before somebody starts manufacturing something, producing something, even years ahead — three, four years ahead — he starts advertising. The thing is not there yet in the market because first the demand has to reach the minds of people. And once the demand is there, by that time the supply will be ready.
Bernard Shaw has said that when he was new and he published his first book, of course there was no demand — nobody had ever heard about George Bernard Shaw. How can you demand, “I want George Bernard Shaw’s book, his drama?” So what he used to do the whole day …. He published the book — he himself was the publisher, he put together the money himself — and then he went from one bookstore to another bookstore asking, “Have you got George Bernard Shaw’s book?”
They said, “George Bernard Shaw? We never heard the name.”
He said, “Strange, such a great man and you have never heard of him and you run a bookstore? Are you out-of-date or something? The first thing you should do is get George Bernard Shaw’s book.” He had published only one book but he started advertising for several books, because when you are going around, why just publicize one book? And one book does not make a man a great writer.
He would go in different clothes — sometimes with a hat, sometimes with glasses. And people started calling at George Bernard Shaw’s house. And he had to do all this — the advertising, supplying; that’s how he sold his first book. He was asking people on the street, “Have you heard … because I am hearing so much about a certain book written by some George Bernard Shaw. People say it is just great, fantastic. Have you heard?”
They would say, “No, we have never even heard the name.”
He said, “This is strange. I used to think London was a cultured society.” And he went to libraries and clubs and every place where there was a possibility to create a demand, and he created the demand. He sold the book, and finally — that’s what he was continuously doing — finally he became one of the greatest writers of this age. He had created the demand.
But if you succeed, there is no need for anybody to create the demand for peace of mind. If you succeed, you lose peace of mind on the way. That is a natural course. Success takes all peace from your mind. It simply sucks everything that is significant in life: peace, silence, joy, love. It goes on taking everything away from you. Finally your hands are full of junk, and all that was valuable is lost. And suddenly you realize peace of mind is needed.
Immediately there are suppliers, who don’t know anything about mind, who don’t know anything about peace. I have read one book entitled PEACE OF MIND by a Jewish rabbi, Joshua Liebman. I have gone through the whole book; the man knows neither about peace nor does he know about the mind. But he is a businessman, he is a Jew: He has done a good job without knowing anything about peace of mind.
His book is one of the best sellers in the world because whoever wants peace of mind is bound to sooner or later find Joshua Liebman’s book. And he has written it beautifully. He is a good writer, very articulate, impressive; you will be influenced by it. But peace of mind will remain as far away as it was before, or it may even have gone farther away by your reading this book.
In fact, if man knows what peace is, and what mind is, he cannot write a book entitled PEACE OF MIND, because mind is the cause of all unpeace, all restlessness. Peace is when there is no mind. So peace of mind — no commodity like this exists. If mind is there, then peace is not. If peace is there then mind is not. But to write a book “Peace of No Mind” … nobody is going to purchase it. I have been thinking … but I thought, nobody is going to purchase “Peace of No Mind”. It just will not make sense to them, but that’s exactly the truth.
The child is unaware of what he has brought with him. This rich man was in the same position. He had all the riches in the world, and now he was searching for peace of mind. He went from one sage to another and they all gave great advice, but advice helps nobody.
In fact only fools give advice, and only fools take advice. Wise people are very reluctant to give you advice because a wise man certainly knows that the only thing in the world which is given freely is advice, and that which is never taken by anybody is advice, so why should he bother?
A wise man first prepares you so that you can take the advice. He does not simply give you advice; you need to be prepared. It may take years to prepare you, to prepare the ground, and only then can you sow the seeds. It will be a fool who simply goes on throwing seeds on rocks and stones without even bothering that he is wasting seeds.
All these sages gave him advice but nothing clicked. Finally a man whom he had not asked, who was not in any way a famous man — on the contrary he was thought to be the village idiot — that man stopped him on the road one day and said, “You are unnecessarily wasting your time: none of these are sages. I know them perfectly, but because I am an idiot nobody believes me. Perhaps you will also not believe me, but I know a sage.”
“Just seeing you so tortured continuously for peace of mind, I thought it would be better if I showed you the right person. Otherwise I am an idiot; nobody asks me for advice and I never give any advice to anybody. But it was too much: seeing you so sad and so miserable, I broke my silence. You go to this man in the next village.”
The rich man immediately went, with a big bag full of precious diamonds, on his beautiful horse. He reached there, he saw that man — this man was known to the Sufis as MullaNasruddin.
He asked the Mulla, “Can you help me to attain peace of mind?”
Mulla said, “Help? I can give it to you.”
The rich man thought, “This is strange. First that idiot suggested … and just out of desperation I thought there is no harm, so I came here. This seems to be even a greater idiot: he is saying, `I can give it to you.'”
The rich man said, “You can give it to me? I have been to all kinds of sages; they all give advice — do this, do that, discipline yourself, do charity, help the poor, open hospitals, this and that. They say all these things, and in fact I have done all those things; nothing helps. In fact more and more trouble arises. And you say you can give it to me?”
The Mulla said, “It is so simple. You get down from the horse.” So the rich man got down from the horse. He was holding his bag, and Mulla asked, “What are you holding in your bag so closely to your heart?”
He said, “These are precious diamonds. If you can give me peace, I will give you this bag.” But before he could even figure out what was happening, Mulla took the bag and ran away!
The rich man, for a moment, was in shock; he could not even understand what to do. And then he had to follow him. But it was Mulla’s own town — he knew every street and shortcut, and he was running. The rich man had never run in his whole life and he was so fat …. He was crying and huffing and puffing, and tears were rolling down. He said, “I have been completely cheated! This man has taken away all my life’s hard work, my earnings; everything he has taken away.”
So a crowd followed, and all were laughing. He said, “Are you all idiots? Is this town full of idiots? I have been completely ruined, and rather than catching hold of the thief you are all laughing.”
They said, “He is not a thief, he is a very sage man.”
The rich man said, “That idiot from my village got me into this trouble!” But somehow, running, perspiring, he followed Mulla. Mulla arrived back under the same tree where the horse was still standing. He sat down under the tree with the bag, and the rich man came crying and weeping. Mulla said, “You take this bag.” The rich man took the bag and put it close to his heart. Mulla said, “How does it feel? Can you feel some peace of mind?”
The rich man said, “Yes it feels very peaceful. You are a strange man, and you have strange methods.”
Mulla said, “No strange methods — simple mathematics. Whatever you have, you start taking it for granted. You just have to be given an opportunity to lose it; then immediately you will become aware of what you have lost. You have not gained anything new; it is the same bag that you have been carrying with no peace of mind. Now the same bag you are holding close to your heart and anybody can see how peaceful you are looking, a perfect sage! Just go home, and don’t bother people.”
This is the problem for the child, because he comes with innocence and he is ready to buy anything, and give his innocence. He is ready to buy any rubbish and give his courage. He is ready to buy just toys — and what else is there in this world except toys? — and lose his clarity. He will understand only when all these toys are there in his possession and he can’t feel any joy from them, can’t see any achievement, any fulfillment. Then he becomes aware of what he has lost — and he himself has lost it.
You are asking me how I managed not to lose my innocence and clarity. I have not done anything; just simply, from the very beginning …. I was a lonely child because I was brought up by my maternal grandfather and grandmother; I was not with my father and mother. Those two old people were alone and they wanted a child who would be the joy of their last days. So my father and mother agreed: I was their eldest child, the first-born; they sent me to live with my grandparents.
I don’t remember any relationship with my father’s family in the early years of my childhood. I lived With these two old men — my grandfather and his old servant, who was really a beautiful man — and my old grandmother … these three people. And the gap was so biggreat … I was absolutely alone. It was They were not a company for me, it could not be a company. They tried their hardest to be as friendly to me as possible but it was just not possible.
I was left to myself. I could not say things to them. I had nobody else, because in that small village my family were the richest; and it was such a small village — not more than two hundred people in all — and so poor that my grandparents would not allow me to mix with the village children. They were dirty, and of course they were almost beggars. So there was no way to have friends. That caused a great impact. In my whole life I have never been a friend, I have never known anybody to be a friend. Yes, acquaintances I had.
In those first, early years I was so lonely that I started enjoying it; and it is really a joy. So it was not a curse to me, it proved a blessing. I started enjoying it, and I started feeling self-sufficient; I was not dependent on anybody.
I have never been interested in games for the simple reason that from my very childhood there was no way to play, there was nobody to play with. I can still see myself in those earliest years, just sitting.
We had a beautiful spot where our house was, just in front of a lake. Far away for miles, the lake … and it was so beautiful and so silent. Only once in while would you see a line of white cranes flying, or making love calls, and the peace would be disturbed; otherwise, it was almost the right place for meditation. And when they would disturb the peace — a love call from a bird … after his call the peace would deepen, it would become deeper.
The lake was full of lotus flowers, and I would sit for hours so self-content, as if the world did not matter: the lotuses, the white cranes, the silence ….
And my grandparents were very aware of one thing, that I enjoyed my aloneness. They had continuously been seeing that I had no desire to go to the village to meet anybody, or to talk with anybody. Even if they wanted to talk my answers were yes, or no; I was not interested in talking either. So they became aware of one thing, that I enjoyed my aloneness, and it was their sacred duty not to disturb me.
So for seven years continuously nobody tried to corrupt my innocence; there was nobody. Those three old people who lived in the house, the servant and my grandparents, were all protective in every possible way that nobody should disturb me. In fact I started feeling, as I grew up, a little embarrassed that because of me they could not talk, they could not be normal as everybody is. It was just the opposite situation ….
It happens with children that you tell them, “Be silent because your father is thinking, your grandfather is resting. Be quiet, sit silently.” In my childhood it happened the opposite way. Now I cannot answer why and how; it simply happened. That’s why I said it simply happened — the credit does not go to me.
All those three old people were continuously making signs to each other: “Don’t disturb him — he is enjoying so much.” And they started loving my silence.
Silence has its vibe; it is infectious, particularly a child’s silence which is not forced, which is not because you are saying, “I will beat you if you create any nuisance or noise.” No, that is not silence. That will not create the joyous vibration that I am talking about, when a child is silent on his own, enjoying for no reason; his happiness is uncaused. That creates great ripples all around.
In a better world, every family will learn from children. You are in such a hurry to teach them. Nobody seems to learn from them, and they have much to teach you. And you have nothing to teach them.
Just because you are older and powerful you start making them just like you without ever thinking about what you are, where you have reached, what your status is in the inner world. You are a pauper; and you want the same for your child also?
But nobody thinks; otherwise people would learn from small children. Children bring so much from the other world because they are such fresh arrivals. They still carry the silence of the womb, the silence of the very existence.
So it was just a coincidence that for seven years I remained undisturbed — no Miss Judith Martin to nag me, to prepare me for the world of business, politics, diplomacy. My grandparents were more interested in leaving me as natural as possible — particularly my grandmother. She is one of the causes — these small things affect all your life patterns — she is one of the causes of my respect for the whole of womanhood.
She was a simple woman, uneducated, but immensely sensitive. She made it clear to my grandfather and the servant: “We all have lived a certain kind of life which has not led us anywhere. We are as empty as ever, and now death is coming close.” She insisted, “Let this child be uninfluenced by us. What influence can we contribute? We can only make him like us, and we are nothing. Give him an opportunity to be himself.”
My grandfather — I heard them discussing in the night, thinking that I was asleep — used to say to her, “You are telling me to do this, and I am doing it; but he is somebody else’s son, and sooner or later he will have to go to his parents. What will they say? — `You have not taught him any manners, any etiquette, he is absolutely wild.'”
She said, “Don’t be worried about that. In this whole world everybody is civilized, has manners, etiquette, but what is the gain? You are very civilized — what have you got out of it? At the most his parents will be angry at us. So what? — let them be angry. They can’t harm us, and by that time the child will be strong enough that they cannot change his life course.”
I am tremendously grateful to that old woman. My grandfather was again and again worried that sooner or later he was going to be responsible: “They will say, `We left our child with you and you have not taught him anything.'”
My grandmother did not even allow me to be educated. Because there was one man in the village who could at least teach me the beginnings of language, mathematics, a little geography. He was educated to the fourth grade — the lowest four; that is what was called primary education in India. But he was the most educated man in the town.
My grandfather tried hard: “He can come and he can teach him. At least he will know the alphabet, some mathematics, so when he goes to his parents they will not say that we just wasted seven years completely.”
But my grandmother said, “Let them do whatsoever they want to do after seven years. For seven years he has to be just his natural self, and we are not going to interfere.” And her argument was always, “You know the alphabet, so what? You know mathematics, so what? You have earned a little money; do you want him also to earn a little money and live just like you?”
That was enough to keep that old man silent. What to do? He was in a difficulty because he could not argue, and he knew that he would be held responsible, not she, because my father would ask him, “What have you done?” And actually that would have been the case, but fortunately he died before my father could ask.
When I went t back to my parents, But my father continuously was saying, “That old man is responsible, he has spoiled the child.” But now I was strong enough, and I made it clear to him: “Before me, never say a single word against my maternal grandfather. He has saved me from being spoiled by you — that is your real anger. But you have other children — spoil them. And at the final stage you will say who is spoiled.”
He had other children, and more and more children went on coming. I used to tease him, “You please bring one child more, make it a dozen. Eleven children? People ask, “How many children?” Eleven does not look right; one dozen is more impressive.”
And in later years I used to tell him, “You go on spoiling all your children; I am wild, and I will remain wild.”
What you see as innocence is nothing but wildness. What you see as clarity is nothing but wildness. Somehow I remained out of the grip of civilization.
And once I was strong enough …. And that’s why these people — Miss Judith Martin, and their kind — insist, “Take hold of the child as quickly as possible, don’t waste time because the earlier you take hold of the child, the easier it is. Once the child becomes strong enough, then to bend him according to your desires will be difficult.”
And life has seven-year circles. By the seventh year the child is perfectly strong; now you cannot do anything. Now he knows where to go, what to do. He is capable of arguing. He is capable of seeing what is right and what is wrong. And his clarity will be at the climax when he is seven. If you don’t disturb his earlier years, then at the seventh he is so crystal clear about everything that his whole life will be lived without any repentance.
I have lived without any repentance. I have tried to find: Have I done anything wrong, ever? Not that people have been thinking that all that I have done is right, that is not the point: I have never thought anything that I have done was wrong. The whole world may think it was wrong, but to me there is absolute certainty that it was right; it was the right thing to do.
So there is no question of repenting about the past. And when you don’t have to repent about the past you are free from it. The past keeps you entangled like an octopus because you go on feeling, “That thing I should not have done,” or, “That thing which I was supposed to do and did not do ….” All those things go on pulling you backwards.
I don’t see anything behind me, no past.
If I say something about my past, it is simply factual memory, it has no psychological involvement. I am telling you as if I am telling you about somebody else. It is just factual; it has nothing to do with my personal involvement. It might have occurred to somebody else, it might have happened to somebody else.
So remember, a factual memory is not enslaving. Psychological memory is, and psychological memory is made up of things that you think, or you have been conditioned to think, were wrong and you did them. Then there is a wound, a psychological wound.
(Excerpt from: From Darkness to Light, Chapter-2, Q-1)



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