He had nominated Shambhu Babu as his vice-president, and I think that was the only good thing that he did in his whole life. Perhaps he did not know what he was doing – cow-dungs are not conscious people.
The moment Shambhu Babu and I saw each other, something happened; what Carl Gustav Jung calls ”synchronicity.” I was just a child; not only that, wild too. I was fresh from the woods, uneducated and undisciplined. We had nothing in common. He was a man of power and very respected by the people, not because he was a cow-dung but because he was such a strong man, and if you were not respectful to him, some day you might suffer for it. And his memory was very, very good. Everybody was really afraid of him and so they were all respectful, and I was just a child.
What a wastage of life! All those beautiful days wasted so mercilessly, crushed! And by the time you were a matriculate, you were then capable of going to university. Again, it was a six-year course! In all, I had to waste four years in primary school, four years in middle school, three years in high school, and six years in university – seventeen years of my life!
And I was eight or nine when I started this whole nonsense, so the day I left university I was twenty-six, and so happy – not because I was a gold medallist but because I was free at last. Free again.
Even when I was nine years old my father had to drag me in, but now nobody can drag me. If anyone tries then I will drag him out.” And of course I was able to drag the poor old man who was trying to persuade me not to leave.
I said, ”Don’t waste my time, because my bus is leaving.” The bus was standing there at the gate. I had to rush to catch it, and I am sorry that I could not even thank him. I had no time – the bus was leaving, and my luggage was already on it, and the driver – as drivers do – was honking like mad. I was the only passenger not yet on the bus, and my old professor was almost on his knees persuading me not to leave.
Shambhu Babu was well-educated. I was uneducated when the friendship began. He had a glorious past; I had none. The whole town was shocked by our friendship, but he was not even embarrassed. I respect that quality. We used to walk hand in hand. He was my father’s age, and his children were older than me. He died ten years before my father. I think he must have been about fifty at that time. This would have been the right time for us to be friends. But he was the only man to recognize me. He was a man of authority in the village, and his recognition was of immense help to me.
Kantar Master was never seen at the school again. He was immediately sent on leave, because there was only one month before his retirement, and his application for an extension had been canceled. This created a great celebration in the village. Kantar Master had been a great man in that village, yet I had had him thrown out in just a single day. That was something. People started respecting me. I would say, ”What nonsense is this? I have not done anything – I simply brought the man and his wrongdoing to the light.”
I am surprised how he continued torturing small children his whole life; but that is what was thought to be education. It was thought then, and many Indians still think, that unless you torture a child he cannot be taught – although they may not say so clearly.
My father used to ask Shambhu Babu, ”Why are you so friendly to that troublesome boy?”
And Shambhu Babu would laugh and say, ”One day you will understand why. I cannot tell you now.”
One day he said to my father, ”Perhaps I should not be friendly to him, but respectful.”
And, I have to confess, after Magga Baba he was the second man who recognized that something immeasurable had happened to me. Of course he was not a mystic, but a poet has the capacity, once in a while, to be a mystic, and he was a great poet. He was also great because he never bothered to publish his work.
”What is wrong with capital letters? Why are you so against them, Shambhu Babu?”
He said, ”I am not against them, but I am in love with the immediate, not the faraway. I am in love with small things: a cup of tea, a swim in the river, a sunbath…. I am in love with little things, and they cannot be written with capital letters.”
I understand him, so when I say that although he was not an enlightened Master, not a master in any way, I still count him as number two, after Magga Baba, because he recognized me when it was impossible to do so, absolutely impossible. I may not have even recognized myself, but he recognized me.
Shambhu Babu was a man who could have become a realized one, but missed it. He missed because of too much intellectuality. He was an intellectual giant. He could not sit silently even for a single moment. I was present when he died. It is a strange destiny that I have to see everyone I love die.
Holding his hands I told him, ”Please close your eyes, don’t strain.”
He said, ”No. The eyes are going to close very soon of their own accord, and then I won’t be able to open them. So please don’t ask me to close my eyes. I want to see you. Perhaps I may not be able to see you again. One thing is certain,” he said, ”that you are not coming back to life. Alas, had I listened to you! You always insisted on being silent but I continued to postpone. Now there is no time even to postpone.”
Tears came to his eyes. I remained without saying anything, just with him. He closed his eyes and died.
He had such beautiful eyes, and such an intelligent face. I know many beautiful people but it is very rare to have the beauty of that man. It is not man-made, certainly not made in India. He was, and still is, one of my most loved ones. Although he has not yet entered into a body again, I am waiting for him.
Strange that I should talk about his death first and the other things later on. No, as far as I am concerned it is not strange, because to me the moment of death opens a man as nothing else does. Not even love can do that miracle. It tries to, but lovers prevent it, because in love two people are needed; in death only one is enough unto oneself. That’s because there is no disturbance from the other. I saw Shambhu Babu dying with such a relaxed joyous attitude that I cannot forget his face.
Now, there is no problem because I don’t read the newspapers any more. I have not read them for years. I used to finish reading four newspapers within one minute, but for more than two years I have not even looked at one. And I don’t read any books. I simply don’t read. I have become uneducated again, just as I always wanted to be. If my father had not dragged me into that school… but he did drag me. And what all those schools and colleges and university did to me took so much energy to undo, but I have succeeded in undoing it all.
I have undone everything that society did to me. I am again just an uneducated, wild boy from – you don’t use the word in English…. In Hindi, a man from a village is called a gamar. A village is called a gam, and the villager is called a gamar. But gamar also means ”fool” and they have become intermixed, so much so that nobody now thinks that the word gamar means villager; everybody thinks it means fool.
Shambhu Babu could have done this too. I know he was capable of it, of becoming a Buddha, but it didn’t happen. Perhaps his very profession – he was a lawyer – prevented it. I have heard of all kinds of people becoming buddhas, but I have never heard of any lawyer becoming a Buddha. I don’t think anybody from that profession could become a Buddha unless he really renounced all that he had learned. Shambhu Babu could not gather that courage, and I feel sorry for him. I don’t feel sorry for anybody else because I have never come across anybody else who was so capable and yet did not take the jump.
I know what it was, but he also knew it although he never recognized that he knew it. And he knew that I knew that he knew it. He would always close his eyes whenever I would ask the question – and I am a stubborn man; again and again I would ask him, ”What is the hitch?”
He would close his eyes, just not to face me eye to eye, because that was the one situation where he could not lie. I mean he could not be a lawyer… liar. But now that he is dead I can say that even though he was not a Buddha, he was almost a Buddha, which I will never say about anybody else again. I will keep this special category, of almost-a-Buddha, for Shambhu Babu.
But all words are invented by somebody or other
Just for this single word, ”synchronicity,” Jung should have received the Nobel prize, although he is a mediocrity.
so please, give this poor fellow Carl Gustav Jung a Nobel prize. I’m not joking. I am really thankful for this word because this is what has always eluded the grasp of the human intellect.
He was a successful legal expert, not only in that small place, but he practiced in the high court and in the supreme court. He was one of the topmost legal authorities. And he was a friend of a wild, unruly, undisciplined, illiterate child. When he said, on that first meeting, ”Please be seated,” I was amazed.
I had not hoped that the vice-president would stand to receive me and would say, ”Please be seated.”
We became friends; that was sometime in 1940. Only later on, years afterwards, just one year before he died – he died in 1960, after twenty years of friendship, strange friendship – only then was I able to tell him that the word he had been searching for had been invented by Carl Gustav Jung. That word is ”synchronicity”; that is what is happening between us. He knew it; I knew it; but the word was missing.
Synchronicity can mean many things all together, it is multidimensional. It can mean a certain rhythmic feeling; it can mean what people have always called love; it can mean friendship; it can simply mean two hearts beating together without rhyme or reason… it is a mystery. Only once in a while one finds someone with whom things fit. Just the jigsaw disappears. All the pieces that were not fitting are suddenly fitting of their own accord.
But I can understand his loneliness. He had no other friends. Almost every day he wrote a letter to me – that is very rare – and there was nothing to write. Sometimes he would just send the empty paper inside an envelope. I would understand even that. He was feeling very lonely, and would like to have my company. I tried my best to be there as much as it was practical, because to me it was really a drag to be in that village. It was just for him that I suffered that village.
I said to him, ”You can choose, Shambhu Babu: be the president of this stupid village or be my friend.”
He resigned his mayorship, and his presidency. He didn’t say a single word to me; he simply wrote his letter of resignation there, in front of me. He said, ”I love something in you which is indefinable. The presidency of this stupid town means nothing to me. I am ready to lose everything, if it comes to that. Yes, I am ready to lose everything.”
I said to him, ”If God can find work for all kinds of people, animals, trees, I think He will be able to find some kind of work for me too. And if He cannot find any it is His problem, not mine.”
I said, ”I don’t see any problem for me then either. If there is no work I can take a deep breath and say goodbye to existence. It is enough proof that I am not needed. And if I am not needed then I am not going to impose myself on this poor existence.”
Our talks, could they all be recapitulated; our arguments, could they all be again reproduced, would make even better dialogues than Plato. He was a very logical man, just as logical as I am illogical. And that is the most baffling thing: that we were the only friends for each other in the town.
Everybody asked, ”He is a logician, you are utterly illogical. What is the bridge between you both?”
I said, ”It will be difficult for you to understand because you are neither. His very logic brings him to its very brink. I am illogical, not because I was born illogical – nobody is born illogical; I am illogical because I have seen the futility of logic. So I can go with him according to his logic and yet, at a certain point, go ahead of him and then he becomes afraid and stops. And that is keeping our friendship, because he knows he has to go beyond that point, and he knows nobody else who can be of any help to him. You all” – I meant the people of the town – ”think that he is a help to me. You are wrong. You can ask him. I am a help to him.”
The quality is very rare, and my grandmother was right when she said, ”I am afraid that Shambhu Babu is going to be without a friend. And,” she said, ”as far as you are concerned, my fears are there, but you are still young, perhaps you may find a few friends.”
Her insight was really so clear. You will be surprised to know that in my whole life I have not had any friend except for Shambhu Babu. If he had not been there I would never have known what it means to have a friend. Yes, I have had many acquaintances – in school, in college, at university; there were hundreds. You might have thought they were all friends, they may even have thought the same; but except for this man, I have not known a single person whom I could call a friend.
To be acquainted is very easy. Acquaintance is very ordinary, but friendship is not part of the ordinary world. You will be surprised to know that whenever I became ill – and I was eighty miles away from the town – I would immediately receive a phone call from Shambhu Babu, very much concerned.
He would ask, ”Are you okay?”
I would say, ”What’s the matter? Why are you so worried? You sound sick.”
He said, ”I am not sick but I felt that you were, and now I know that you are. You cannot hide it from me.”
It happened many times. You will not believe it, but it was just for him that I had to take a private number. Of course there was a phone for my secretary to take care of all my arrangements around the country. But I had a secret, private phone just for Shambhu Babu, so that he could inquire if he felt concerned, even in the middle of the night. I even made it a point that if I was not in the house, perhaps traveling somewhere in India, and I was sick, I would phone him myself just to say, ”Please don’t be worried because I am sick.” This is synchronicity.
That day I had to hurry, and it proved true because if I had been just a few minutes later I would never have seen Shambhu Babu’s eyes again. Alive, I mean – I mean looking at me just the way he had looked that first time. I wanted to see that first look for the last time… that synchronicity. And in that half an hour before he died there was nothing but pure communion. I told him he could say whatever he wanted to say.
He sent everybody else away. Of course they were offended. His wife and sons and his brothers did not like it. But he clearly said, ”Whether you like it or not, I want you all to leave immediately because I don’t have much time to waste.”
Naturally afraid, they all left. We both laughed. I said, ”Anything you want to say to me, you can say.”
He said, ”I have nothing to say to you. Just hold my hands. Let me feel you. Fill me with your presence, I beg you.” He went on, ”I cannot go on my knees and touch your feet. It is not that I would not like to do it, just that my body is not in a position to get out of bed. I cannot even move. I have just a few minutes longer.”
I could see that death was almost on his doorstep. I took his hands, and said a few things to him, to which he listened very attentively.
In my childhood I have known only two people who really made me aware what real attention is. The first, of course, was my Nani. I am even feeling a little sad to put her alongside Shambhu Babu, because her attention, although similar, possessed many more dimensions. In fact I should not have said two people. But I have already said it; now let me explain to you as clearly as possible.
That is my way of life – to live relaxedly, not doing anything from morning to evening, from evening to morning. Keeping everybody else busy without business, that is my whole work. I don’t think there is anybody in the world – or has ever been before, or will ever be after – who is so without business of any kind, like me. And yet, just to keep me breathing I need thousands of sannyasins to be continuously working. Can you think of a greater joke?
Vivek was right when she told me, ”Osho, you are like a huge mountain of gold which has to be taken from one city to another.”
it is a huge task. But because you were so happy I thought it would be worth doing. Just to make even a single person happy I can do anything whatsoever. That has been my whole life’s very substance.
I was telling you about a certain relationship that happened between a child of about nine years of age and an old man of perhaps fifty. The difference in age was great, but love can transcend all barriers. If it can happen even between a man and a woman, then what other barrier could be bigger? But it was not, and cannot be described as just love. He could have loved me like a son, or like his grandson, but that was not it.
What happened was friendliness, and let it be on record: I value friendliness higher than love. There is nothing higher than friendliness. I know you must have noticed that I have not used the word ”friendship.” Up till yesterday I was using it, but now is the time to tell you of something greater than friendship – friendliness.
Friendship can also be binding, in its own way, like love. It can also be jealous, possessive, afraid that it may be lost, and because of that fear, so much agony and so much struggle. In fact people are continuously fighting those whom they love – strange, just strange… unbelievably strange.
Friendliness rises higher, to all that man knows and feels. It is more a fragrance of being, or you can say a flowering of being. Something transpires between two souls, and suddenly there are two bodies, but one being – that is what I call flowering. Friendliness is freedom from all that is small and mediocre, from all that we are acquainted with, in fact, too acquainted with.
I am still amazed at that woman’s intuition. She had said, ”He will die before long, then what about you? My tears are for you. You have to live a long life. You will not find many people of such quality as Shambhu Babu. Please don’t make his friendship your criterion, otherwise you will have to live a very lonely life.”
Loneliness is a negative state. When you cannot be with yourself and beg the company of the other – then it is loneliness. Whether you get the company or not will not make any difference at all, you will remain lonely. All over the world, in every house, you can see the truth of what I am saying. I cannot say every home, I say every house. A home very rarely exists. A home is where loneliness has been transformed into aloneness, not into togetherness.
People think that if two people are together, then loneliness is finished. It is not so easy. Remember it, it is not so easy; in fact it becomes more difficult. When two lonely people meet loneliness is multiplied, not only doubled, remember; it is a multiplication, and very ugly. It is like an octopus, a continuous fight in different names, for different reason. But if you put all these covers aside, underneath you will see nothing but naked loneliness. It is not aloneness. Aloneness is the discovery of one’s self.
Many times I told my grandmother that being alone is the most beautiful state one can dream of. She would laugh and say, ”Shut up! Nonsense. I know what it is – I am living a lonely life.
I wait for months just for the day you will be back home. And those one or two days are over so quickly. You don’t know what loneliness is – I know.”
Again and again you go on insisting that loneliness and aloneness are one, and I say definitely and absolutely, they are not the same. And you will have to understand aloneness if you want to get rid of your loneliness. You cannot get rid of it just by being sorry for yourself; and don’t be angry with my grandfather.”
But what can I do? I knew my grandmother as my mother from my earliest years, and those early years are the most important years of life. It is what I think the scientists call ”an imprint.”
When a bird comes out of its egg and looks at its mother, with that first look he is imprinted. But if the bird comes out and you have removed the mother and replaced her with something else, a different imprint happens.
It actually happened this way that the word ”imprint” came into use. A scientist was working on what happens when a bird first comes out of the egg. He removed everything from the surroundings but he completely forgot that he himself was there. The bird came out, looked around and could see only the boots of the scientist who was standing there watching.
The bird came to the boots and very lovingly started playing with them. The scientist was amazed but later on he was in trouble because the bird was continuously knocking on his door, not for him, but for his boots. He had to keep his boots near the bird’s house. And the strangest thing you can imagine happened: when the bird became mature he first made love with the boots. He could not fall in love with a girl bird, and there were many available. But he had a certain imprint of how his love-object should be. He could only love a beautiful pair of boots.
Within two months it was clear to everybody why I had not given sannyas to him. Within two months he had left; leaving is not a problem, but he became my enemy. To be my enemy is inconceivable to me – yes, even to me. I cannot believe how anybody can be an enemy to me. I have not harmed anybody in my life. You cannot find a more harmless creature. Why should anybody be my enemy? Must be something to do with the person himself. He must be using me as a screen.
I was telling you that love, once in a while, jumps and feels as if it is free from the earth; but the earth knows better. Soon he comes back to his senses with a thump, if not with broken bones. Love cannot fly. It is a peacock, with beautiful feathers – but remember, they are not able to fly. Yes, the peacock can jog.
Love is very earthly. Friendship is a little higher, it has wings; not just feathers, but the wings of a parrot. You know how parrots fly? From one tree to another, or maybe from one garden to another, from one grove to another, but they don’t fly towards the stars. They are poor flyers. Friendliness is the highest value, because friendliness has no gravitation at all. It is just levitation, if you allow me to use that word. I don’t know whether the pundits of English will allow ”levitation.” It only means ”against gravity.” Gravitation pulls downwards, levitation pulls upwards. But who cares about the pundits? – they are very grave, they are already in their graves.
although I did not have friends in the ordinary sense, I had friends in a very extraordinary sense. I told you about Shambhu Babu. I have told you about Nani herself. In fact these two people spoiled me, and spoiled me in such a way that there was no going back. What was their strategy?
The second was Shambhu Babu. He again listened with unblinking eyes. I had never seen anyone listen without blinking; in fact I know of only one other person, and that is me. I cannot watch a film for the simple reason that when I do I forget to blink. I cannot do two things together, particularly if they are so divergent as looking at a film, and blinking. Even now it is impossible for me. I don’t watch films because two hours without blinking gives me a headache and tired eyes, so tired that they cannot even sleep. Yes, tiredness can be so great that even sleep seems to be too much effort. But Shambhu Babu used to listen to me without blinking. Once in a while I would tell him, ”Shambhu Babu, please blink. Unless you blink I will not say anything more.”
Then he would blink quickly two or three times and say, ”Okay, now continue and don’t disturb me.”
Bertrand Russell once wrote that there would come a time when psychoanalysis would become the greatest profession. Why? Because they are the only people who listen attentively, and everybody needs someone to listen to them at least once in a while. But to pay a psychoanalyst to listen to you – just think of the absurdity of it, paying a person to listen to you. Of course he doesn’t really listen at all, he pretends. That is why I was the first man in India to ask people to pay to listen to me. That is just the opposite to psychoanalysis, and that makes sense. If you want to understand me then pay for it. And in the West people are paying just to be listened to.
Love cannot do it. Love, although good, is not enough. And eating too much of even a good thing is bad for you – it gives you diarrhea or cramps in the stomach, and whatnot. Love can do everything except go beyond itself. It goes lower and lower. It becomes bickering, nagging, fighting. Every love, if naturally followed to its logical end, is bound to end in divorce.
I remember just a few weeks ago, a man came from England to take sannyas, and you know an English gentleman – he was so stuck, as you say, up to his very neck. You could not see anything, he was so stuck in the mud. You could only see a few of his hairs, only a few because he was a bald man, just like me. If he had been completely bald it would have been far better; at least nobody would notice him. I tried to pull him out, but how can you pull out a man with only a few hairs showing from the mud? I have my own ways.
Very few people face the truth, that what they call love is only biological, and ninety-nine percent of love is biological. Friendship is ninety-nine percent psychological; friendliness is ninety-nine percent spiritual. The one percent left in love is for friendship; the one percent left in friendship is for friendliness. And the one percent left in friendliness is just for that which has no name. In fact the UPANISHADS have called it exactly that: ”Tat tvam asi – Thou are that.” Tat… what am I going to call it? No, I am not going to give it any name. All names have betrayed man. All names without exception have proved to be enemies of man, so I don’t want to give it a name.
Love is good, just good, but not enough, not enough to give you wings. For that, friendship is needed, and love does not allow it. So-called love, I mean, is very against friendship. It is very afraid of friendship because anything higher is a danger, and friendship is higher.
When you can enjoy the friendship of either a man or a woman, then you know for the first time that love is a cheat, a deception. Alas, then you realize how much time was wasted. But friendship is only a bridge. One should pass over it; one should not start living on it. A bridge is not for living on. This bridge leads to friendliness. Friendliness is pure fragrance. If love is the root, and friendship the flower, then friendliness is the fragrance, unseen by the eye; you cannot even touch it; you cannot hold it in your hand, particularly if you want to keep it in your closed fist. Yes, you can have it on your open hand, but not in your closed hand.
Love takes you, it is a step; but only if it takes you towards friendship is it love. If it does not take you towards friendship, then it is lust, not love. If it takes you to friendship, be thankful to it but don’t allow it to encroach upon your freedom. Yes, it has helped, that does not mean that now it has to hinder too. Don’t carry the boat on your shoulders just because it carried you to the other shore.
Love is good – transcend it, because it can lead you to something better: friendship. And when two lovers become friends, it is a rare phenomenon. One wants to cry just out of joy.
What more can be done? Existence has done it already.
Love is towards the other, so is friendship. Friendliness is only an opening of your heart to existence. Suddenly, at a particular moment, you may be opening it to a man, to a woman, a tree, to a star… at the beginning you cannot just open it to the whole of existence. Of course in the end you have to open your heart to the whole, simultaneously, unaddressed to anybody. That is the moment. let us just call it the moment. Let us forget the word enlightenment, Buddhahood, Christ-consciousness, just let us call it THE MOMENT – write it in capitals.
I was quoting Bertrand Russell – this quotation will help like a nail. He said, ”Sooner or later everybody will need psychoanalysis because it is so difficult to find anyone to listen to you, to be attentive to you.”
Attention is such a need that if the worst came to the worst one would even pay for it. But at least one would have the joy of having somebody listening attentively to you.
I love stories, and all this started with my Nani. She was a lover of stories too. Not that she used to tell me stories, just the contrary; she used to provoke me to tell her stories, all kinds of stories and gossips. She listened so attentively that she made me into a story teller. Just for her I would find something interesting, because she would wait the whole day just to listen to my story. If I could not find anything, then I would invent. She is responsible: all credit or blame, whatsoever you call it, goes to her. I invented stories to tell her just so she would not be disappointed, and I can promise you that I became a successful story teller just for her sake.
I can still see myself by the side of her bed, with her listening so attentively to what I was saying. Each word uttered by me was absorbed by her as if it were of immense value. And it became valuable just because she took it in with so much love and respect. When it had knocked on my door it was just a beggar, but when it entered into her house, it was no longer the same person. The moment she called me, saying, ”Raja! Now tell me what happened to you today – the whole thing – promise me you will not leave out anything at all,” the beggar dropped all that made him look like a beggar; now he was a king.
Every day I had to promise her, and even though I told her everything that happened, she would insist, ”Tell me something more,” or ”Tell me that one again.”
Today it stopped exactly at four. I looked at it and went back to sleep; four is too early. After sleeping for almost one hour, I again looked at the watch: it was still four. I said to myself, ”Great, so tonight is never going to end.” I went to sleep again, not thinking – you know me, I am not a thinker – not thinking that the watch may have stopped. I thought, ”This night seems to be the last. I can sleep forever. Great! Just far out!” And I felt so good that it was never going to end that I fell asleep again. After two hours I again looked at the watch, and it was still four! I said, ”Great! Not only is the night long, but even time has stopped too!”
But I tell you one thing: both she and Shambhu Babu spoiled me by their being so attentive. They taught me, without teaching, the art of speaking. When somebody listens so attentively, you immediately start saying something you had not planned or even imagined; it simply flows. It is as if attention becomes magnetic and attracts that which is hidden in you.
My own experience is that this world will not become a beautiful place to live in unless everybody learns how to be attentive. Right now, nobody is attentive.
just all attention, just attention and nothing else, just open. Attention is a feminine quality, and everybody who knows the art of attention, of being attentive, becomes, in a certain sense, very feminine, very fragile, soft; so soft that you could scratch him with just your nails.
I have come across many intellectuals, some famous and some very famous, but none of them came close to Shambhu Babu. He was really a great synthesis. Assagioli would have loved the man. He had intuition plus intellect, and both not in small measure, but high peaks. He also used to listen to me, and would wait all day until school had finished. Every day after school was his.
The moment I was released from the prison, my school, I would first go to Shambhu Babu. He would be ready with tea and a few sweets that he knew I liked. I mention it because people rarely think of the other person. He always arranged things with the other person in mind. I have never seen anybody bother about the other as he did. Most people, although they prepare for others, they do it according to themselves really, forcing the other person to like what they themselves like.
That was not Shambhu Babu’s way. His thinking of the other was one of the things I loved and respected in him. He always purchased things only after asking the shopkeepers what my Nani used to buy. I came to know this only after he died. Then the shopkeepers told me, the sweetmakers too, that ”Shambhu Babu always used to ask a strange question: ‘What does that old woman, who lives there alone near the river – what does she purchase from you?’ We never bothered why he asked, but now we know: he was inquiring about what you liked.”
Even before I had finished, he was ready to listen to what I had to tell him. He would say, ”Just tell me anything you like. It’s not a question of what you say, but that you say it.”
His emphasis was very clear. I was left absolutely free, with not even a subject to talk about, free to say anything I wanted. He always added, ”If you want to remain silent, you can. I will listen to your silence.” And once in a while it would happen that I would not say a single thing. There was nothing to say.
I once said to him, ”Shambhu Babu, it looks a little strange for you to listen to a child. It would be more appropriate if you spoke and I listened.”
He laughed and said, ”That is impossible. I cannot say anything to you, and will not say anything, ever, for the simple reason that I don’t know. And I am grateful to you for making me aware of my ignorance.”
Those two people gave me so much attention that in my early childhood I became aware of the fact, which only now psychologists are talking about, that attention is a kind of food, a nourishment. A child can be perfectly taken care of, but if he is not paid any attention there is every possibility that he will not survive. Attention seems to be the most important ingredient in one’s nourishment.
Without ever learning how to speak, I became a speaker.
I must have spoken more than any man in the whole of history, although I am still only forty-nine.
I spoke, not as an art but as my very life. And from my early school days it was recognized, not by one but by many, that my speaking seemed to be coming from my heart, that I was not trying parrotlike to repeat something I had prepared. Something spontaneous was being born, then and there.
Other people have many occupations, but from my very childhood I have remained a vagabond, not doing anything, just living. When you don’t do anything except live, then of course life takes on a totally different dimension. It is no longer horizontal, it has depth.
you are not available, not present. Even if I knock at your door, there’s nobody inside – and the neighbors inform me that the fellow has never been seen; the door is locked. Who locked it? – nobody knows. Where is the key? – perhaps lost. And even if I could find the key or break the lock – which is far easier – what would be the point? The fellow is not inside the house. I would not find you there; you are always somewhere else. Now, how to find you and cope with you? It is impossible.
My grandmother was always worried. Again and again she would say ”Raja, you will be a misfit. I tell you, you will always be a misfit.”
it spreads its branches all around (gulmarg tree). Sometimes the branches of a single old gulmarg tree can cover enough land that five hundred people can easily sit beneath it. And when it flowers in the summer, thousands of flowers blossom simultaneously. It is not a miserly tree, producing one flower then another. No, suddenly, one night, all the buds open, and in the morning you cannot believe your eyes – thousands of blossoms! And they are the color of sannyasins. I had only that tree as my friend.
So he watched from his window while I said goodbye to the gulmarg.
I hugged the tree, and we remained together for a moment. The vice-chancellor rushed out, and came running to me saying, ”Forgive me, just forgive me. I have never seen anybody hugging a tree, but now I know how much everybody is missing. I have never seen anybody say goodbye or good morning to a tree, but you have not only taught me a lesson, it has really sunk in.”
I will come to it some day in some circle. That is the beauty of going in circles. You can come to the same point again and again, on a different level – like going round and round towards the peak of a mountain: you come to the same view many times, on different levels. Each time is a little different because you are not standing in the same spot, but still the view is the same, perhaps more beautiful, perhaps far more beautiful, because you can see more….
Today particularly I wanted to say that attention is a double-edged sword – double-edged because it cuts both the listener and the speaker. It also joins them together. It is a very significant process. Gurdjieff had the right word for it, ”crystallization.”
If a man is really attentive, it does not matter what to – to XYZ, to anything – in that very process of being attentive he will become integrated, crystallized. By focusing himself on one thing he will become focused within his being.
But that is only half the story; the person who is listening attentively certainly attains crystallization. It is a well-known fact in all the eastern schools of meditation. Just being attentive to anything, even nonsense, will do; just a bottle of Coca-Cola will help immensely, particularly the Americans. Just looking at the bottle of Coca-Cola attentively, and you have the secret of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s transcendental meditation. But it is only half the truth, and a half truth can be more dangerous than a complete lie.
The other half is possible only if you are not just reading a book, or chanting a mantra, or looking at a statue; the other half is possible only if you are in deep synchronicity with a living person. I am not calling it love, because that can misguide you; not even friendship, because you will think you know it already. I will call it ”synchronicity,” just so you have to think about it and give it a little of your being.
When you feel really attentive, synchronicity happens. It may be just a sunset you are watching, or just a flower, or children playing on a lawn and you are enjoying their joyousness… but a certain harmony is needed. If it happens, there is attention. If it happens between a Master and a disciple, then certainly you have the most precious diamond possible in your hands.
I have told you that I have been fortunate, although I don’t know why. There are things which one can only state; they are, and there is no reason why they are. The stars are; the roses are; the universe is.
Man has been dominated by the idea of ”one” for too long. And I am a pagan. I don’t believe in God, Ibelieveingods. Tomeatreeisagod,amountainisagod,amanisagod,butnotalways;hehas the potential. A woman is a god, but not always; more often she is a bitch, but that is her choice.
Even the cop could not understand that much punishment for just a little speeding. He said to the man, ”Sir, you can go. God has already punished you enough by giving you this woman as a wife. That is enough. Even I feel sorry for you. I know why you lost your eyesight. Who would like to see this woman? And I know you are speeding because she is continuously kicking you. I’m really sorry for you.” He said, ”You go on speeding, but she will always be there. Speed so fast that she is left behind, really behind.”
For example, as my grandmother had slowly taught me to read, I started reading books. I don’t think anybody before or after me had ever been so involved in the library of that town. Now they show everybody the place where I used to sit, and the place where I used to read and write notes.
She said, ”You know, when you read I become so interested in your voice that I completely forget what you are reading. To me, you are my Mirdad. Unless you explain it to me, Mirdad will remain absolutely unknown as far as I am concerned.”
So I had to explain to her, but that was a great discipline to me. To explain, to help the other person who is willing to go a little deeper than he could go on his own, to hold him by the hand, slowly, slowly, that became my whole life. I have not chosen it, not in the way it was chosen for J. Krishnamurti. It was imposed upon him by others. In the beginning even his speeches were written either by Annie Besant or Leadbeater; he simply repeated them. He was not on his own. It was all pre-planned, and done methodically.
I am an unplanned man, that is why I stay still wild. Sometimes I wonder what I am doing here, teaching people to be enlightened; and once they become enlightened, I immediately start teaching them how to become unenlightened again – what am I doing?
Just to play the flute for one hour alone in my bedroom… I asked him, ”Why?”
He said, ”Because I have thousands of admirers but nobody understands particularly the soundless sound. Unless one understands the soundless sound he cannot really appreciate…. So I come to you; and just that one hour is enough to enable me to play my flute for months before all kinds of idiots – governors, chief ministers, and the so-called ‘ great ones.’ When I feel utterly tired and exhausted and fed up with the idiots, I run to you. Please don’t deny me just this one hour.”
When I first came across SIDDHARTHA, Herman Hesse’s novel, I could not believe that what he had written about the river I had known so many times. And I knew perfectly well that Hesse was only imagining… a good imagination, because he died without being a Buddha. He was able to create SIDDHARTHA, but could not become a Siddhartha. But when I came across his description of the river, and the moods, and the changes, and the feelings of the river, I was overwhelmed. I was more impressed by his description of the river than anything else. I cannot recall how long I had loved the river – it seemed as if I had been born in its waters.
She would persuade me to at least have a cup of tea, saying, ”Don’t be in such a hurry. The river is not going to leave, it’s not a train.” That’s exactly what she used to say again and again: ”Remember, it is not a train. You cannot miss it. So please drink your cup of tea, then go. And don’t throw your books down like that.”
I didn’t say anything because that would have meant further delay. She was always amazed, saying, ”At any other time you are ready to argue; but when you are going to the river, even if I say anything – whether it is nonsense, illogical, absurd – you simply listen as if you were such an obedient child. What happens to you when you are going to the river?”
I said, ”Nani, you know me. You know perfectly well that I don’t want to waste time. The river is calling. I can even hear the sound of its waves while I am drinking my tea.”
Your left hand is connected to your right brain, and your right hand with the left brain, just like a cross. The right is really left, and the left is really right. To ignore the left hand is to ignore the right side of your brain – and the right side of your brain contains all that is valuable, all the diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies… all that is valuable – all the rainbows and the flowers, and the stars.
The right side of the brain contains the intuition, the instincts; in short it contains the feminine. The right hand is a male chauvinist.
I asked the teacher and the headmaster, ”Show me the reason why I should write with my right hand.”
In his memory I threw the bamboo flute that Pagal Baba had given me into the river.
I said, ”I would have liked to throw myself but I have other work to do. This is the most precious thing that I have, next to myself, so I throw it. I will never play this flute again without Hari playing on the tabla. I cannot conceive of myself ever playing again. Take it, please!”
but it is a very thankless task, reminding somebody, saying, ”Sir, you are dead. Don’t believe that you are alive.”
”You can hit me as much as you want, that does not hurt; what hurts is that when I am not giggling you say, ‘ Devageet, don’t try to deceive me….’ This hurts.
I have not read anything for years because the doctors said that if I read I will have to wear glasses, and I hate glasses. I cannot think of myself wearing glasses. I would rather close my eyes. I don’t want to create any barrier, even that of transparent glass, between me and that which surrounds me. So I have to depend on someone to read for me.
But there are only two things that a computer can’t do: one is, he cannot be alive. He can hum with mechanical noise but he cannot be alive. He cannot know what life is.
The second is a corollary of the first: he cannot become a Master. To know life is to be a Master. Just to be alive is one thing, everybody is. But to turn upon oneself, to one’s own being, to see the see-er, or to know the knower – this is what I mean by turning upon oneself – then one becomes a Master. A computer cannot turn upon itself, that is not possible.
your letter was beautiful, and you cried. I feel happy about it. Anything authentic is helpful on the way, and nothing can be as authentic as tears.
In India it happens when somebody dies – perhaps an old person nobody wanted and really everybody is happy, but nobody can show their happiness. Then the professional weepers are called in. particularly in big cities like Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, and New Delhi. They even have their own association. You just give them a call, tell them how many weepers you want, and they come – and they really weep. They can defeat any real weeper because they are technically trained people, and very efficient; and they know all the tricks. They use certain medicines, putting them just below the eyes, and that is enough for the tears to start flowing. And it is a very strange phenomenon: when tears start flowing the person suddenly feels sad.
Tears out of love are the most precious experience. You cried, I am happy… because you could have been angry, but you were not.
I have to do all my surgery without any anesthetics. Just opening somebody’s stomach or brain, and without making the person unconscious, what would happen? The pain would be too much; it would kill the person, or at least drive him mad. He would jump off the table, perhaps leaving his skull behind, and run home as fast as possible; or he may even kill the doctor. But this is how my work is. There is no possibility ever to do my work in any other way.
They have become more integrated with each hit they absorbed. Either they ran away or they had to grow. Do or die. If you do – that’s what I mean by integration, or crystallization – only then do you live. Or else – remember the dog’s death – one dies; one is dying every moment.
I have seen him play with anything possible – just a stone, and he would start by striking it on his kamandalu. A kamandalu is a pot that Hindu sannyasins carry for water and food et cetera. He would hit on the kamandalu with just anything, but he had such a sense of music that even his kamandalu would become a sitar.
Just in the marketplace he would purchase a flute, meant only as a toy for children – you could have bought a dozen for just one rupee – and he would start playing. From that crude flute such notes would come out that even a musician would look at the whole thing with wide open eyes, shocked, thinking, ”Is it possible?”
I have to tell you the name of that southern flutist I mentioned at the beginning… otherwise it will remain on my chest, and I want to unburden myself totally before I leave, so that I can leave just as I had come – with nothing, not even a memory. That’s the whole purpose of these memoirs.
WHEN YOU ARE HERE, AND I AM EMPTY OF EVERYTHING EXCEPT YOUR WORDS AND PRESENCE POURING THROUGH ME; IT IS THE GREATEST FULFILLMENT I HAVE KNOWN.
I LOVE WRITING THESE NOTES BEYOND ANY OTHER THING IN MY LIFE. THE WRITING OF THEM IS A PLEASURE, A GIFT BEYOND ANY POSSIBILITY MY MIND MAY HAVE CONCEIVED.
Now, what to make of it? I have not become a musician, but in a way he was right. I have not played on musical instruments, but I have played on thousands of hearts. I have created a far deeper music than any instrument can – non-instrumental, non-technical.
a very flat man, no hills, no valleys, just a far stretching plain. But he played the flute in his own way as nobody else has ever done before, or can ever do again. With his flute he roared like a lion.
I told him, ”You are an authentic Bengali Babu. What happens when you play the flute? You become a lion.”
He said, ”Something certainly happens. I am no more myself, otherwise I would be the same Bengali Babu, just the same cowardly man that I am. But something happens, I am possessed.”
He said, ”I become possessed. Once I start playing, I am no more; something else is. It is not Pannalal Ghosh.” I am quoting his words. He then said, ”That’s why it takes such a long introduction before I play. I am condemned everywhere because of my long introduction… because flutists are not known to have such long introductions.”
”People cannot understand, but I can tell you, that I have to wait to become possessed, hence the long introduction. I cannot start playing until it comes.”
I said, ”I hate those professors, but naturally, first I have to know their profession so that my whole life I can condemn them perfectly.”
From my very childhood my no has been very clear, and I rarely use yes. That word yes is so precious, almost holy, that it should be used only in the presence of the divine, whether it is love or beauty, or right now… orange blossom on the gulmarg, so thick it is as if the whole tree is aflame. When anything reminds you of the sacred, then you can use the word yes – it is full of prayer. No simply means that I cut myself off from the proposed activity; and I have been a no-sayer. It was very difficult to get a yes out of me.
The man said, ”But where did you find this child? I never thought a child would be able to recognize me. I have hidden myself so perfectly. You can recognize me, that’s okay, but how could he do it?”
People hear only the sound; then they have not heard the bell. You should hear the other part too. When the sound is dying, disappearing, the soundless sound is appearing, coming in. When the sound has completely disappeared, there is utter soundlessness, and that is what meditation is.
Pannalal Ghosh is thought to be the greatest flutist who has ever lived, and certainly it is not wrong, but he is not my choice. He roars like a lion, but the man is just a mouse, and that’s what I don’t like. A mouse roaring like a lion – that’s what hypocrisy is. But still I must say he manages it well. It is a difficult affair but he manages it almost perfectly. I say ”almost” because he could not deceive my eyes. I told him, and he said, ”I know it.” He is not my choice.
My choice is Hari Prasad. He is very humble, neither like a mouse nor like a lion. He is exactly what is meant by the word, majjhim, the middle, the ”golden mean.” He has brought the balance which is lost in both Pannalal Ghosh and the south Indian man, whose name I am not going to say again. But Hari Prasad has brought a balance, an immense balance, just like a tightrope-walker.
He was far more valuable to me than any university, because he introduced me to all that is best in every possible field.
In the East they call it karma, the ”theory of action”: whatever you do, remember, you will have to bring a balance again to things disturbed by your action. Now I know why he was so good to a child. He was trying, and he succeeded, to bring about balance. Once your actions are totally balanced you can then disappear. Only then can you stop the wheel. In fact, the wheel stops by itself. You don’t even have to stop it.