Pannalal Ghosh was really very famous, and when Baba said to him, ”Touch the feet of this boy first, then I can allow you to touch my feet,” he hesitated for a moment, then touched my feet without really touching.
You can touch a thing without really touching it. You do it all the time – shaking hands with people yet having no feeling, no warmth, no receptivity, no joy to share. What are you shaking hands for? It is unnecessary exercise.
I don’t say he was a good man, I only say he was not a bad man. He was just ordinary. To be good or to be bad needs some extraordinariness.
He had poured all his talent, intelligence, and his soul into his flute, and he was left barren, desert- like. His flute was beautiful, but it was better not to have known the man. Now, when I hear his flute on a record, I try to dispose of him. I tell him, ”Pannalal Ghosh, please don’t come in, let me listen to the flute.”
I have not done anything right or wrong. I am a non-doer, and I have remained persistently so, just a non-doer.
This man, Pannalal Ghosh, I neither liked nor disliked him. I was almost indifferent to him. He had no salt, so to speak, he was just tasteless. But his flute… he brought the Indian bamboo flute to the world’s notice, and raised it to be one of the greatest instruments of music. Because of him, the more beautiful flute, the Japanese, has completely faded out. Nobody bothers about the Arabic flute. But the Indian flute owes immensely to this very flat Bengali Babu, this fishy-smelling government servant.
You could give them the same flute and you would be amazed at the difference in the music. What comes out of the flute is what matters, not the flute itself. Sachdeva had a magical touch, whereas Pannalal Ghosh was technically perfect, but not a magician. Sachdeva was also technically perfect and had the art of music and magic together. Just listening to his flute is to be transported into another world. But I never liked the man. Not in the same sense as Pannalal Ghosh, which was indifference; this man I hated. It was pure and simple dislike, so total that I could not see any possibility whatsoever that we could even be acquaintances.
I used to think that a passport photo was the most ugly thing possible; nobody could be that ugly. Sachdeva was. And what a beautiful name, ”Sachdeva,” ”God of Truth,” and yet he was so ugly. My God! Jesus!
But when he started playing on his bamboo flute, all his ugliness simply disappeared. He took you to some other world. His music is very penetrating, sharp as the edge of a sword. He cuts through and through, and so skillfully that you don’t even know that the surgery has happened.
Baba said, ”I knew that you would recognize it. Please be patient. First listen to his flute, then we will think about his being a snake.” He went on, ”I was afraid you would become aware of it. I knew he would not be able to deceive you, but we will talk about that later on. First, listen to his flute.”
So I listened, and he was certainly a magician, reaching into you so deeply, just like a cuckoo calling from a distant hill.
Pannalal Ghosh moves in a perfectly flat way, very sure of his ground, each step taken with care, prepared by long, long practice. You cannot find a single flaw. You cannot find a single flaw in Sachdeva either, but he does not move on flat ground. He is a bird of the hills, flying high and low; a bird still wild, not yet tamed, but so perfect. Pannalal Ghosh seems to be very far away; something of the head, a technician really. But Sachdeva is a genius, a real artist. Innovators are very rare, and he is one of them. Particularly in a small field like the flute, he has innovated so much that for generations nobody is going to defeat him, to break his record.
When you touch the feet of somebody, you are pouring yourself, energy-wise, at his feet. It is an offering of whatsoever you are. Unless you are really worthy it would be better if you could be prevented from doing it. I could have touched his feet without any trouble. I could have poured whatsoever I had onto his feet. You can throw a flower on a rock, but don’t throw a rock on the flower.
The third man, Hari Prasad, is both. His being is as beautiful as his music. He is not as famous as Pannalal Ghosh, perhaps he never will be, because he does not care. He will not play his flute to order… he will not go after the politicians. His flute has its own flavor. The flavor of his flute can only be called balance, absolute balance, as if you were walking in a very strongly flowing stream.
The example I am giving you is from Lao Tzu. You are walking across a very strong, flowing, wild stream, and naturally you have to be very alert otherwise you will go with the stream. Lao Tzu also says that you have to walk very fast because the stream is very cold, below zero, perhaps even colder. Fast, and yet balanced, that describes what Hari Prasad Chaurasia does with his flute. Suddenly he starts and suddenly he ends; you were not expecting that he would start so suddenly.
There must be some reason. My feeling is that classical music, particularly in the East, is so deep, that if you are not even ready to be patient for half an hour, you are not worthy to be present at all.
Out of the original two hundred people, by now only four had turned up. He would look at them and say, ”Now I can say what I wanted to say, and all the fellows that I never wanted to be here have dropped out by themselves. It is really great; only those remain who are worthy of listening to me.”
Gurdjieff’s way was different. That too is a way, but only one way; there are many. I always respect and love whatsoever brings results. I believe in Gautam Buddha’s definition that ”Truth is that which works.”
Hari Prasad is my choice as far as these flutists are concerned. His flute has the beauty of both the others and yet is neither like that of Pannalal Ghosh – too loud and bombastic – nor so sharp that it cuts and hurts you. It is soft like a breeze, a cool breeze on a summer’s night. It is like the moon; the light is there but not hot, cool. You can feel the coolness of it.
The first awakened man who recognized me was Magga Baba. The second was Pagal Baba, and the third was more strange than even I could have imagined. Even Pagal Baba was not so mad. The man was called Masta Baba.
Masta Baba was superb, just superb, and just the way I like a man to be. He was exactly as if made for me. We became friends even before Pagal Baba introduced us.
Perhaps I was waiting, or pretending to do something else, but actually waiting for the man, and looking up the road – and there he was! I had not expected him to arrive this way! He came running!
you are really the man I myself would have chosen to be with. You are as mad as Pagal Baba must have been when he was young. Perhaps you are just the young Pagal Baba come back again.”
The idea is that unless three enlightened people recognize a child as a future Buddha, it is almost impossible for him to become one. Pagal Baba, you were right. Now I can see it is not just a convention. To recognize somebody as enlightened is to help him immeasurably. Particularly if a man like Pagal Baba recognizes you, and touches your feet – or a man like Masto.
I know from my own experience. These three people are the most important that I have ever met, and I don’t think I am going to meet anybody who will be more important than those three.
somebody would come, because I had done something which should not have been done. And I was doing only things which should not be done. In fact, I wondered how I knew which were the things which should not be done.
”Why do you never tell my Nani ‘Protect him’?”
He said, ”There is no need: she will protect you even if she had to die for you. She would even fight with me. I can trust her. She is the only one in your family I don’t need to say anything to about your protection.”
His insight was crystal clear. Yes, there are eyes which can see beyond the fog, which every human being creates around himself, just to hide behind.
The day I left university service, the first thing I did was to burn all my certificates and diplomas, and the whole nonsense that I had carried all along, neatly piled. I enjoyed the burning of it so much that my whole family gathered around, thinking that finally I had gone completely mad.
I said, ”My whole life I have been trying to burn these certificates, but I could not because they were always needed. Now, there is no need: I can again be uneducated as when I was born.”
He said, ”From this moment, remember, I will not call you other than what I have just called you. Please,” he said, ”let me be the first, because thousands will call you ‘the Blessed One.’ Poor Masto should at least be allowed to be the first. At least let me have that prestige.”
So we don’t have any picture of Masto. There are just three pictures I always wanted to have, just to show you. One was of Masto, a rare beauty. Another was a man I will talk about later on, and a woman who I will also talk about later on. But I don’t have a picture of any of these people.
To die in that beautiful part is richer than to live anywhere else; even dying there has something of the eternal. Perhaps it is the vibe of the saints chanting for thousands of years. The VEDAS were composed there, the GITA was written there, the Buddha was born and died there, Lao Tzu, in his last days disappeared in the Himalayas. And Masto did almost the same.
He said, ”These things are so intimate that it is prostitution to play before a crowd.”
I didn’t look back when I turned the corner of the street. I knew that if I looked back, either she would burst out crying, and then I would never go to college; or, if she did not burst out crying she may even die, just stop breathing. I was so much to her. Her only existence was around me. My clothes, my toys, my room, my bed, my bed sheets, the whole day.
The West has only looked into the mind, without looking into who is looking into the mind. It is very strange. The so-called great scientists are all trying to look into the mind, and nobody is bothered about who is looking into the mind.
Madness is falling below the mind. There is a madness that is falling above the mind; that madness is enlightenment. It is abnormal, hence it is not wrong that poor psychologists think that people like Jesus or Buddha are abnormal.
Masto was certainly a Buddha. I cannot just say, ”Thank you, see you again,” for the reason that he has done so much for me. ”Thank you” is very small, and too inappropriate.
Gurdjieff used to say, ”Please, never, never consider others. It is an insult.” He had these words written over his door. It is a tremendously significant statement.
People force one another to consider each other. ”Please consider me”? In my life I have never said that to anybody, not a single person.
A really humble person cannot ask for consideration; in fact, he will reject any consideration even if it is given to him.
S.S. Roy gave me ninety-nine out of a hundred, and to everybody else he gave just zero – just to be sure that I would win.
I said, ”No, I have not asked why you have given me ninety-nine percent; that is your wife’s question. Perhaps others may ask it too. I have come to ask why you didn’t give me one hundred percent.
I gave you ninety-nine percent just because of my cowardice.
Innovators are bound to be a little crazy, unconventional.
Whatsoever he touched would have become his instrument. It is not the instrument, it is always the man.
Curiosity is something very deep in man. It was not the serpent who persuaded Eve, it was curiosity that persuaded her, and also Adam, and so on and so forth… up until now. I think it is going to go on for ever persuading people. They pursue curiosity.
Don’t in any way depend upon tomorrows; just do it today. Only then will you be able to do it.
The feeling of shame only happens to those who are really great. It does not happen to ordinary people. They don’t know what it means to be ashamed.
you are a guest. I have to prepare my house for the guest” – in India they say, ”The guest is the god….”
She said, ”I only believe in love, and I have found it. Now you are the only guest in my temple of love. I have to keep it as clean as I can.”
She said, ”I like him very much but there is nothing to say. I have nothing to ask; he has nothing to ask either. We simply nod heads and sit silently. It is so beautiful to sit silently. With you I talk. I have to ask so many things, and you have so many things to tell me. With you talking is beautiful.”
I will never see that river again, but there is no need, because whenever I close my eyes I can see it.
The story is simple. You may have heard it, but perhaps not understood it because it is so simple. Everybody thinks he understands simplicity. It’s a strange world. People try to understand complexity, yet they ignore simplicity thinking it’s not worth paying attention to. Perhaps you may not have paid attention to the story, but when I tell it, it is bound to come back to you.
Stories are strange creatures; they never die. They are never born either, they are as old as man; that’s why I love them. If a truth is not contained in a story, it is not a story. Then it may be philosophy, theosophy, anthroposophy; and no matter how many ”sophies” there are, they are all nonsense.
”God created the world. Naturally, the question arises, and the VEDAS ask it exactly: Why did He create the world? The VEDAS, in that sense, are just great. They say, ‘Perhaps even He does not know why’ – and by ‘He’ they meant God.”
And I can see the beauty of it. Perhaps it all came out of innocence, not knowledge. Perhaps He was not creating; perhaps He was just playing, like a child making houses in the sand. Do children know for whom the houses are being made? Do they know the ant who will crawl in during the night and will feel warm?
they can teach because it needs no thinking; in fact, that is its most basic requirement. If you think, you cannot teach.
”Please don’t expect the end, because nothing in the world ends. If you want to leave, you can, because in the world many leave, and the world still continues. Just don’t disturb me. Do not ask me, ‘Can I leave, sir?’ – nobody asks that, even when one has to die, so why should you ask a poor professor of philosophy? Dear one, can I ask you why you came in the first place? You can leave whenever you want. And I will speak for as long as I feel the words are coming.”
I said, ”That means I have to meet him first. I have come in search of really mad men. Is he really mad?”
He said, ”My God! Two madmen in one house! And you are far madder than I am. Come in, sir, and be seated.”
if it is eleven, I can start at eleven – I cannot guarantee that I can finish when the bell rings forty minutes later.
I said, ”I can understand that. How can the poor man who rings the bell every forty minutes understand what you are doing? And not only you, what are all the professors in the whole university doing? If they stop, then they are stupid. The bell does not know; the man who rings the bell does not know, so why should you stop? If you make it a point that you will not stop, then listen, I will also make it a point, man to man, that if you stop I will hit you so hard you may not survive.”
God created the world. He finished it in six days. The last thing He created was the woman. Naturally, the question arises, Why? Why did He create the woman last? Of course, the feminists will say, ”Because woman is the most perfect creation of God.” Obviously He created her after His experience of creating man. Man is a little older model. Naturally God refined it, and made it better.
But the male chauvinists have another reply. They say God created man as the last of His creations, but then man started asking questions such as, ”Why did you create the world?” and, ”Why did you create me?” And God became so puzzled that He created woman to puzzle man. Since then God has heard nothing from man.
He said, ”Okay, I will make you disappear.” Lilith disappeared, and then God created Eve from Adam’s rib.
Every night, Eve counts Adam’s ribs before she goes to sleep, to be certain that all the other ribs are still there and that there is no other woman in the world, then she can sleep well.
”My conclusion is that God created man first because He did not want any interference while He was creating.”
Masto said, ”You always create such strange questions out of such absurd stories, and then you make them sound sensible. I wonder if one day you will become a story writer.”
I said, ”Never. Far more talented people are engaged in that work. I am needed somewhere else where nobody else seems to be interested, because I am thinking to be interested only in God.”
Life is always simple and complex, both. Simple as a dewdrop, and as complex also as a dewdrop, because the dewdrop can reflect the whole sky, and it contains all the oceans. And certainly it is not going to be there forever… maybe just a few minutes, and then gone forever. I emphasize forever. Then there is no way to get it back, with all those stars and oceans.
Life is interlinked, you cannot cut it into neat pieces. It is not a piece of cloth. You cannot cut it at all, because the moment you cut it from all its connections it is no longer the same. It becomes something dead, not breathing. I want it to take its own course, not even to direct it, because I have not directed it in the first place. It took its own course – unguided.
In fact, I hated guides and still do because they prevent you from flowing with that which is. They direct, their business is to hurry you up to the next point. Their work is to make you feel as if you have come to know. Neither they know, nor you.
Knowing only comes through living unguided, undirected. That is the way I have lived and am still living.
It’s a strange fate. Even from my very childhood I knew this was not my home.
Again I said to myself: This is not the home I was looking for. Now where do I go?
Since then, how many houses have I lived in? It is almost impossible for you to imagine that in almost fifty years of life I have been just moving houses, and doing nothing else. Of course, the grass was growing – I was moving house, and doing nothing, and the grass was growing. But the whole credit goes to ”nothing,” not to my moving house.
moving from one house to another. I can remember hundreds of houses, but not a single one where I could have said, ”This is my house.” I was hoping, perhaps this one… that’s been the way for my whole life: ”Perhaps the next one.”
I know that no house is ever going to be mine; but knowing is one thing: once in a while, something which can only be called ”being” covers it.
”Your husband is unwilling to have me here, and unless he is willing it would be better for me to live on the street than to be in his house. I cannot enter unless I am convinced that he will be happy to have me. And I cannot promise that I will not be a trouble to you. It is against my nature to not be in trouble. I am just helpless.”
Without creating friends, you cannot create enemies. That is a basic law. If you want friends, get ready for the enemies too. That’s why many, the majority of people, decide to have neither friends nor enemies, just acquaintances.
I would like to be called nastika, ”one who does not believe,” because only the blind ones believe. Those who can see, they need not believe.
to believe is to limit. To believe is to be arrogant; to believe is to believe that you know.
To be nastika simply says, ”I do not know.” It is exactly the English word ”agnostic,” ”one who does not believe.” Nor can he say that he does not believe; in fact he simply remains with a question mark. A man with a question mark, that is an agnostic.
when good people get angry then something nasty is bound to happen, because all good people repress their nastiness. When it explodes, it is an atomic explosion! Jews are always nice people; that is their only fault.
If they had been a little less nice, Jesus need not have gone to the cross. But they were so nice, they had to crucify him. They were really crucifying themselves; their own son, their very blood – and not an ordinary son, their very best. Jews have not produced, neither before, nor after, anyone who even resembles, or even comes close to Jesus. They should have loved the man, but they were nice guys, that was the trouble. They could not forgive him.
I changed houses so many times that everybody wondered if it was my hobby, changing houses.
I said, ”Yes, it helps you to become acquainted with so many people in different localities, and I love to be acquainted.”
It started with my school, and it is just the second day. Life is so multidimensional. When I say so multidimensional, it may look absurd because just multidimensional covers it. Why call it so multidimensional? Life is multi-multidimensional.