I was looking at some pictures of the marriage procession of Princess Anne, and strangely, the only thing that impressed me in the whole nonsense was the beautiful horses, their joyous dance.
Looking at those horses I remembered my own horse. I have not told anyone about it, not even Gudia, who loves horses. But now that I am not keeping anything secret, even this can be told.
I not only owned one horse; in fact I had four horses. One was my own - and you know how fussy I am... even today nobody else can ride in the Rolls. It is just fussiness. I was the same at that time too. Nobody, not even my grandfather, was allowed to ride my horse. Of course I was allowed to ride everyone else's horse. Both my grandfather and my grandmother had one. It was strange, in an Indian village, for a woman to ride a horse - but she was a strange woman, what to do? The fourth horse was for Bhoora, the servant who always followed me with his gun, at a distance of course.
Destiny is strange. I have never harmed anyone in my life, not even in my dreams. I am absolutely vegetarian. But as destiny would have it, from my very childhood I have been followed by a guard; I don't know why. But since Bhoora I have never been without a guard. Even today my guards are always either ahead or behind, but always there. Bhoora started the whole game.
I already told you that he looked like a European. That's why he was called Bhoora. It was not his real name. Bhoora simply means "the white one." Even I don't know his real name at all. He looked European, very European, and it looked really strange, especially in that village where I don't think any European had ever entered. And still there are guards....
Even when I was a child, I could see the point of Bhoora following me at a distance on his horse, because twice there was an attempt to abduct me. I don't know why anybody should have been interested in me. Now at least I can understand: my grandfather, though not very rich by western
standards, was certainly very rich in that village. Dacoits - now Devageet will be in real difficulty to spell the word "dacoit"....
It is not an English word, it comes from the Hindi word dacu; but in that sense English is one of the most generous languages in the world. Every year it goes on absorbing eight thousand words from other languages; that's why it goes on growing bigger and bigger. It is bound to become the world language - nobody can prevent it. All the other languages of the world, on the other hand, are very shy; they go on shrinking. They believe in purity, that no other language should be allowed to enter.
Naturally they are bound to remain small and primitive. Dacoit is a transliteration of dacu; it means "thief" - not just an ordinary thief, but when a group of people, armed and organized, plan the act of stealing. Then it is "dacoitry."
Even when I was young, in India it was a common practice to steal rich people's children, then to threaten the parents that if they didn't pay, then the hands of the child would be cut off. If they paid, then they could save the child's hands. Sometimes the threat would be to blind the child, or if the parents were really rich, then the threat was direct, that the child would be killed. To save the child, the poor parents were ready to do anything whatsoever.
Twice they tried to steal me. Two things saved me: one was my horse, who was a really strong Arabian; the second was Bhoora, the servant. He was ordered by my grandfather to fire into the air - not at the people trying to abduct me, because that is against Jainism, but you are allowed to fire into the air to frighten them. Of course my grandmother had whispered in Bhoora's ear, "Don't bother about what my husband says. First you can fire into the air, but if it doesn't work, remember: if you don't shoot the people I will shoot you." And she was a really good shot. I have seen her shoot and she was always accurate to the minutest point. She was just like Gudia - she did not miss much.
Nani was in many ways like Gudia, very exact as far as details are concerned. She was always to the point, never around it. There are some people who go around and around and around, you have to figure out what they really want. That was not her way; she was exact, mathematically exact.
She told Bhoora, "Remember, if you come home without him just to report he has been stolen, I will shoot you immediately." I knew, Bhoora knew, my grandfather knew, because although she said it into Bhoora's ear, it was not a whisper; it was loud enough to be heard by the whole village. She meant it; she always meant business.
My grandfather looked the other way. I could not resist; I laughed loudly and said, "Why are you looking the other way? You heard her. If you are a real Jaina tell Bhoora not to shoot anybody."
But before my grandfather could say anything, my Nani said, "I have told Bhoora on your behalf too, so you keep quiet." She was such a woman that she would even have shot my grandfather. I knew her - I don't mean literally, but metaphorically, and that is more dangerous than literally. So he kept quiet.
Twice I was almost abducted. Once my horse brought me home, and once Bhoora had to fire the gun, of course into the air. Perhaps if there had been a need he would have fired at the person who was trying to abduct me, but there was no need, so he saved himself and also my grandfather's religion.
Since then, it is strange, it seems very, very strange to me because I have been absolutely harmless to everybody, yet I have been in danger many times. Many attempts have been made on my life. I have always wondered, since life will end by itself sooner or later, why anybody should be interested to put an end to it in the middle. What purpose can it serve? If I could be convinced of that purpose I can stop breathing this very moment.
I once asked a man who had tried to kill me. I had the chance to ask him because he finally became a sannyasin. I asked, "Now we are both alone, tell me why you wanted to kill me." In those days, at Woodlands in Bombay, I used to give sannyas to people alone in my room. I said, "We are alone. I can give you sannyas, there is no problem in it. First become a sannyasin, then tell me the purpose, why you wanted to kill me. If you can convince me I will stop breathing here and now in front of you."
He started weeping and crying and holding my feet. I said, "This won't do, you have to convince me of the purpose."
He said, "I was just an idiot. There is nothing I can say to you." Perhaps that is the reason why an absolutely harmless man like me has been attacked in every possible way. I have been given poison....
Just the other day someone came to me very worried because Gudia had said in a metaphorical way that "If Bhagwan dies I will be relieved."
Naturally the person was very disturbed. She told me, "Now I cannot even sleep, because Vivek is your caretaker, and she told me she would be relieved if you were dead! This is dangerous - she could poison you!"
I laughed and said, "Come to your senses! She must have been talking metaphorically. After being ten years with me anybody can become a philosopher; a little bit of metaphysics, and a little bit of a metaphor, that's all it is. You need not be worried. She would be the last person in the whole universe who could harm me. I could harm myself, but she would not... so don't be worried."
But I can understand her worry.
I said, "I understand, but don't be worried. Gudia goes through tantrums once in a while but even then she has not harmed me. She cannot, it is impossible for her. Yes," I said, "that is impossible."
Once in a while anybody can have a tantrum, particularly a woman; and more so if she has to live twenty-four hours a day, or maybe more, with a man like me, who is not nice at all; who is always hard, and always trying to push you to the very edge, and who does not allow you to come back. He goes on and on pushing and telling you to "Jump before you think!"
My Nani was certainly similar to Gudia, particularly when she was in a tantrum. I have seen her in a tantrum, but I was never worried. I have seen her pull her gun out and rush towards my grandfather's room. But I continued what I was doing. She asked me, "Are you not afraid?"
I said, "You go on and do your work and let me do mine."
She laughed, saying "You are a strange boy. I am going to kill your grandfather and you are trying to make a house out of playing cards. Are you mad or something?"
I said, "You just go and kill that old man. I have always dreamed of doing it myself, so why should I worry? Don't disturb me."
She sat down by my side and started helping me to make the palace I was creating out of playing cards. But when she had said to Bhoora, "If anyone touches my child you are not just to fire into the air, because we believe in Jainism.... That belief is good, but only in the temple. In the marketplace we have to behave in the way of the world, and the world is not Jaina. How can we behave according to our philosophy?"
I can see her crystal-clear logic. If you are talking to a man who does not understand English, you cannot speak to him in English. If you speak to him in his own language then there is more possibility of communication. Philosophies are languages; let that be clearly noted. Philosophies don't mean anything at all - they are languages. And the moment I heard my grandmother say to Bhoora, "When a dacoit tries to steal my child, speak the language he understands, forget all about Jainism"
in that moment I understood, although it was not so clear to me as it became later on. But it must have been clear to Bhoora. My grandfather certainly understood the situation because he closed his eyes and started repeating his mantra: "NAMO ARIHANTANAM NAMO... NAMO SIDDHANAM NAMO...."
I laughed, my grandmother giggled; Bhoora, of course, only smiled, but everybody understood the situation - and she was right, as always.
I will tell you another resemblance between Gudia and my grandmother; she is almost always right, even with me. If she says something, I may not agree, but I know that finally she is going to be right.
I will not agree, that too is true; I am a stubborn man. I have told you again and again, I stick to whatsoever I am, right or wrong. My wrong is my wrong, and I love it because it is mine; but as far as the question of it being right or wrong is concerned.... whenever there is a conflict I know Gudia is going to be right finally.... For the moment I am going to decide... and I am a stubborn man.
My grandmother had the same quality of being always right. She said to Bhoora, "Do you think these dacoits believe in Jainism? And that old fool..." she indicated my grandfather who was repeating his mantra. She then said, "That old fool has only told you to fire into the air because we should not kill.
Let him repeat his mantra. Who is telling him to kill? You are not a Jaina, are you?"
I knew instinctively at that moment that if Bhoora was a Jaina he would lose his job. I had never bothered before whether Bhoora was a Jaina or not. For the first time I became concerned about the poor man, and started praying. I did not know to whom, because Jainas don't believe in any God. I was never indoctrinated into any belief, but still I started saying within myself, "God, if you are there, save this poor man's job." Do you see the point? Even then I said, "If you are there...." I cannot lie even in such a situation... but mercifully Bhoora was not a Jaina.
He said, "I am not a Jaina so I don't care."
My Nani said, "Then remember what I have told you, not what that old fool has said."
In fact she always used to use that term for my grandfather, "that old fool" and I have reserved it for Devageet - but that "old fool" is dead. My mother... my grandmother is dead - excuse me, again I said "my mother." I really cannot believe she was not my mother and only my grandmother.
By the way, you will be surprised that all my brothers and sisters - and there are nearly a dozen of them excluding me - they all call my mother Ma, "mother," except me; I call her bhabhi. Everybody in India always used to wonder why I called my mother bhabhi, because it means "elder brother's wife." In Hindi, the word for elder brother is baiya; the word for his wife is bhabhi. My uncles call my mother bhabhi, and that is perfectly okay. Why do I still call her bhabhi even now? The reason is I had known another woman as my mother - that was my mother's mother.
After those early years of knowing Nani as my mother it was impossible to call any other woman Ma - mother. I have always called her my Nani, and I know she was not my real mother, but she mothered me. My real mother remained a little far away; a little foreign. Even though my Nani is dead, she is closer to me. Even though my mother is now enlightened I will still call her bhabhi, I cannot call her Ma. To use that would be almost a betrayal of one who is dead. No, I cannot do it.
My grandmother herself had said many times to me, "Why do you go on calling your mother bhabhi?
Call her mother." I simply avoided the question. This is the first time that I have spoken about or discussed it - with you.
My Nani has somehow become part of my very being. She loved me so immensely. Once, when a thief entered our house she fought with him barehanded, and I saw how ferocious a woman can be... really dangerous! If I had not interfered she would have killed the poor man. I said, "Nani!
What are you doing! Just for my sake, leave him. Let him go!" Because I was crying and telling her to stop for my sake, she allowed the man to go. The poor man could not believe that she was sitting on his chest holding his neck with both her hands. She would certainly have killed him. Just a little more pressure on his throat and the man would have died.
When she spoke to Bhoora I knew she meant it. Bhoora knew she meant it too. When my grandfather started the mantra, I knew he also understood that she meant business.
Twice I was attacked - and to me it was a joy, an adventure. In fact deep down, I wanted to know what it meant to be abducted. That has always been my characteristic, you can call it my character.
It is a quality I rejoice in. I used to go on my horse to the woods which belonged to us. My grandfather promised that all that belonged to him would be willed to me, and he was true to his word. He never gave a single pai to anybody else.
He had thousands of acres of land. Of course, in those days it didn't have any value, but value is not my concern. It was so beautiful - those tall trees, and a great lake; and in summer when the mangos became ripe it was so fragrant. I used to go there on my horse so often that the horse became accustomed to my path.
I am still the same... and if I don't like a place I never return there.
I have been to Madras only once, just once because I never liked the place, particularly the language.
It sounded as if everybody was fighting with everybody else; I hate that. And I hate that kind of language, so I said to my host, "This is my first and last visit to you."
He said, "Why the last?"
I said, "I hate this type of language. Everyone seems to be fighting. I know they are not - it is just the way they speak." I hate Madras, I don't like it at all.
Krishnamurti likes Madras, but that is his business. He goes there every year. He is a Tamil. In fact he was born near Madras. He is a Madrassee, so for him to go there is perfectly logical. Why should I go there?
I used to go to many places. Why? There is no why. I just liked to go. I like to be on the go. Do you get it?... on the go. I am a man who has no business here, or there, or anywhere. I am just on the go. Let me say it in other words: I am on the merry-go-round. Now I think you get it.
I used to go on my horse, and seeing those horses in Princess Anne's wedding procession I could not believe that England could have such beautiful horses. The queen is just homely - I don't want to say ugly, just out of politeness. And Prince Charles is certainly not a prince; look at his face! You call his type of face princely? Perhaps in England... and the guests! The bigwigs! In particular, the high priest - what do you call him in England?
"The archbishop of Canterbury, Bhagwan."
Great! Archbishop! A great name for such a dash-dash-dash. Otherwise they will say that because I used such words I cannot be enlightened. But I think everybody in the world will understand what I mean by dash-dash-dash - even the archbishop!
All those people, and I could only love the horses! They were the real people. What joy! What steps!
What dance! Just sheer celebration. I immediately remembered my own horse, and those days...
their fragrance is there still. I can see the lake, and myself as a child on the horse in the woods. It is strange - although my nose is under this mousetrap I can smell the mangos, the neem trees, the pines, and I can also smell my horse.
It is good that I was not allergic to smell in those days, or, who knows, I may have been allergic but unaware of it. It is a strange coincidence that the year of my enlightenment was also the year of my becoming allergic. Perhaps I was allergic before and just not aware of it. And when I became enlightened, the awareness came. I have dropped the enlightenment now. "Please," I am telling existence, "drop this allergy so that again I can ride a horse." That will be a great day, not only for me but for all my sannyasins.
There is only one picture, which they go on publishing all over the world, in which I am riding on a Kashmiri horse. It is just a picture. I was not really riding, but because the photographer wanted me to be photographed on a horse, and I loved the man - the photographer, I mean - I could not say no to him. He had brought the horse and all his equipment, so I said okay. I just sat on the horse, and you can even see from the picture that my smile was not true. It is the smile when a photographer says, "Smile please!" But if I can transcend enlightenment, who knows, I may transcend allergy to horses at least. Then I can have the same kind of world around me:
the mountains, the river...
only I will miss my grandmother.
Devageet, you are not the only Jew here. Remember, you are not in a hurry. I am in the hurry, my bladder is hurting! So please... I always want to have the last word. Devageet, you would have been such a good nagging wife. Really, I mean it! Just find a nice boy and go on honeymoon. Look, you are already thinking that I have released you. Don't be in such a hurry. Your bladders are not bursting! Now....
This is fabulous! I have just used this word for the first time in my life... just fabulous! I don't know what it means, but when your bladder is bursting, who cares!