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. The listener may have plugged his ears with wool, that's another matter. No psychoanalyst can listen to all that nonsense day in and day out. Moreover he himself needs somebody to listen to him. You will be surprised that all psychoanalysts go to each other. Of course they don't charge each other, out of professional courtesy, but there is a great need to unwind, to unload, to simply say whatever comes into your mind and not to go on piling it up, because then those piles torture you.
I quoted Bertrand Russell as a link. I called it a nail just so that I could continue my story. Bertrand Russell himself, though he lived a long life, never knew what life was. But sometimes the words of those who have not known can be used significantly by those who can see. They can put those words in a proper context.
You may not have come across this quotation because it is in a book that nobody reads at all. You will not believe Bertrand Russell even wrote such a book. It is a book of short stories. He has written hundreds of books, many of them well-known, well-read and well-recognized, but this book is rare in a sense because it is only a collection of short stories, and he was very reluctant to publish it.
He was not a short story writer, and his stories are, of course, third-rate, but here and there in those third-rate stories one comes across a sentence that only Bertrand Russell could have written. This quotation is from that book.
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 started winning in competitions when I was just a child in primary school, and that continued to the very end, when I left university. I collected so many prizes, medals and cups and shields and whatnot, that my grandmother became just a young girl again. Whenever she would bring someone to show them my prizes and awards, she was no longer an old woman, she became almost young again.
Her whole house became almost a museum because I went on sending her my prizes. Up till high school, of course, I was almost a resident in her house. It was just for courtesy's sake that I used to visit my parents in the daytime; but the night was hers, because that was the time to tell the stories.
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."
Many times I said to her, "You will spoil me; both you and Shambhu Babu are spoiling me forever."
And they really did their job well. I collected hundreds of awards. There was not a single high school in the whole state where I had not spoken and won - except once. Only once had I not been the winner, and the reason was simple. Everybody was amazed, even the girl who had won, because, she said to me, "It is impossible to think I could win against you."
The whole hall - and there must have been at least two thousand students - became full of a great humming, and everybody was saying that it was unfair, even the principal who was presiding over the contest. Losing that cup became very significant to me; in fact, if I had not lost that cup, I would have been in great trouble. Of that I will tell you when the time comes.
The principal called me and said, "I am sorry - you are certainly the winner," and he gave his own watch to me saying, "This is far more costly than the cup which was given to that girl." And it certainly was. It was a gold watch. I have received thousands of watches, but I have never again received such a beautiful one; it was a real masterpiece. That principal was very interested in rare things, and his watch was a rare piece.
I can still see it. I have received so many watches, but I have forgotten them.
One of those watches is behaving strangely. When I need it, it stops. All the time it runs perfectly; it stops only at night between three and five. Is that not strange behavior? - because that is the only time when I sometimes wake up - just an old habit. In my younger days I used to wake up at three in the morning. I did it for so many years that even if I don't get up, I have to turn in my bed and then go back to sleep. That is the time when I need to see whether I should really get up, or I can still have a little more sleep; and strangely, that is when the watch stops.
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!"
The principal gave me his watch, and said, "Forgive me, because you certainly were the winner, and I must tell you that the man who was the judge is in love with the girl who won the prize. He is a fool. I say it, even though he is one of my professors and a colleague. This is the last straw. I am throwing him out right now. This is the end of his service in this college. This is too much. I was in the presidential chair, and the whole auditorium laughed. It seems everybody knew the girl was not even able to speak, and I think nobody except her lover, the professor, even understood what she was saying. But you know, love is blind."
I said, "Absolutely right - love is blind, but why had you chosen a blind person to be the judge, particularly when his girl was a competitor? I am going to expose the whole thing." And I exposed it to the newspapers, telling them the whole story. It was really troublesome for the poor professor - so much so that his love affair finished. He lost everything, his service, his reputation, and the girl for whose love he had staked everything - all was lost. He is still alive. Once, as an old man, he came to see me, and confessed, "I am sorry, I certainly did something wrong, but I never thought that it was going to take such a shape."
I said to him, "Nobody knows what an ordinary action is going to bring to the world. And don't feel sorry. You lost your service and your beloved. What did I lose? Nothing at all, just one more shield, and I have so many that I don't care."
In fact my grandmother's house had become, by and by, just a museum for my shields, cups and medals; but she was very happy, immensely happy. It was a small house to be cluttered with all this rubbish, but she was happy that I went on sending her all my prizes, from college and from university. I went on and on, and every year I won dozens of cups, either for debate or for eloquence or for story-telling competitions.
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. Even when people are showing that
they are listening, they are not listening, they are doing a thousand other things. Hypocrites just pretending... but not the way an attentive listener should be - 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.
My Nani would wait the whole day for the time when I would come back home to tell her stories.
And you will be surprised how, unknowingly, she prepared me for the job that I was going to do. It was she who first heard many of the stories that I have told you. It was her to whom I could tell any nonsense without any fear.
The other person, Shambhu Babu, was totally different from my Nani. My Nani was very intuitive, but not intellectual. Shambhu Babu was also intuitive, but intellectual too. He was an intellectual of the first grade. 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."
I was also amazed that he was always ready with the very things that I liked. He was a man of the law, so naturally he found a way. From school I would rush to his house, take my tea and sweets that he had bought, then he was ready. 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.
And when I closed my eyes he too would close his eyes, and we would sit like the Quakers, just in silence. There were so many times, day after day, when I either spoke or else we stayed in silence.
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.
I have been fortunate in that way. My Nani and Shambhu Babu started the ball rolling, and as it rolled on, it gathered more and more moss. Without ever learning how to speak, I became a speaker. I still don't know how to speak, and I have reached thousands of people - without even knowing how to begin. Can you see the amusing part of it? I must have spoken more than any man in the whole of history, although I am still only forty-nine.
I started speaking so early, yet I was not in any way what you call a speaker in the western world.
Not a speaker who says, "Ladies and Gentlemen." and all that nonsense - all borrowed and nothing experienced. I was not a speaker in that sense, but I spoke with my whole heart aflame, afire. 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.
The principal who gave me his watch, and brought this whole trouble about for you, his name was B.S. Audholia. I hope he is still alive. As far as I know he is, and I know far enough. I don't hope against hope; when I hope, that means that it is so.
That night he said, "I am sorry," and he really was sorry; he threw the professor out of service. B.S.
Audholia also told me that whenever I needed anything, I had only to inform him, and if it was within his capacity at all he would do it. Later, whenever I required anything, I just sent a note to him and it was fulfilled. He never asked why.
Once I asked him myself, "Why don't you ever ask me why I need this?"
He said, "I know you: if you have asked for it, my asking why would be foolish. You could provide so many reasons, even if you didn't need it. One more thing," he said: "if you have asked for it, it is impossible to believe that you would have asked unless you really had a need. I know you, and knowing you is enough to give me all the reasons I need."
I looked at the man. I did not expect that a principal of a very famous college could be so understanding. He laughed and said, "It is just a coincidence that I happen to be the principal; in fact, I should not be. It was just a mistake on the part of the governors." I had not asked so much, but he must have read it on my face. From that day I started growing a beard. You cannot read much from behind a beard. It is dangerous if things can be read so easily. You have to create something so that you are not just a newspaper.
Six months later when he met me again, he said, "Why have you started growing a beard?"
I said, "You are the cause. You said you had read my face; now my face will not be so easy to read."
He laughed and said, "You cannot hide it - it is in your eyes. Why don't you start wearing sunglasses if you really want to hide?"
I said, "I cannot wear sunglasses, for the simple reason that I cannot create any barrier between my eyes and existence. That is the only bridge where we meet, there is no other."
That is why a blind man is given sympathy by everybody everywhere. He is a man without a bridge; he has lost his contact. Researchers now are saying that eighty percent of our contact with existence is through the eyes. Perhaps they are right - perhaps it is more than they think, but eighty percent is certain. It may ultimately prove to be far more, perhaps ninety percent or even ninety-nine percent.
The eye is the man.
The Buddha cannot have the same eyes as Adolf Hitler... or do you think he can? Forget them both, they are not contemporaries. Jesus and Judas were contemporaries; not only contemporaries but Master and disciple. Still I say they cannot have the same eyes, the same quality. Judas would have had very cunning eyes, really Jewish. Jesus would have had the eyes of a child, although physically no longer a child, but psychologically he was. Even on the cross he died as if he were in the womb, still in the womb - so fresh, as if the flower had never opened but remained a bud. It never knew all the ugliness that exists everywhere. Jesus and Judas lived together, moved together, but I don't think that Judas had ever looked into Jesus' eyes. Otherwise things would have been different.
If Judas had even once gathered courage enough to look into the eyes of Jesus, there would have been no crucifixion and no Crossianity - I mean Christianity; that is my name for Christianity. Judas was cunning. Jesus was so simple that you could almost call him "the fool." That's what Fyodor Dostoevsky said in one of his most creative novels, THE IDIOT.
Although it was not written for or about Jesus, Dostoevsky was so filled with the spirit of Jesus that somehow Jesus comes in. The main character of the novel, THE IDIOT, is nobody but Jesus.
He is not mentioned, nor can you find any reference to him, nor any resemblance, but if you read it something will start resounding in your very heart, and you will agree with me. It will be an agreement, not through the head; it will be an agreement deeper than imagination can penetrate, in the very beat of your heart - a real agreement.