The other day I told you about Masto's disappearance. I think he is still alive. In fact I know he is. In the East, this has been one of the most ancient ways, to disappear in the Himalayas before you die.
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.
No one knows yet whether Lao Tzu died or not. How can one be decisive? Hence the legend that he is immortal. Nobody is. One who is born is bound to die. Lao Tzu must have died, but people never came to know of it. At least one should be able to have a completely private death, if one wants it.
Masto took care of me more efficiently than Pagal Baba could ever have done. First, Baba was really the madman. Secondly, he would come only once in a while, like a whirlwind, to visit me, then disappear. This is not the way to care. Once I even told him, saying, "Baba, you talk so much about how you are taking care of this child, but before you say it again, I must be heard."
He laughed and said, "I understand, you need not say it, but I will pass you on to the right hands.
I am not really capable of taking care of you. Can you understand that I am ninety years old? It is time for me to leave the body. I am hanging around just to find the right person for you. Once I have found him I can relax into death."
I never knew then that he was really serious, but that's what he did. He handed over his charge to Masto, and died, laughing. That was the last thing he did.
Zarathustra may have laughed when he was born... nobody is a witness, but he must have laughed; his whole life indicated towards it. It was that laughter which caught the attention of one of the most intelligent men in the West, Friedrich Nietzsche. But Pagal Baba really laughed as he died, before we could ask why. We could not have asked the question anyway. He was not a philosopher, and he would not have answered even if he had lived. But what a way to die! And remember it was not just a smile. I really mean a laughter.
Everybody there looked at each other, thinking, "What's the matter?" until he laughed so loudly that everybody thought that up till then he had been only mildly mad - but now he had gone to the extreme. They all left. Naturally, nobody laughs when one is born, just as part of etiquette; and nobody laughs at death, again, just nothing but a mannerism. Both are British.
Baba was always against manners, and the people who believe in manners. That's why he loved me, that's why he loved Masto. And when he was looking for a man who could take care of me, naturally, he could not have found a better man than Masto.
Masto proved himself more than Baba could ever have thought. He did so much for me that even to say it hurts. It is something so private that it should not be said, so private that one should not even say it while one is alone.
I was just saying to Gudia, "Tell Devageet never to leave his notebooks in this Noah's Ark" - because last night the devil was typing from his notebooks. You will not believe it. In fact, I could not believe it when I first heard the story. Gudia said there was no light from the window. I wondered and said to myself, "They have gone mad or what? Typing without a light?"
Gudia looked in the room and said, "This is really something! The machine is making a noise exactly like a typewriter."
Not only that, every once in a while it stopped, as if the typist was looking at the notebook, then again typing. Gudia asked Asheesh, "What could be the matter?"
He told her, "Nothing much, just the filter on the air conditioner has gathered too much dust and that makes such a noise." But exactly like a typewriter...? I loved the story anyway, and I tell you to keep your notebooks away from the devil. He can even type without a typewriter, without a light.
The devil is always a perfectionist. He cannot be otherwise, it is part of his very function. Typing without a typewriter - in the dark? And I know Devageet would not leave his notebooks anywhere.
But the devil can even type without notebooks too. He can read your minds. So don't bring your minds in, at least when you are working on my words. Don't bring your minds in, otherwise you open the door to the devil.
Masto was the best choice that Baba could have made. I cannot in any way conceive of a better man.
Not only was he a meditator... of course he was, otherwise there would have been no communion possible between him and me. And meditation simply means not being a mind, at least for the time you are meditating.
But that was not all, he was many more things. He was a beautiful singer, but he never sang for the public. We both used to laugh at the phrase, "the public." It consists of only the most retarded
children. It is a wonder how they manage to gather at a place at a certain appointed time. I cannot explain it. Masto said he could not explain it either. It just cannot be explained.
He never sang for the public, but only for a very few people who loved him, and they had to promise never to talk about it. His voice was really "his master's voice." Perhaps he was not singing, but only allowing "the existence" - that's the only proper word that I can use. He was allowing existence to flow through him. He was not preventing; that was his merit.
He was also a talented sitar player, but again, I have never seen him playing before a crowd. Often I was the only one present when he played, and he would tell me to lock the door, saying, "Please lock the door, and whatsoever happens, don't open it until I am dead." And he knew that if I wanted to open the door I would have to kill him first, and then open it. I would keep my promise. But his music was such.... He was not known to the world: the world missed.
He said, "These things are so intimate that it is prostitution to play before a crowd." That was his exact word, "prostitution." He was really a philosopher, a thinker, and very logical, not like me. With Pagal Baba I had only one thing in common, that was "the madness." Masto had many things in common with him. Pagal Baba was interested in many things. I certainly could not be a representative of Pagal Baba, but Masto was. I cannot be anybody's representative whosoever.
Masto did so much for me, in every way, that I could not believe how Baba had known that he would be the right person. And I was a child, and needed much direction; and not an easy child either.
Unless I was convinced I would not move an inch. In fact, I would move back a little just to be safe.
I am reminded of a small anecdote. I used to use this anecdote as a joke. Many of my jokes are perhaps painted a little here and there, to make them look like jokes, but many of them come from real life. And real life is far more of a joke book than any joke book could ever be. How do I know this joke comes from real life? Because it cannot be otherwise, there is no other way. I remember I used to tell this joke and this is the way I remember it.
A child comes to school late, very late. It is raining. The teacher looks with those stony eyes that are given specially only to teachers - and to wives. And if you marry a woman who is both, then God help you! We can only pray for you. Then that woman will have four stony eyes which look in all directions. Beware of school teachers! Never, never marry a school teacher. Whatsoever happens, escape before you stumble and fall. Fall anywhere, but not into a school teacher, otherwise you will have a real hell of a life. And if she is English then things are tripled!
The small boy, already very afraid, completely drenched with water, somehow had still reached the school. But a school teacher is a school teacher. She asked, "Why are you late?"
He had thought it was enough proof. It was raining so hard... cats and dogs were raining; and he was completely wet, dripping. And yet she was still asking, "Why are you late?"
He invented, just like any child would, saying, "Miss, it is so slippery that as I took one step forward, I slipped two steps back."
The woman looked even more stern and said, "How can that be? If you take one step forwards and then slip back two steps - you cheat - then you could never have got to school."
The small boy said, "Miss, please understand, I turned towards my house and started running away from school, that's how I got here."
I say it is not a joke. That school teacher is real. The boy is real. The rain is real. The school teacher's conclusion is real; and the small boy's conclusion could not be more real. I have told thousands of jokes and many of them came from real life. Those which don't come from real life also come from real life, but from the underground life, which is also real, but never on the surface - it is not allowed.
Masto had real talent in many dimensions. He was a musician, a dancer, a singer, and whatnot, but always very shy of "those eyes." He used to call the people, "those ugly eyes." He would say, "People cannot see, but only believe that they see. I am not for them." Again and again he would remind me that I should not invite a single friend - although I had none - I mean a single acquaintance.
But once, when I asked him, "Can I ever be allowed to bring someone?" he replied, "if you just want the joy of inviting somebody intimate, then your Nani is allowed. For her, you need not even ask. Of course if she does not want to come, then I cannot do anything about it." And that is what happened.
When I told my Nani, she said, "Tell Masto to come to my house and play his sitar here." And he was such a humble man he came to play his sitar for the old woman. And he was so happy playing for her. And I was so happy that he had come, and did not refuse. I had been worried that he might.
And my grandmother, my Nani, the old woman, suddenly became as if she were young again. I saw what can only be called a transfiguration! As she became more and more attuned to the sitar, she became younger and younger. I saw a miracle happen. By the time Masto had finished playing his sitar, she was suddenly the old woman again.
I said, "This is not right, Nani; at least let poor Masto have one glimpse of what his music can do for a person like you."
She said, "It is not in my hands. If it happens it happens. If it does not happen, nothing can be done about it. I know that Masto will understand."
Masto said, "I do understand."
But what I saw was just unbelievable. I blinked my eyes again and again just to see whether it was only a dream, or I was really seeing her youth come back. Even today, I cannot believe that it was just my imagination. Perhaps on that day, but today I don't have any imagination at all. I see things as they really are.
Masto remained unknown to the world at large for the simple reason that he never wanted to be among the crowd. And the moment his duty towards me, his promise to Pagal Baba, was finished, he disappeared in the Himalayas.
The "Himalayas"... the very word simply means "the home of ice." Scientists say that if all the ice in the Himalayas melts someday, then the world would really have a flood. The whole world - it would not be limited to any one part - every ocean would rise by forty feet. They have given it the right name, "Himalaya"; Him means "ice," alaya means "the home."
There are hundreds of peaks with eternal ice which has never melted; and the silence that surrounds them, the undisturbed atmosphere.... It is not just old; it has a strange warmth, because thousands of people of immense depth have moved into those parts, with a tremendous meditativeness; with immense love, prayer, and chanting.
The Himalayas are still rare in the whole world. The Alps are just children compared to the Himalayas. Switzerland is beautiful, and more so because of all the conveniences available there.
But I cannot forget the silent nights in the Himalayas: stars above and no one around.
I want to disappear there, just as Masto had. I can understand him, and it will not be a surprise if suddenly one day I disappear. The Himalayas are far bigger than India. Only part of the Himalayas belong to India. Another part belongs to Nepal, another to Burma, another to Pakistan - thousands of miles of purity, just purity. On the other side there is Russia, Tibet, Mongolia, China; they all have a part of the Himalayas.
It won't be a surprise if someday I disappear just to lie down by the side of a beautiful rock, and be no longer in the body. One cannot find a better place to leave the body - but I may not do it, you know me. I will remain unpredictable as ever, even in my death.
Perhaps Masto wanted to go sooner, and was just fulfilling the last task given by his guru, Pagal Baba. He did so much for me, it is difficult to even list it. He introduced me to people, so that whenever I might need money I just had to tell them, and the money would arrive. I asked Masto, "Won't they ask why?"
He said, "Don't you be worried about it. I have answered all their questions already. But they are cowardly people; they can give you their money, but they cannot give you their hearts, so don't ask that."
I said, "I never ask anybody for his or her heart; it cannot be asked. Either you simply find that it is gone, or not. So I will not ask these people for anything except money, and that too only if it is needed."
And he certainly introduced me to many people, who have always remained anonymous; but whenever I needed money, the money arrived. When I was at Jabalpur, where I was at university, and had stayed longer than nine years, the money was continuously coming. People wondered, because my salary was not very much. They could not believe how I could use such a beautiful car, a beautiful bungalow, a vast garden, acres of green. And the day somebody asked how such a beautiful car... that day, two more arrived. There were three cars then and nowhere to keep them.
The money was always coming. Masto had made every arrangement. Although I don't have anything, no money at all, but somehow it manages itself.
Masto... it is difficult to say goodbye to you, for the simple reason I don't believe that you are no more. You still exist. I may not be able to see you again, that is not very important. I have seen you so much, your very fragrance has become a part of me. But somewhere in this story I have to put a full stop as far as you are concerned. It is hard, and it hurts... forgive me for that.