First, one has
to choose one's birth; that's almost impossible. Unless you have
died in a state of meditation you cannot choose your birth; that
choice only opens for the meditator. He dies consciously, hence
earns the right to be born consciously.
I died consciously; not in fact died, but was killed. I would have
died three days later but they could not wait, not even for three
days. People are in such a hurry. You will be surprised to know
that the man who killed me is now my sannyasin. He came to kill me
again, not to take sannyas... but if he sticks to his game, then I
stick to mine. He himself confessed later, after seven years of
being a sannyasin. He said, "Bhagwan, now I can confess to
you without fear: in Ahmedabad I had come to kill you."
I said, "My God, again!"
He said, "What do you mean by `again'?"
I said, "That's another matter, go on...."
He said, "In Ahmedabad, seven years ago, I came to your
meeting with a revolver. The hall was so full that the organizers
had allowed people to sit on the dais."
So this man, with a revolver to kill me, was allowed to sit at my
side. What a chance! I said, "Why did you miss your
He said, "I had never heard you before, I had only heard
about you. When I heard you, I thought I would rather commit
suicide than kill you. That's why I became a sannyasin -- that's
Seven hundred years ago this man had really killed me; he poisoned
me. Then too he was my disciple... but without a Judas, it is very
difficult to find a Jesus. I died consciously. Hence I had the
great opportunity to be born consciously. I chose my mother and my
Thousands of fools are making love around the earth, around the
clock. Millions of unborn souls are ready to enter into any womb,
whatsoever. I waited seven hundred years for the right moment, and
I thank existence that I found it. Seven hundred years are nothing
compared to the millions and millions of years ahead. Only seven
hundred years -- yes, I am saying only -- and I chose a very poor
couple but a very intimate one.
I don't think my father ever looked at another woman with the same
love he had for my mother. It is also impossible to imagine --
even for me, who can imagine all kinds of things -- that my
mother, even in her dreams, had another man... impossible! I have
known both of them; they were so close, so intimate, so fulfilled
although so poor... poor yet rich. They were rich in their poverty
because of their intimacy, rich because of their love for each
Fortunately, I never saw my mother and father fighting. I say
"fortunately" because it is very difficult to find a
husband and wife not fighting. When they have time for love only
God knows, or maybe He doesn't know either; after all, He has to
take care of His own wife... particularly the Hindu God. At least
the Christian God is in a happier state of affairs: He has no wife
at all, no woman at all, what to say of a wife? Because a woman is
more dangerous than a wife. A wife, you can tolerate, but a
woman... you are a fool again! You cannot tolerate a woman, she
"attracts" you; a wife "distracts" you.
Look at my English! Put it in inverted commas so nobody
misunderstands me -- although whatsoever you do everyone is going
to misunderstand me. But try, put it in inverted commas: the wife
"distracts," the woman "attracts."
I have never seen my father and mother fight, not even nagging.
People talk about miracles; I have seen a miracle: my mother did
not nag my father. It is a miracle, because for centuries woman
has been bossed so much by man that she has learned underhand
practices -- she nags. Nagging is violence in disguise, masked
violence. I never saw my mother and father in any fighting
I was worried about my mother when my father died. I could not
believe that she would be able to survive. They had loved each
other so much, they had almost become one. She survived only
because she also loves me.
I have been continuously worried about her. I wanted her to be
near me, just so that she can die in utter fulfillment. Now I
know. I have seen her, I have seen into her, and I can say to you
-- and through you it will one day reach the world -- she has
become enlightened. I was her last attachment. Now there is
nothing left for her to be attached to. She is an enlightened
woman -- uneducated, simple, not even knowing what enlightenment
is. That's the beauty! One can be enlightened without knowing what
enlightenment is, and vice versa: one can know everything about
enlightenment and remain unenlightened.
I chose this couple, just simple villagers. I could have chosen
kings and queens. It was in my hands. All kinds of wombs were
available, but I am a man of very simple tastes: I am always
satisfied with the best. The couple was poor, very poor. You will
not be able to understand that my father had only seven hundred
rupees; that means seventy dollars. That was all he possessed, yet
I chose him to be my father. He had a richness which eyes cannot
see, a royalty which is invisible.
Many of you have seen him and must have felt the beauty of the
man. He was simple, very simple, you could even call him just a
villager, but immeasurably rich -- not in the worldly way, but if
there is an other-worldly way....
Seventy dollars, that was his sole possession. I would not have
known it. I came to know only later on when his business was going
bankrupt... and he was very happy! I asked him, "Dadda..."
I used to call him that; "dadda" means father..."Dadda,
soon you are going to be bankrupt, and still you are happy. What
is the matter? Are the rumors false?"
He said, "No, the rumors are absolutely true. Bankruptcy is
bound to happen, but I am happy because I have saved seven hundred
rupees. That's what I started with; and I will show you the
Then he showed me the place where he had hidden the seven hundred
rupees and said, "Don't be worried. I started with only seven
hundred; nothing else belongs to us -- let it go to hell. What
belongs to us is hidden here, in this place, and I have shown it
to you. You are my eldest son, remember this place."
This I know... I have not said anything to anybody about that
place, and I am not going to either, because although he was
generous in showing me his secret, I am neither his son, nor is he
my father. He is himself, I am myself. "Father and son"
is just a formality. Those seven hundred rupees are still hidden
somewhere under the earth, and will remain there unless found
accidentally by someone. I told him, "Although you have shown
me the place, I have not seen it."
He said, "What do you mean?"
I said, "It is simple. I don't see it, and I don't want to
see it. I don't belong to any heritage, big or small, rich or
But from his side he was a loving father. As far as my side is
concerned, I am not a loving son -- excuse me.
He was a loving father; when I left my university post, only he
was worried, nobody else. None of my friends were worried. Who
cares? -- in fact, many of my friends were happy that I had
vacated the chair; now they could have it. They rushed. Only my
father was worried. I told him, "There is no need to
But my saying it was not of much help. He purchased a big property
without telling me, because he knew perfectly well that if he had
told me, I would have hit his head. He made a beautiful little
house for me, exactly as I would have liked it to be. You will be
surprised: it was even air-conditioned, with all modern
It was near my village, with a garden on the bank of the river,
with steps leading down so that I could go swimming... with
ancient, old trees and absolute silence surrounding, no one else
for miles. But he never told me.
It is good that my poor father is dead, otherwise I would have
given him trouble. But he had so much love, and so much compassion
for a vagabond son.
I am a vagabond. I have never done anything for the family. They
are not obliged to me at all. They have done everything for me. I
had chosen this couple not without good reason... for their love,
their intimacy, their almost one-ness. That is how, after seven
hundred years, I entered into the body again.
My childhood was golden. Again, I am not using a cliche. Everybody
says his childhood was golden, but it is not so. People only think
their childhood was golden because their youth is rotten; then
their old age is even more rotten. Naturally, childhood becomes
"golden." My childhood was not golden in that sense. My
youth was diamond, and if I am going to be an old man then it is
going to be platinum. But my childhood was certainly golden -- not
a symbol, absolutely golden; not poetically, but literally,
For most of my very early years I lived with my mother's parents.
Those years are unforgettable. Even if I reach to Dante's paradise
I will still remember those years. A small village, poor people,
but my grandfather -- I mean my mother's father -- was a generous
man. He was poor, but rich in his generosity. He gave to each and
everyone whatsoever he had. I learned the art of giving from him;
I have to accept it. I never saw him say no to any beggar or
I called my mother's father Nana; that's the way the mother's
father is called in India. My mother's mother is called Nani. I
used to ask my grandfather, "Nana, where did you get such a
My grandmother looked more Greek than Indian. When I see Mukta
laughing, I remember her. Perhaps that's why I have a soft spot in
my heart for Mukta. I cannot say no to her. Even though what she
demands is not right, I still say "Okay." The moment I
see her I immediately remember my Nani. Perhaps there was some
Greek blood in her; no race can claim purity. The Indians
particularly should not claim any purity of blood -- the Hunas,
the Moguls, the Greeks and many others have attacked, conquered
and ruled India. They have mixed themselves in the Indian blood,
and it was so apparent with my grandmother. Her features were not
Indian, she looked Greek, and she was a strong woman, very strong.
My Nana died when he was not more than fifty. My grandmother lived
till eighty and she was fully healthy. Even then nobody thought
she was going to die. I promised her one thing, that when she died
I would come, and that would be my last visit to the family. She
died in 1970. I had to fulfill my promise.
For my first years I knew my Nani as my mother; those are the
years when one grows. This circle is for my Nani. My own mother
came after that; I was already grown up, already made in a certain
style, and my grandmother helped me immensely. My grandfather
loved me, but could not help me much. He was so loving, but to be
of help more is needed -- a certain kind of strength. He was
always afraid of my grandmother. He was, in a sense, a henpecked
husband. When it comes to the truth, I am always true. He loved
me, he helped me... what can I do if he was a henpecked husband?
Ninety-nine point nine percent of husbands are, so it is okay.
I remember an incident that I have never told before. It was a
dark night. It was raining and a thief entered our house.
Naturally my grandfather was afraid. Everybody could see that he
was afraid, but he pretended not to be, he tried his best. The
thief was hiding in the corner of our small house, behind a few
bags of sugar.
My grandfather was a continuous pan-chewer. Pan is betel leaf.
Just like a chain smoker, he was a chain pan-chewer. He was always
making pan, and the whole day long he would chew it. He started
chewing pan and spitting it at the poor thief who was hiding in
the corner. I looked at this ugly scene, and told my grandmother,
with whom I used to sleep, "This is not right. Even though he
is a thief we should behave in a gentlemanly way. Spitting? Either
fight or stop spitting!"
My grandmother said, "What would you like to do?"
I said, "I will go and slap the thief and throw him
out." I was not more than nine.
My grandmother laughed and said, "Okay, I will come with you
-- you may need my help." She was a tall woman. My mother
does not resemble her in any way, neither in physical beauty, nor
in her spiritual daring. My mother is simple; my grandmother was
adventurous. She came with me.
I was shocked! I could not believe what I saw: the thief was a man
who used to come and teach me, my teacher! I really hit him hard,
more so because he was my teacher. I told him, "If you were
only a thief I would have forgiven you, but you have been teaching
me great things, and at night you do these things! Now run away as
fast as you can before my grandmother gets hold of you, otherwise
she will crush you."
She was a big woman, tall, strong and beautiful. My grandfather
was small and homely, but they both went well together. He never
fought her -- he could not -- so there was no problem at all.
I remember that teacher, the village pandit, who also used to come
and tutor me sometimes. He was the priest of the village temple.
He said, "What about my clothes? Your grandfather has been
spitting all over me. He has spoiled my clothes."
My grandmother laughed and said, "Come tomorrow, I will give
you some new clothes." And she really did give him some new
clothes. He did not come, he did not dare, but she went to the
thief's home and took me with her, and gave him the new clothes,
telling him, "Yes, my husband is terrible to spoil your
clothes. It is not good. Whenever you need clothes you can always
come to me."
That teacher never came to teach me again... not that he was told
not to, he did not dare. He not only stopped coming to teach me,
he stopped coming to the street where we lived; he stopped passing
that way. But I made it a point to visit him every day just to
spit in front of his house, to remind him. I would shout to him,
"Have you forgotten that night? And you always used to tell
me to be true, sincere and honest and all that bullshit."
Even now I can see him with his eyes cast down, unable to answer
My grandfather wanted the greatest astrologers in India to make my
birth chart. Although he was not very rich -- in fact not even
rich, what to say of very rich, but in that village he was the
richest person -- he was ready to pay any price for the birth
chart. He made the long journey to Varanasi and saw the famous
men. Looking at the notes and dates my grandfather had brought,
the greatest astrologer of them all said, "I am sorry, I can
only make this birth chart after seven years. If the child
survives then I will make his chart without any charge, but I
don't think he will survive. If he does it will be a miracle,
because then there is a possibility for him to become a
My grandfather came home weeping. I had never seen tears in his
eyes. I asked, "What is the matter?"
He said, "I have to wait until you are seven. Who knows
whether I will survive those years or not? Who knows whether the
astrologer himself will survive, because he is so old. And I am a
little concerned about you."
I said, "What's the concern?"
He said, "The concern is not that you may die, my concern is
that you may become a Buddha."
I laughed, and amongst his tears he also started laughing; then he
himself said, "It's strange that I was worried. Yes, what is
wrong in being a Buddha?"
When my father heard what the astrologers had told my grandfather,
he took me to Varanasi himself -- but more of that later.
When I was seven an astrologer came to my grandfather's village
searching for me. When a beautiful horse stopped in front of our
house, we all rushed out: the horse looked so royal. And the rider
was none other than one of the famous astrologers I had met. He
said to me, "So, you are still alive? I have made your birth
chart. I was worried, because people like you don't survive
My grandfather sold all the ornaments in the house just to give a
feast for all the neighboring villages, to celebrate that I was
going to become a Buddha, and yet I don't think he even understood
the meaning of the word "buddha."
He was a Jaina and may not have even heard it before. But he was
happy, immensely happy... dancing, because I was to become a
Buddha. At that moment I could not believe that he could be so
happy just because of this word "buddha." When everyone
had departed I asked him, "What is the meaning of `buddha'?"
He said, "I don't know, it just sounds good. Moreover I am a
Jaina. We will find out from some Buddhist."
In that small village there were no Buddhists, but he said,
"Someday, when a passing Buddhist Bhikku comes by, we will
know the meaning."
But he was so happy just because the astrologer had said that I
was to become a Buddha. He then said to me, "I guess `buddha'
must mean someone who is very intelligent." In Hindi Buddhi
means intelligence, so he thought "buddha" meant the
He came very close, he almost guessed right. Alas that he is not
alive, otherwise he would have seen what being a Buddha means --
not the dictionary meaning, but an encounter with a living,
awakened one. And I can see him dancing, seeing that his grandson
has become a Buddha. That would have been enough to make him
enlightened! But he died. His death was one of my most significant
experiences... of that, later on.
Is there time yet?
"It's eight-thirty, Bhagwan."
Good, just five minutes for me....
It is time to stop, but it has been beautiful, and I am grateful.