Death of Osho's grandfather, Nana
You are asking: What was that event that made you turn toward the spiritual? What was that miracle?
There has been no such event. It happens many times that some event occurs and a person takes a turn in life. It also happens that as a result of the collective effect of many events, a person's life is changed. In my life there has been no such event that can be singled out as having caused such a change. However, there have been many events whose collective impact may have caused a turning point, but when this happened cannot be determined. Furthermore, I do not think I ever "turned to the spiritual." I was already in that direction. I do not remember any day when I have not been thinking about the spiritual. From my very first memories, I have been thinking about it.
Many events have occurred in which the collective effect is to be considered. I remember no single event that is so outstanding. Ordinarily, just one excuse sometimes diverts the mind suddenly. However, I believe that the mind diverted toward something by a single event can revert back also. But if the turning is the collective result of many events, then there is no reverting back because that turning is deeper and has entered into the many layers of one's personality. Just as by a single push you can be forced in a certain direction, so also can another push in the opposite direction cause you to return back.
Again, turning by only a single push is a type of reaction. It is possible, but you are not fully ready for it and you simply become diverted. When the effect of that push vanishes, you can return back. But if every moment of life slowly and steadily brings you to a state where even you yourself are not able to decide how you came there, then returning back out of reaction is not possible-because then that condition becomes even part of your breathing, so to speak.
However, one memory in my life which is worth remembering is that of death. It is difficult to tell what I might have thought on that day. My early childhood passed at the house of my maternal grandparents and I had great love for them…. I came in touch with my father and mother only after the death of my maternal grandfather. His passing away and the manner in which it happened became the first valuable memory for me because I had loved only them and received love only from them. His passing away was very strange. The village in which they were staying was about thirty-two miles away from any town. Neither was there any doctor nor any vaidya, one who practices ayurvedic medicine.
In the very first attack of death upon my grandfather, he lost his speech. For twenty-four hours we waited in that village for something to happen. However, there was no improvement. I remember a struggle on his part in an attempt to say something, but he could not speak. He wanted to tell something, but could not tell it. Therefore, we had to take him toward the town of Gadarwara* in a bullock cart. Slowly, one after the other, his senses were giving way. He did not die all at once, but slowly and painfully. First his speech stopped, then his hearing. Then he closed his eyes as well. In the bullock cart, I was watching everything closely, and there was a long distance of thirty-two miles to travel.
Whatsoever was happening seemed beyond my understanding then. This was the first death witnessed by me, and I did not even understand that he was dying. But slowly all his senses were giving way and he became unconscious. While we were still near the town, he was already half dead. His breathing still continued, but everything else was lost. After that he did not resume consciousness, but for three days he continued breathing. He died unconsciously.
This slow losing of his senses and his final dying became very deeply engraved in my memory. It was he with whom I had my deepest relationship. For me, he was the only love object, and because of his death, perhaps, I have not been able to feel attached to anyone else so much. Since then, I have been alone.
*Note: where Osho's parents lived
Separation has its own beauty, as does meeting. I don't see that there is anything wrong with separation. Separation has its own poetry; one just has to learn its language, and one has to live it in its depth. Then out of sadness itself comes a new kind of joy…which looks almost impossible, but it happens. I have known it. That's what I was talking about this morning. I was talking about the death of my Nana. It was a total separation. We will not meet again, yet there was a beauty in it, and he made it more beautiful by repeating the mantra. He made it more prayerful…it became fragrant.
He was old and dying, perhaps from a severe heart attack. We were not aware of it because the village had no doctor, not even a pharmacist, no medicine. So we didn't know the cause of his death, but I think it was a severe heart attack.
I asked him in his ear, "Nana, have you something to say to me before you depart? Any last words? Or do you want to give me something to remember you by forever?"
He took off his ring and put it in my hand. That ring is with some sannyasin now; I gave it to someone. But that ring was always a mystery. His whole life he would not allow anybody to see what was in it, yet again and again he used to look into it. That ring had a glass window on both sides that you could look through. On top was a diamond; on each of its sides there was a glass window.
He had not allowed anybody to see what it was that he used to look at through the window. Inside there was a statue of Mahavira, the Jaina tirthankara; a really beautiful image, and very small. It must have been a small picture of Mahavira inside, and those two windows were magnifying glasses. They magnified it and it looked really huge. It was of no use to me because, I am sorry to say, even though I have tried my best I have never been able to love Mahavira as much as I love Buddha, although they were contemporaries….
I was telling you that my grandfather, before he died, gave me his most cherished thing-a statue of Mahavira hidden behind a diamond in a ring. With tears in his eyes he said, "I don't have anything else to give you because all that I have will be taken away from you too, just as it has been taken away from me. I can only give you my love for the one who has known himself."
Although I did not keep his ring, I have fulfilled his desire. I have known the one, and I have known it in myself. In a ring what does it matter? But the poor old man, he loved his master, Mahavira, and he gave his love to me. I respect his love for his master, and for me. The last words on his lips were, "Don't be worried, because I am not dying."
We all waited to see if he was going to say something else, but that was all. His eyes closed and he was no more.
I still remember that silence. The bullock cart was passing through a river bed. I exactly remember each detail. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to disturb my grandmother. She did not say a thing. A few moments passed, then I became a little worried about her and said, "Say something; don't be so quiet, it is unbearable."
Can you believe it, she sang a song! That's how I learned that death has to be celebrated. She sang the same song she had sung when she was in love with my grandfather for the first time.
I was telling you that my grandfather's death was my first encounter with death. Yes, an encounter and something more; not just an encounter, otherwise I would have missed the real meaning of it. I saw the death, and something more that was not dying, that was floating above it, escaping from the body…the elements. That encounter determined my whole course of life. It gave me a direction, or rather a dimension, that was not known to me before.
I had heard of other people's deaths, but only heard. I had not seen, and even if I had seen, they did not mean anything to me.
Unless you love someone and he then dies, you cannot really encounter death. Let that be underlined:
Death can only be encountered in the death of the loved one.
When love plus death surrounds you, there is a transformation, an immense mutation, as if a new being is born. You are never the same again. But people do not love, and because they do not love they can't experience death the way I experienced it. Without love, death does not give you the keys to existence. With love, it hands over to you the keys to all that is.
My first experience of death was not a simple encounter. It was complex in many ways. The man I had loved was dying. I had known him as my father. He had raised me with absolute freedom, no inhibitions, no suppressions, and no commandments….
Love with freedom-if you have it, you are a king or a queen. That is the real kingdom of God-love with freedom. Love gives you the roots into the earth, and freedom gives you the wings.
My grandfather gave me both. He gave his love to me, more than he ever had given to either my mother or even my grandmother; and he gave me freedom, which is the greatest gift. As he was dying he gave me his ring, and with a tear in his eye told me, "I don't have anything else to give you."
I said, "Nana, you have already given me the most precious gift."
He opened his eyes and said, "What is that?"
I laughed and said, "Have you forgotten? You have given me your love and you have given me freedom. I think no child ever had such freedom as you gave to me. What more do I need? What more can you give? I am thankful. You can die peacefully." Since then I have seen many people die, but to die peacefully is really difficult. I have only seen five people die peacefully: the first was my grandfather; the second was my servant Bhoora; the third was my Nani; the fourth, my father, and the fifth was Vimalkirti*.
*Note: Vimalkirti became a disciple of Osho, see Part VII
Tvadiyam vastu Govinda, tubhyam eva samarpayet: "My Lord, this life you have given to me, I surrender it back to you with my thanks." Those were the dying words of my grandfather, although he never believed in God and was not a Hindu. This sentence, this sutra, is a Hindu sutra-but in India things are mixed up, particularly good things. Before he died, among other things, he said one thing again and again: "Stop the wheel."
I could not understand it at the time. If we stopped the wheel of the cart, and that was the only wheel there was, then how could we reach the hospital? When he repeated again and again, "Stop the wheel, the chakra," I asked my grandmother, "Has he gone mad?"
That was the thing I liked in that woman. Even though she knew, as I did, that death was so close…if even I knew, how could it be possible that she did not know? It was so apparent that just at any moment he would stop breathing, yet he was insisting on stopping the wheel. Still she laughed. I can see her laughing now.
She was not more than fifty at the most. But I have always observed a strange thing about women: the phony ones, who pretend to be beautiful, at the age of forty-five are the ugliest. You can go around the world and see what I am saying. With all their lipstick and makeup, and false eyebrows and whatnot…my God!
Even God did not think of these things when he created the world. At least it is not mentioned in the Bible that on the fifth day he created lipstick, and on the sixth day he created false eyebrows etcetera. At the age of forty-five, if the woman is really beautiful she comes to her peak. My observation is: man comes to his peak at the age of thirty-five, and woman at the age of forty-five. She is capable of living ten years longer than a man-and it is not unjust. Giving birth to children she suffers so much that a little bit of extra life, just to compensate, is perfectly okay.
My Nani was fifty, still at the peak of her beauty and youth. I have never forgotten that moment-it was such a moment! My grandfather was dying and asking us to stop the wheel. What nonsense! How could I stop the wheel? We had to reach the hospital, and without the wheel we would be lost in the forest. And my grandmother was laughing so loudly that even Bhoora, the servant, our driver, asked, of course from the outside, "What is going on? Why are you laughing?" Because I used to call her Nani, Bhoora also used to call her Nani, just out of respect for me. He then said, "Nani, my master is sick and you are laughing so loudly; what's the matter? And why is Raja so silent?"
Death, and my grandmother's laughter, both made me utterly silent, because I wanted to understand what was happening. Something was happening that I had never known before and I was not going to lose a single moment through any distraction.
My grandfather said, "Stop the wheel. Raja, can't you hear me? If I can hear your grandmother's laughter you must be able to hear me. I know she is a strange woman; I have never been able to understand her."
I said to him, "Nana, as far as I know she is the simplest woman I have seen, although I have not seen much yet."
But now to you I can say, I don't think there is any man on the earth, alive or dead, who has seen so much of women as I have. But just to console my dying grandfather I said to him, "Don't be worried about her laughter. I know her. She is not laughing at what you are saying, it is something else between us, a joke that I told her."
He said, "Okay. If it is a joke that you told her then it is perfectly okay for her to laugh. But what about the chakra, the wheel?"
Now I know, but at that time I was absolutely unacquainted with such terminology. The wheel represents the whole Indian obsession with the wheel of life and death. For thousands of years, millions of people have been doing only one thing: trying to stop the wheel. He was not talking about the wheel of the bullock cart-that was very easy to stop; in fact it was difficult to keep it moving.
There was no road-not only at that time, even now!…
…No roads existed then, and even today no railway line passes by that village. It is a really poor village, and when I was a child it was even poorer.
I could not understand at that moment why my Nana was so insistent. Perhaps the bullock cart-because there was no road-was making too much noise. Everything was rattling, and he was in agony, so naturally he wanted to stop the wheel. But my grandmother laughed. Now I know why she laughed. He was talking about the Indian obsession with life and death, symbolically called the wheel of life and death-and in short, the wheel-which goes on and on….
The whole of the Mahabharata is nothing but the Indian obsession written at length, voluminously, saying that man is born again and again and again, eternally.
That's why my grandfather was saying, "Stop the wheel." If I could have stopped the wheel I would have stopped it, not only for him but for everybody else in the world. Not only would I have stopped it, I would have destroyed it forever so that nobody could ever turn it again. But it is not in my hands.
But why this obsession?
I became aware of many things at that moment of his death. I will talk about everything that I became aware of in that moment, because that has determined my whole life.
Death is not the end but only the culmination of one's whole life, a climax. It is not that you are finished, but you are transported to another body. That is what the Easterners call "the wheel." It goes on turning and turning. Yes, it can be stopped, but the way to stop it is not when you are dying.
That is one of the lessons, the greatest lesson I learned from my grandfather's death. He was crying, with tears in his eyes, and asking us to stop the wheel. We were at a loss what to do: how to stop the wheel?
His wheel was his wheel; it was not even visible to us. It was his own consciousness, and only he could do it. Since he was asking us to stop it, it was obvious that he could not do it himself; hence the tears and his constant insistence on asking us again and again, as if we were deaf. We told him, "We have heard you, Nana, and we understand. Please be silent."
In that moment something great happened. I have never revealed it to anybody; perhaps before this moment was not the time. I was saying to him, "Please be silent"-the bullock cart was rattling on the rough, ugly road. It was not even a road, just a track, and he was insisting, "Stop the wheel, Raja, do you hear? Stop the wheel."
Again and again I told him, "Yes, I do hear you. I understand what you mean. You know that nobody except you can stop the wheel, so please be silent. I will try to help you."
My grandmother was amazed. She looked at me with such big, amazing eyes: what was I saying? How could I help?
I said, "Yes. Don't look so amazed. I have suddenly remembered one of my past lives. Seeing his death I have remembered one of my own deaths." That life and death happened in Tibet. That is the only country which knows, very scientifically, how to stop the wheel. Then I started chanting something.
Neither my grandmother could understand, nor my dying grandfather, nor my servant Bhoora, who was listening intently from the outside. And what is more, neither could I understand a single word of what I was chanting. It was only after twelve or thirteen years that I came to understand what it was. It took that much time to discover it. It was Bardo Thodal, a Tibetan ritual.
When a man dies in Tibet, they repeat a certain mantra. That mantra is called bardo. The mantra says to him, "Relax, be silent. Go to your center, just be there; don't leave it whatsoever happens to the body. Just be a witness. Let it happen, don't interfere. Remember, remember, remember that you are only a witness; that is your true nature. If you can die remembering, the wheel is stopped."
I repeated the Bardo Thodal for my dying grandfather without even knowing what I was doing. It was strange-not only that I repeated it, but also that he became utterly silent listening to it. Perhaps Tibetan was such a strange thing to hear. He may never have heard a single word in Tibetan before; he may not even have known that there was a country called Tibet. Even in his death he became utterly attentive and silent. The bardo worked although he could not understand it. Sometimes things you don't understand work; they work just because you don't understand….
I was repeating the bardo though I did not understand its meaning, nor did I know where it was coming from, because I had not read it yet. But when I repeated it just the shock of those strange words made my grandfather silent. He died in that silence.
To live in silence is beautiful, but to die in silence is far more beautiful, because death is like an Everest, the highest peak in the Himalayas. Although nobody taught me, I learned much in that moment of his silence. I saw myself repeating something absolutely strange. It shocked me to a new plane of being and pushed me into a new dimension. I started on a new search, a pilgrimage.
The moment my Nana died, my grandmother was still laughing the last flicker of her laughter. Then she controlled herself. She was certainly a woman who could control herself. But I was not impressed by her control, I was impressed by her laughter in the very face of death.
Again and again I asked her, "Nani, can you tell me why you laughed so loudly when death was so imminent? If even a child like me was aware of it, it is not possible that you were not aware."
She said, "I was aware, that is why I laughed. I laughed at the poor man trying to stop the wheel unnecessarily, because neither birth nor death mean anything in the ultimate sense."
I had to wait for the time when I could ask and argue with her. When I myself become enlightened, I thought, then I will ask her. And that's what I did. glimps16
That was my first encounter with death, and it was a beautiful encounter. It was not in any way ugly, as it more or less happens for almost every child around the world. Fortunately I was together with my dying grandfather for hours, and he died slowly. By and by, I could feel death happening to him, and I could see the great silence of it.
I was also fortunate that my Nani was present. Perhaps without her I may have missed the beauty of death, because love and death are so similar, perhaps the same. She loved me. She showered her love upon me, and death was there, slowly happening. A bullock cart…I can still hear its sound…the rattling of its wheels on the stones…Bhoora continuously shouting to the bullocks…the sound of his whip hitting them…. I can hear it all still. It is so deeply rooted in my experience that I don't think even my death will erase it. Even while dying I may again hear the sound of that bullock cart.
My Nani was holding my hand, and I was completely dazed, not knowing what was happening, utterly in the moment. My grandfather's head was in my lap. I held my hands on his chest, and slowly slowly, the breathing disappeared. When I felt that he was no longer breathing I said to my grandmother, "I'm sorry, Nani, but it seems that he is no longer breathing."
She said, "That's perfectly okay. You need not be worried. He has lived enough, there is no need to ask for more." She also told me, "Remember, because these are the moments not to be forgotten: never ask for more. What is, is enough." glimps12
Since the day my maternal grandfather died, death became a constant companion to me. I was only seven years old when he died. He died on my lap….
After that, death became a constant companion to me. That day I also died, because one thing became certain, that whether you live seven years or seventy years-he was seventy years-what does it matter, you have to die.
My grandfather was a rare man. I could not conceive him telling a lie, breaking a promise, even judging somebody as bad.
Such a good man, a beautiful man, simply died. What was the meaning of his life? That became a tortuous question to me-what was the meaning? What had he attained? For seventy years he lived the life of a good man; but what was the point of it all? It simply ended…not even a trace was left behind. His death made me immensely serious.
I was serious even before his death. By the age of four I started thinking of problems that people somehow manage to go on postponing to the very end. I don't believe in postponing. I started asking questions to my maternal grandfather and he would say, "These questions! Your whole life is there-there is no hurry-and you are too young."
I said, "I have seen young boys dying in the village: they had not asked these questions, they have died without finding the answer. Can you guarantee me that I will not die tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? Can you give me a guarantee that I will die only after I have found the answer?"
He said, "I cannot guarantee that, because death is not in my hands, nor is life in my hands."
"Then," I said, "You should not suggest to me any postponement. I want the answer now. If you know, then say that you know and give me the answer. If you don't know, then don't feel awkward in accepting your ignorance."
Soon he realized that with me there was no alternative. Either you had to say yes…. But it was not easy then; then you had to go into deeper details about it-and you could not deceive me. He started accepting his ignorance, that he didn't know.
I said, "You are very old, soon you will be dying What have you been doing for your whole life? At the moment of death you will have only ignorance in your hands and nothing else. And these are vital questions-I am not asking you any trivia.
"You go to the temple. I ask you why you go to the temple-have you found anything in the temple? You have been going your whole life, and you try to persuade me to come along with you to the temple." The temple was made by him. One day he accepted that the truth is "Because I have made the temple. If even I don't go there, then who is going to go there? But before you I accept it, that it is futile. I have been going there my whole life and I have not gained anything."
Then I said, "Try something else. Don't die with the question-die with the answer." But he died with the question.
The last time he spoke to me, almost ten hours before he died, he opened his eyes and he said, "You were right: postponing is not right. I am dying with all the questions with me. So remember, whatever I was suggesting to you was wrong. You were right, don't postpone. If a question arises, try to find the answer as quickly as possible." person23
Bhoora died just because he could not conceive of living in a world without his master. He simply died. He relaxed into death. He had come with us to my father's village because he had been driving the bullock cart. When for a few moments he heard nothing, no word from the inside of the covered cart, he asked me, "Beta"-it means son-"is everything okay?"
Again and again Bhoora asked, "Why this silence? Why is nobody speaking?" But he was the kind of man who would not look inside the curtain which divided him from us. How could he look inside when my grandmother was there? That was the trouble, he could not look. But again and again he asked, "What is the matter-why is everybody silent?"
I said, "There is nothing wrong. We are enjoying the silence. Nana wants us to be silent." That was a lie, because Nana was dead-but in a way it was true. He was silent; that was a message for us to be silent.
I finally said, "Bhoora, everything is okay; only Nana is gone."
He could not believe it. He said, "Then how can everything be okay? Without him I cannot live." And within twenty-four hours he died. Just as if a flower had closed…refusing to remain open in the sun and the moon, of his own accord. We tried everything to save him, because now we were in a bigger town, my father's town.
My father's town was, for India of course, just a small town. The population was only twenty thousand. It had a hospital and a school. We tried everything possible to save Bhoora. The doctor in the hospital was amazed because he could not believe that this man was Indian; he looked so European. He must have been a freak of biology, I don't know. Something must have gone right. As they say, "Something must have gone wrong," I have coined the phrase, "Something must have gone right"-why always wrong?
Bhoora was in shock because of his master's death. We had to lie to him until we got to the town. Only when we reached the town and the corpse was taken out of the bullock cart did Bhoora see what had happened. He then closed his eyes and never opened them again. He said, "I cannot see my master dead." And that was only a master-servant relationship. But there had arisen between them a certain intimacy, a certain closeness which is indefinable. He never opened his eyes again, that much I can vouch for. He lived only a few hours longer, and he went into a coma before dying.
Before my grandfather died, he had told my grandmother, "Take care of Bhoora. I know you will take care of Raja-I do not have to tell you that-but take care of Bhoora. He has served me as nobody else could."
I told the doctor, "Do you, can you, understand the kind of devotion that must have existed between these two men?"
The doctor asked me, "Is he a European?"
I said, "He looks like one."
The doctor said, "Don't be tricky. You are a child, only seven or eight years old, but very tricky. When I asked whether your grandfather was dead, you said no, and that was not true."
I said, "No, it was true: he is not dead. A man of such love cannot be dead. If love can be dead then there is no hope for the world. I cannot believe that a man who respected my freedom, a small child's freedom so much, is dead just because he cannot breathe. I cannot equate the two, not breathing and death."
The European doctor looked at me suspiciously and told my uncle, "This boy will either be a philosopher or else he will go mad." He was wrong: I am both together. There is no question of either/or. I am not Soren Kierkegaard; there is no question of either/or. But I wondered why he could not believe me…such a simple thing….
I could not understand why the doctor could not believe that my grandfather was not dead. I knew and he knew that as far as the body was concerned, it was finished; there was no quarrel about that. But there is something more than the body-in the body and yet not part of the body. Let me repeat it to emphasize it: in the body and yet not of the body. Love reveals it; freedom gives it wings to soar in the sky.
My grandfather had entrusted to Bhoora all the keys and all the affairs of the house and the land….
Many years later when I was again living in Bombay, Bhoora's son came to me and gave me the keys and said, "We have been waiting and waiting for you to come, but nobody came. We have taken care of the land and looked after the crops and put aside all the money."
I gave him the keys back and said to him, "Everything now belongs to you. The house, the crops and the money belong to you, they are yours. I am sorry that I did not know before, but none of us wanted to go back and feel the pain." glimps03
I was telling you about an astrologer who had promised to work on my life's birth chart. He died before he had done it, so his son had to prepare the chart, but he was also puzzled. He said, "It is almost certain that this child is going to die at the age of twenty-one. Every seven years he will have to face death." So my parents, my family, were always worried about my death. Whenever I would come to the end of a seven-year cycle, they would become afraid. And he was right. At the age of seven I survived, but I had a deep experience of death-not of my own, but of the death of my maternal grandfather. And I was so much attached to him that his death appeared to be my own death.
In my own childish way I imitated his death. I would not eat for three days continuously, would not drink water, because I felt that if I did so it would be a betrayal. I loved him so much, he loved me so much, that when he was alive I was never allowed to go to my parents. I was with my maternal grandfather. He said, "When I die, only then can you go." He lived in a very small village, so I couldn't go to any school because there was no school. He would never leave me, but then the time came when he died. He was part and parcel of me. I had grown with his presence, his love.
When he died I felt that it would be a betrayal to eat. Now I didn't want to live. It was childish, but through it something very deep happened. For three days I remained lying down; I would not come out of the bed. I said, "Now that he is dead, I do not want to live." I survived, but those three days became a death experience. I died in a way, and I came to realize-now I can tell about it, though at that time it was just a vague experience-I came to feel that death is impossible. This was a feeling. vbt24
The facticity of aloneness took hold of me from the age of seven years on. Aloneness became my nature. His death freed me forever from all relationships. His death became for me the death of all attachments. Thereafter, I could not establish a bond of relationship with anyone. Whenever my relationship with anyone would begin to become intimate, that death stared at me. Therefore with whomsoever I experienced some attachment, I felt that if not today, tomorrow that person could also die.
Once a person becomes clearly aware of the certainty of death, then the possibility of attachment is lessened in the same proportion. In other words, our attachments are based on the forgetfulness of the fact of death. With whomsoever we love, we continue to believe that death is not unavoidable. That is why we speak of love as immortal. It is our tendency to believe that whomsoever we love will not die.
But for me love invariably became associated with death. This meant that I was not able to love without being aware of death. There can be friendship, there can be compassion, but no infatuation over anything could catch me. Very deeply did death touch me-and so intensely that the more I thought of it, the more and more clear did it become to me each day.
Thus, the madness of life did not affect me. Death stared at me before the thrust into life began. This event can be considered as the first which left a deep impact and influence on my mind. From that day onwards, every day, every moment, the awareness of life invariably became associated with the awareness of death. From then onwards, to be or not to be had the same value for me. At that tender age, loneliness seized me.
Sooner or later in life-in old age-loneliness seizes everyone. But it seized me before I knew what company meant. I may live with everyone, but whether I am in a crowd or a society, with a friend or an intimate, I am still alone. Nothing touches me; I remain untouched.
As that first feeling of loneliness became deeper and deeper, something new began to happen in life. At first that loneliness had made me only unhappy, but slowly it began changing into happiness-because it is a rule that when we become attached to anyone or anything, in one way or the other we turn from facing ourselves. Actually, the desire for attachment to someone or something is a device for escaping from one's own self. And as the other goes on becoming more and more important to us, to the very same extent he becomes the center for us and we become the periphery.
We continue to remain other-centered for the whole life. Then one's own self can never become the center. For me, the possibility of anyone else becoming my center was destroyed in the very first steps of my life. The first center that was formed broke down, and there was no other way but to revert back to my own self. I was, so to speak, thrown back to my own self. Slowly, that made me more and more happy. Afterwards I came to feel that this close observation of death at a tender age became a blessing in disguise for me. If such a death had occurred at a later age, perhaps I would have found other substitutes for my grandfather.
So the more unripe and innocent the mind is, the more difficult it becomes to replace a love object. The more clever, skillful, cunning and calculative the mind becomes, the more easy it becomes to replace or substitute another for the one lost. The more quickly you replace, the sooner you become free from the unhappiness derived from the first. But it was not possible for me to find a substitute on that very day when death occurred.
Children are not able to find a substitute easily. The place of the love object that is lost remains empty. The older you are the faster you can fill the emptiness, because then one can think. A gap in thought can be filled up quickly, but emotional emptiness cannot be quickly filled. A thought can persuade one faster, but the heart cannot persuade. And at a tender age when one is not capable of thinking but is capable only of feeling, the difficulty is greater.
Therefore, the other could not become important to me in the sense that it could save me from my own self. So I had to live with my own self only. At first this seemed to give me unhappiness, but slowly it began giving me the experience of happiness. Thereafter, I did not suffer any unhappiness.
The cause of unhappiness lies in our attaching ourselves to the other, in expectation from the other, in the hope of gaining happiness from the other. You never actually gain happiness, but the hope is always sustained. And whenever that hope gives way, frustration begins.
Thus, in the very first experience, I became so badly disappointed from the other that I did not try again. That direction was closed for me, and so thereafter I never became unhappy. Then a new type of happiness began to be experienced which can never come from the other. Happiness can never come from the other; what is created is only a hope for future happiness. Actually, only the shadow of happiness is received.
Exactly the reverse is the situation when encountering oneself for the first time. When encountering oneself, unhappiness is experienced in the beginning, but authentic happiness progressively comes about as the encounter continues. On the contrary, encountering the other gives happiness in the beginning, but unhappiness is the end.
So, to me, being thrown upon oneself begins the journey toward the spiritual. How we become thrown back in this way is another matter. Life gives many opportunities for being thrown back to oneself. But the more clever we are, the quicker we are in rescuing ourselves from such an opportunity. At such moments we move out from ourselves.
If my wife dies, I am immediately in search, and then I marry another. If my friend is lost, I begin to search for another. I cannot leave any gap. By filling that gap, the opportunity I would have had to revert back to my own self is lost in a moment, along with its immense possibilities.
If I had become interested in the other, I would have lost the opportunity to journey toward the self. I became a sort of a stranger to others. Generally, it is at this tender age that we become related with the other, when we are admitted into society. That is the age when we are initiated, so to speak, by the society which wants to absorb us. But I have never been initiated into society. It just could not happen. Whenever I entered into the society, I entered as an individual and I remained aloof and separate like an island.
I do not remember that I ever cultivated any friendship, though there were many who wanted to be my friends. Many persons made friends with me, and they enjoyed making friendship with me because it was not possible to make me an enemy. But I do not recall that I have ever gone of my own accord to anyone in order to make any friend. If someone threw himself on me, it was a different matter. It is not that I never welcomed friendship. If someone made a friend of me, I wholeheartedly welcomed it. But even then I could not become a friend in the ordinary sense. I have always remained aloof.
In short, even while studying in school, I remained aloof. Neither with any of my teachers, nor with any fellow student, nor with any other, could I develop such a relationship as would drown me or break my being an island. Friends came and also stayed with me. I met many people as well; I had many friends. But from my side there was nothing that could make me dependent upon them or which would cause me to remember them.
It is very interesting to note that I do not remember anyone. It has never happened that I would sit pondering over someone with the feeling that if I would meet him it would be very pleasant. If someone does meet me, it makes me very happy, but I do not become unhappy due to not meeting someone. For the state of ultimate joy, I believe that only my grandfather's death was responsible. That death threw me back to myself permanently. I have not been able to revert back from the center. Due to this condition of being an outsider, a stranger, I have seen a new dimension of experience. It is a condition in which, although I am amidst