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Chapter 15: They Say Believe; I Say Explore

Now Nathmal was silent, Acharya Tulsi was silent, and all the other guests started feeling a little uneasy; this was not a good beginning. I asked Morarji Desai, “Although this is not my business, I am not concerned at all, but seeing the situation, would you like me to answer you? It is just to start the conversation so this group does not end in an awkward situation.”

He said, “I am concerned about the answer. Yes, you can answer.”

I said to him, “A few things: first, there are nineteen other persons, you are not alone here. Nobody else asked the question - why did only you ask it? It didn’t occur to me.” And I asked the people, “Had the question occurred to you? If it has not occurred, please raise your hands.” All the eighteen hands were raised - that it didn’t occur to them.

Then I said to Morarji, “You are the only person who felt hurt. You must be carrying a wound, you must be suffering from some inferiority - you are a psychological case. You can see - you know Doctor D.S. Kothari perfectly well, because he is chairman of the atomic commission of India; you know these other prominent people - nobody is bothered by it. And what does it matter?

“Do you see the spider walking on the ceiling? He is higher than Acharya Tulsi. Just being higher, do you become greater? But somehow it hurts you. There is a wound in you which has not been filled even by being the finance minister of India. You would like one day to be the prime minister of India.”

He was very angry. He said, “You call me psychologically sick?”

I said, “Certainly. These eighteen hands were raised for what? They are supporting me, they are saying, ‘This man seems to be very vulnerable as far as his ego is concerned, shaky’ - just a monk sitting a little higher, and it disturbs you.”

I said, “Let us assume, for example, if Acharya Tulsi invites you also to sit with him on the high pedestal.” And let me remind you, even then Acharya Tulsi did not invite him. I said, “For example, if he invites you and you are on the pedestal, will you ask the same question again for these eighteen poor souls who are sitting on the floor? Will the question ever arise?”

He said, “That I have never thought of. Perhaps the question will not arise, because in hundreds of meetings and conferences, I have been sitting on the high pedestal, but the question has never arisen.”

I said, “That makes it clear that it is not a question of why Acharya Tulsi is sitting higher than you. The question is why you are sitting lower than Acharya Tulsi. Change the question to, ‘Why am I sitting lower than Acharya Tulsi’ - this is what you should have asked. It would have been more authentic. You are projecting your sickness on somebody else.

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