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Chapter 26: The Alchemy of Enlightenment

One of my teachers was very perfectionist, a great disciplinarian, a very beautiful man. Every year he started his class with the same introduction, because the students were new; he introduced himself by saying, “It is better that I should make clear to you what kind of man I am, so you are not in the dark and you don’t do anything without understanding the nature of the teacher. First: I don’t believe in headaches, stomach aches, no. Anything that you cannot prove and anything that I cannot check by myself will not be an excuse to take a holiday or to go home. You can have a fever; I can feel your fever. So remember it. I simply don’t believe in headaches and stomach aches because there is no proof. Even a physician has to rely upon the patient, that he has a headache - he may be lying, or he may be in illusion. What is the guarantee? How do you know that you are right?”

I thought, “This is strange; this is going to be difficult” - because those were simple excuses to escape from any class, to say, “I have a strong headache and I want to go home.”

He used to go every evening for a walk. Just by the side of the school there was a beautiful road, covered from both sides with big trees, mango trees.

I thought, “Things have to be settled from the very beginning.”

So I climbed up into a tree, high up, and waited for this teacher - he was a Mohammedan, his name was Rahimuddin. He came exactly on time. He was very precise in everything; at exactly the same time each day he used to pass by that tree.

I dropped a big mango on his head. He said, “Ahhhh!” and looked up. And he saw me there.

I asked, “What is the matter? What has happened?”

For a moment there was silence. He said, “Come down.”

I came down.

He said, “You have proved that there is something like a headache, but don’t tell anybody. If you have a headache, just raise one finger and I will give you a holiday. If you have a stomach ache, you need not prove it to me - just raise two fingers, because you seem to be dangerous!”

He was a bachelor, an old man; he had never married. He lived a very beautiful life, had a small cottage, a garden.

And he was very famous for one strange thing - because he had enough money, unmarried, no children, no wife. He had three hundred and sixty-five suits of clothes, one for each day; then for the whole year that suit of clothes would not be used again. Naturally every husband was jealous.

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