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Chapter 24: Session 24

Love is very earthly. Friendship is a little higher, it has wings; not just feathers, but the wings of a parrot. You know how parrots fly? From one tree to another, or maybe from one garden to another, from one grove to another, but they don’t fly toward the stars. They are poor flyers. Friendliness is the highest value, because friendliness has no gravitation at all. It is just levitation, if you allow me to use that word. I don’t know whether the pundits of English will allow levitation. It only means “against gravity.” Gravitation pulls downward, levitation pulls upward. But who cares about the pundits? - they are very grave, they are already in their graves.

Friendliness is a seagull - yes, like Jonathan, it soars beyond the clouds. This is just to connect with what I was saying to you..

My grandmother wept because she thought I would not have friends. In a way she was right, in another way she was wrong. She was right as far as my school, college, and university days were concerned, but wrong as far as I am concerned. Because even in my schooldays, although I did not have friends in the ordinary sense, I had friends in a very extraordinary sense. I told you about Shambhu Babu. I have told you about Nani herself. In fact these two people spoiled me, and spoiled me in such a way that there was no going back. What was their strategy?

My Nani comes first, chronologically too; she was so attentive to me. She listened to all my nonsense, my gossip, with such rapt attention that even I believed I must be saying the very truth.

The second was Shambhu Babu. He again listened with unblinking eyes. I had never seen anyone listen without blinking; in fact I know of only one other person, and that is me. I cannot watch a film for the simple reason that when I do I forget to blink. I cannot do two things together, particularly if they are so divergent as looking at a film, and blinking. Even now it is impossible for me. I don’t watch films because two hours without blinking gives me a headache and tired eyes, so tired that they cannot even sleep. Yes, tiredness can be so great that even sleep seems to be too much effort. But Shambhu Babu used to listen to me without blinking. Once in a while I would tell him, “Shambhu Babu, please blink. Unless you blink I will not say anything more.”

Then he would blink quickly two or three times and say, “Okay, now continue and don’t disturb me.”

Bertrand Russell once wrote that there would come a time when psychoanalysis would become the greatest profession. Why? Because they are the only people who listen attentively, and everybody needs someone to listen to them at least once in a while. But to pay a psychoanalyst to listen to you - just think of the absurdity of it, paying a person to listen to you. Of course he doesn’t really listen at all, he pretends. That is why I was the first man in India to ask people to pay to listen to me. That is just the opposite to psychoanalysis, and that makes sense. If you want to understand me then pay for it. And in the West people are paying just to be listened to.

Sigmund Freud, being the perfect Jew, created one of the greatest inventions in the world - the psychoanalyst’s couch. It is really a great invention. The poor patient lies on the couch, just like me here - but I am not the patient, that’s the difficulty.

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