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Chapter 10: The Only Romance That Knows No Divorce

I have never come across another of the same quality of attachment. He was so money mad that even if you had a one hundred rupee note, he would say, “Just let me touch it.” And he would touch it as if he was touching his beloved, with such romance. It was impossible to give him money and to get it back. I inquired about him from all the people who knew him. They said, “He has never returned anybody’s money. And people feel full of pity. Nobody is angry about it. They just think he is insane, obsessed with money.”

Walking on the street on a fullmoon night, he suddenly picked up something and then threw it away and said, “If I meet this man I will kill him. The son of a bitch spits mucous as if it is a rupee; it shines in the light.”

Such was his madness. He had a small cloth shop, and for a few months I used to live just by the side of his shop in a small house. I was puzzled to watch the whole show that went on in his shop. There were people whom he knew would ask for things on credit. He would immediately give me a sign and then hide in the back of the shop in the bathroom. He always avoided one old woman in particular. And I had to tell her, “He is not here.”

But one day I said to her, “What is the matter? Whenever you come you never find him here.”

She said, “There is nothing the matter. He is afraid of me because he owes me money. And naturally, I will purchase things and I will tell him, ‘Deduct it from the money you owe.’”

I said, “If that is what is the matter, then he is hiding in the bathroom.”

She said, “Really.”

I said, “You go in.”

She said, “Well it does not look right.”

I said, “You go in and open the door.”

So she went and opened the door. He came running out. He was very angry with me. I said, “If I had known that this was the reason, I would have never deceived that woman that you are not in the shop. You owe money to her?”

He said, “I owe money to everybody. In this whole area, nobody can say that I don’t owe money to them. But you know me; I cannot return money once I get it. It is almost like a heart attack to give the money back.”

It is verging on insanity. All attachments although different in degree, are a kind of putting yourself down and making something so important that people are ready to die for money; people are ready to die for power. People are ready to do anything to fulfill their ambition. All these attachments destroy your worthiness. They take away all that is beautiful and valuable in you. You become smaller than the things you are attached to and infatuated with.

A man who has no attachment has tremendous freedom; he has nothing to lose. And if everything is lost, he will not look back even a single time.

I have told you the story of Diogenes.

He used to live naked. He is the only man in the Western world who can be compared to Mahavira in India. Both were contemporaries; both lived naked. Both had immensely beautiful bodies and were very strong people.

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