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Chapter 18: Existential Worship

I said, “It is never too late. You have still a few years to live. Forget the past; start what you wanted to be. Now your parents are dead; forgive them, they never intended anything bad for you. All that they wanted to show you was that if you become a musician, what are you going to get? Now you are one of the richest persons. As a musician you would have remained a poor person.

“So just remember that their intention was good, although they did not care about your individuality, your freedom, your choice. They had taken it for granted that you are their possession. Forgive them, they are dead. Don’t be angry and don’t be sad. Start.”

He said, “You really mean that I can start?”

I said, “I really mean it. And I know a musician, I will introduce you.”

He lived fifteen years more and died a very contented man, although he never became a famous musician. Nobody ever heard that he is a celebrity as far as music is concerned. His music remained not very developed, because Indian music particularly needs tremendous effort: eight to ten hours’ practice every day, a lifelong discipline; only then can you create those subtle nuances. It is not jazz; that, any idiot can do.

It is said that if the Indian musician does not practice for one day, he immediately recognizes the difference. If he does not practice for two days, then the people who understand the depths and the heights of music start feeling there is something different. If he does not practice for three days, then even people who are only acquainted with music start feeling the difference.

It is a devotion, it is a worship - and he had loved it. If he had gone into music from the very beginning, he might have become one of the most authentic, creative musicians of the world. But even though he was old now, he died happy. I was by his side when he died, and he said to me, “There are no words of gratitude for you. You encouraged me - I had lost all hope. I am dying fulfilled, I am happy. At least for fifteen years I have been myself. At least for fifteen years there have been moments when I got lost completely into music. And those have been the greatest moments of my life.”

Worship means you have to be very alert not to be manipulated by anyone, and you have to go and find your own way. It is risky, but it pays immensely.

In fact, only very few live.

Only those who can take risks are alive.

Others simply vegetate.

You say you respect America for its democracy and freedom. I feel that we are contradicting that spirit by submitting all visitors, who want to come to see you and our commune, to customs inspections at Portland and at Mirdad, by having them sign papers and wear wristbands.
This does not happen anywhere else in the USA. Was this part of the fascist mentality? Do we still need these things?

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