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Chapter 6: Transformation: Beyond Renunciation

He said, “I accept it absolutely but I want to say one thing. You can give me any punishment, but don’t tell me to be married to two women.”

The magistrate said, “I have never heard of any punishment like that. My whole life I have been punishing people, but I have never punished anybody that way.”

He said, “Then you are a really good man. You can sentence me to death, but not.”

The magistrate said, “But I would like to know why this condition?”

He said, “This is the reason why I was caught. I entered a house where a man lives with two wives. One wife lives on the ground floor, the other wife lives on the floor above. And they were both pulling at the man - one was pulling him to the upper floor, the other was pulling him to the ground floor. I became so interested that I forgot why I had gone there. I became interested to know what was going to be the result, ultimately who would win. Certainly the man had no chance of winning - he was getting beaten from both sides.

“That’s why I got caught - otherwise, in the whole of my life, have you ever seen me in court? I am a born thief; my father was a thief, my father’s father was a thief - this is our inherited profession. And this is the first time anybody from my family has been caught. I am ashamed. My father’s soul, my grandfather’s soul - they will all be ashamed of me. And there was no problem, I could have stolen things and escaped, but the story with those two women and that one man. And a crowd gathered; that is why I got caught. They said, ‘Who is this man? And what is he doing here? He doesn’t seem to be from this neighborhood.’ So you can sentence me to death or life imprisonment, whatsoever you want, but please don’t order me to get married to two women.”

This has been the situation for the poet, for the painter, for the musician, for the dancer - any creative artist finds it easier not to get involved with women, or to get involved only casually, perhaps with strangers. Perhaps traveling on a train he may become interested in a woman because there is no fear - at the next station he is going to get off. Artists have told me that they get interested only in strangers; they don’t know their name, they don’t want to know their name. The strangers don’t know the artist’s name nor does he want them to know it - they remain strangers.

The fear is deep-rooted, and it has a reality of its own. And perhaps that is one of the reasons why women have never been creative: they could not afford to live alone in this society which is absolutely man-made. A woman living alone is continually in danger. Only recently a few women have started careers: as a novelist, as a poet, as a painter. This is because for the first time, just in these last few years - and that too only in a very few advanced, progressive, avant-garde places - a woman has been able to live independently, just like a man. Then they start painting; they start composing poetry, music.

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