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Chapter 13: Ecstasy Is Knowing That Nobody Is Holding Your Hand

I said, “I need them. My needs and your needs are different. I never say to you that you should have so many pockets or that you should not have them; that is your business.” I needed pockets because when I went to the river I found such treasures - so many beautiful stones, so colorful, that I was for hours walking on the sands to collect them. And I would come home full - almost double my weight.

My father would see me entering the house and he would say, “This is the use of the pockets? Are you mad or something? Why do you go on bringing all these stones? And we have to throw them out every day.”

I said, “You don’t understand. You can throw them out, but if you have any understanding of a simple thing. I feel so ecstatic, so joyous when I see these stones. I am not interested in your money and I am not interested in anything else; I simply collect the stones.” But the joy was in exploring for them, finding them far away by the side of the river - just to find one beautiful stone.

One day my father got so fed up that he brought four laborers and told them, “Go to the river and bring as many stones as possible, because he is wasting hours every day.” So they brought buckets full of stones. They knew exactly from where to get them - I had no idea that there was a mine - and they poured them out in my small room where I had my own world, where nobody was allowed to enter. My father said, “You can keep all these. Now there is no need to go there because you cannot find anything more. All colors and all kinds of stones we have collected for you. You waste so much time.”

I said, “You have destroyed my joy. It was not the stones; it was my finding them. Now I see this: thousands of stones are here and I don’t feel any joy. Take them away. You have destroyed something.”

“But,” he said, “I thought you loved stones.”

I said, “No, there is no question of loving stones, it was the finding. Stones were just an excuse. Sometimes it is stones you are finding, sometimes it is butterflies you are finding, sometimes it is flowers you are finding, and sometimes it is truth you are finding - but remember, the beauty is always in the finding, not what you find. That is just an excuse.”

He said, “Whatever is done, it seems difficult to make you happy.”

I said, “That’s true. Never try to make anybody happy. Nobody can do that. You can make me unhappy - that is possible - but happy. That is simply my absolute right, to be or not to be. You cannot force me to be happy - this is an enforcement. Pouring all these stones in front of me, are you trying to make me happy?”

But it was happening continually about everything. Slowly, slowly they started to understand that this boy seems to be eccentric, so leave him alone.

When I was very small I had long hair like a girl. In India boys don’t have hair that long - at least at that time it was not allowed. I used to have very long hair, and whenever I used to enter - and the entrance was from the shop, the house was behind the shop, so to enter I had to pass through the shop - my father was there, his customers were there, and they would ask, “Whose girl is this?”

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