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Chapter 7: Nature Is All There Is

I said, “That is enough, even that is not needed. What are we going to do with these people and their names? And if you want I can make the tree and put any names - it will be just as valid.”

But he was begging me, “Please don’t destroy this paper - at least there are four generations. You are the fifth generation, and then my brothers are there, and their children and their children; my sisters are there and their children.” He was making the tree again.

I said, “You are unnecessarily wasting your time because once I get hold of this, I am going to burn it. What is the point of it all?”

But the brahmins use it. If you go to Allahabad or Benares, there are brahmin families, and you can go to the same family that your father had gone to. They have written in their books that your father went there on such and such a date, and he gave so much donation, and he did such and such ritual, and that your father’s father went there. They have generations of it, because for generations people have been going there from your family. And now you sign your name and become part of it. They will show you records of thousands of years, because their family has always been doing that work. And you feel really thrilled to know that so many people from your family have gone there - you are not the only one.

The whole stream of your forefathers has been going, and this family of brahmins has been serving them as their priest. And they have written down and exaggerated everything - because that is how they are going to exploit you: your father’s father gave a ten-thousand-rupee donation - that donation goes to their family - and his father had given twenty thousand. Now, you don’t have any records, you don’t have any idea, and you feel very poor if you don’t give. At least you should be able to give ten thousand; your father’s father gave it, and it looks shameful if you cannot even uphold the name of the family. But whatsoever you give, don’t be worried; it will be written in thousands for your children - because they will be going there too.

From these people you can get your whole family tree. It was difficult for my father to get it, because Jainas don’t go to brahmins in Allahabad or Benares. For certain rituals, as when your father dies, you have to go just to take his ashes to the Ganges. And you go to the family that has been doing this work for generations, which for thousands of years has taken care of the ashes of everybody who has preceded you. That family will take care of you, will take you in a boat on the Ganges and in the middle of the Ganges they will do the whole ritual; there they will drown the ashes.

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