Chapter 14: The Greatest Surgery Possible
In India I have seen the man - he was very much respected - Ganeshvarni. He was born a Hindu but became converted to Jainism. And whenever somebody becomes converted to some other religion he’s very much respected in that religion. In his own religion nobody cared about him. But being converted into Jainism he brings to the Jaina’s heart a satisfaction that “we are more right than Hindus. Look, a Hindu on his own.” - because Jainas are not missionaries; if somebody asks them, they can convert him, but they don’t go out of their way to convert anybody - “.a man has come by himself.”
And the man proved really of great strength to go through all the Jaina austerities - so that he defeated the born Jaina aesthetics. He became, unnominated, almost the head of the whole Jaina community.
After twenty-two years - he was in Varanasi - his wife died, whom he had left in the Hindu fold. In his autobiography he says, “I felt a great relief.”
When I read this, where he says that he felt a great relief, I wrote a letter to him: “Your sentence has many implications. It means you still consider your wife your wife. It means that you feel guilty that you have left her poor, without any financial support, and escaped; that twenty-two years have not been able to make any change in you - your relationship with your wife is still intact.”
When he received my letter he was very angry. One of my friends used to be with him - edit his books and do other kinds of work. He wrote to me that he was very angry.
I said, “That shows that whatever I have written is right. His anger is an agreement. Tell him; otherwise what is there to be angry about? If what I had written was wrong, he could have simply laughed - and he has not replied to me. And from you I hear that he was very angry; and he’s supposed to be nonviolent, gone beyond anger, but he has gone nowhere. He has simply forced a certain discipline upon himself because so much respect is being given, his ego is being fulfilled, and people are saying, ‘What a great man.’ The wife dies, and he does not feel sadness; on the contrary he says, ‘What a great relief.’”
And when I pointed it out to these people who were saying that this shows freedom from attachment, I said, “This is not the case. It shows he was attached, and he was waiting for her death. In fact, perhaps in his own mind he has murdered her many times; otherwise, why should he feel relief?
“For twenty-two years that poor woman has been cleaning other people’s houses and somehow managing to live. He has never cared about her. And he has become a great saint, but unconsciously those words “what a relief” show that he is feeling good that the wife is dead. The wife was still his wife.”
Now these people - this kind of atmosphere - are all over the world in all religions.
So Gurdjieff was suspected.. “Is he enlightened or not? He’s trying to keep his wife alive longer; an enlightened man is supposed to be detached - whether one dies or lives does not matter.”
But they don’t understand that he is functioning under a totally different system, and to him it is not a question of his wife; to him it is a question of a growing soul which is just on the border of entering into the whole. If those few days are missed, one cannot say how many more lives she will have to suffer, and whether she will be able to get a master like Gurdjieff - which is difficult.