Chapter 8: Session 8
He could not answer. My grandmother stood up and said, “You have to answer the question. Don’t think that only a child is asking; I am also asking and I am your hostess.”
Now again I have to introduce you to a Jaina convention. When a Jaina monk comes to a family to receive his food, after taking his meal, as a blessing to the family, he gives a sermon. The sermon is addressed to the hostess. My grandmother said, “I am your hostess today, and I also am asking the same question. Have you visited the seventh hell? If not, say truthfully that you have not, but then you cannot say there are seven hells.”
The monk became so puzzled and confused - more so by being confronted by a beautiful woman - that he started to leave. My Nani shouted, “Stop! Don’t leave! Who is going to answer my child’s question? And he still has a few more to ask. What kind of man are you? - escaping from a child’s questions.”
The man stopped. I said to him, “I drop the second question, because the monk cannot answer it. He has not answered the first question either, so I will ask him the third; perhaps he may be able to answer that.”
He looked at me. I said, “If you want to look at me, look into my eyes.” There was great silence, just as it is here. Nobody said a word. The monk lowered his eyes, and I then said, “Then I don’t want to ask. My first two questions are unanswered, and the third is not asked because I don’t want a guest of the house to be ashamed. I withdraw.” And I really withdrew from the gathering, and I was so happy when my grandmother followed me.
The monk was given his farewell by my grandfather, but as soon as he had left, my grandfather rushed back into the house and asked my grandmother, “Are you mad? First you supported this boy who is a born troublemaker, then you went with him without even saying goodbye to my master.”
My grandmother said, “He is not my master, so I don’t care a bit. Moreover what you think to be a born troublemaker is the seed. Nobody knows what will come out of it.”
I know now what has come out of it. Unless one is a born troublemaker one cannot become a buddha. And I am not only a buddha, as Gautam the Buddha; that is too traditional. I am Zorba the Buddha. I am a meeting of the East and the West. In fact, I do not divide East and West, higher and lower, man and woman, good and bad, God and the devil. No! A thousand times no! I don’t divide. I join together all that has been divided up to now. That is my work.
That day is immensely significant in order to understand what happened during my whole life, because unless you understand the seed, you will miss the tree and the flowering, and perhaps the moon through the branches.