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Chapter 30: Live Dangerously

And I never went to him to ask for my graduation certificates; he came to the hostel. I never went to the convocation, because that was the agreement. After the convocation he looked around - he had given the certificates, and the man who had topped the university and had won the gold medal was not there! Everybody was asking why I was not there; only the vice-chancellor knew. He said, “I know why he is not here - just because of an agreement. I will have to go to the hostel to give him his gold medal, his certificates, and apologize. I was worried about this, that he may get the gold medal and the trouble would be known to everybody, why he is not here.”

He came, he gave me the certificates. I said, “That’s okay. If you are giving them, I will not refuse; but I have followed my agreement. I would never have come to ask for my certificates. And sooner or later I am going to burn them anyway.”

He said, “What!”

I said, “What am I going to do? Carry them all my life?”

And after nine years, when I resigned from the professorship, the first thing I did was burn all the certificates. My father was there; he said, “Even if you have resigned, there is no need to burn the certificates. They can remain here. What is the trouble? You give them to me, I will keep them.”

I said, “No, that means you are still hoping that someday I may need them. No, once I have passed a bridge I want to destroy it, so that I cannot go back. I am not going to give these certificates to you.”

I burned them in front of him, and he said, “You are strange. I am not preventing you from resigning.”

I said, “Once I have resigned, I am never going to need these certificates in my life, so why carry them?”

I have never followed rules of any kind, so it is very natural for me to forget. Yes, I forgot to tell you that it is one of my requests to you to live dangerously.

What does it mean exactly? It simply means that in life there are always alternatives. You are always at a crossroad, always and always. Each moment is a crossroad, and you have to choose where you are going, what is going to be your path; each moment you have to choose. Each moment is decisive because you are discarding many ways and choosing one.

Now, if you choose the comfortable, the convenient, then you will never be able to live intensely. The comfortable, the convenient, the conventional, of which the society approves, means that you are ready to become a psychological slave. That’s why all this convenience.. The society will give you everything, if you give your freedom to it. It will give you respectability, it will give you great posts in the hierarchy, in the bureaucracy - but you have to drop one thing: your freedom, your individuality. You have to become a number in the crowd. The crowd hates the person who is not part of it. The crowd becomes very tense seeing a stranger amongst it, because the stranger becomes a question mark.

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