Chapter 3: Old Age: A New Beginning
Because I have been interested in books from my very childhood, it was a constant problem and conflict in every class. I could not pay them respect; I said to my teachers, “Formally, I can pay respect to you, but don’t expect it in a realistic way - because what you are saying is no longer true. And to give real respect to you means to accept what you are saying as true.”
“I respect truth - that’s why I cannot respect you. For twenty years you have not been in contact with the developing knowledge. Once you came out of the university, you never read anything about what has happened in your subject.”
And the rate of research in all subjects is such that now big books - particularly in physics, in chemistry, in biochemistry - are not written, because by the time you write a big book of a thousand pages most of it will have been proved wrong. So only periodicals, papers are published. And in that too you have to be very quick because you are not working on the subject alone.
Albert Einstein was asked once, “If you had not discovered the theory of relativity, do you think it would have ever been discovered?”
He said, “Within three weeks - at the most.” It was very shocking because people thought that you had to be an Albert Einstein.
He said, “That is true, but there are many Albert Einsteins around the world who are working along the same lines. It is only a question of who comes first, it is a race.”
And it was found that another German physicist had already discovered everything about the theory of relativity, but he was late in publishing his paper; otherwise, Albert Einstein would not have been the first man to bring light to the whole subject. This man had discovered everything, he was just a little lazy about writing his paper - but his discovery was earlier than Albert Einstein’s.
People are researching small details - not big subjects, because big subjects take a longer time. People are taking very small pieces of subjects so that they can finish them quickly before anybody else does, and then they can give the paper to the university, or to whoever publishes the paper.
Now there are thousands of universities around the world working on the same subjects, thousands of scholars.
And I found that my teachers, without exception, were twenty or thirty years behind the times. And because I said so, it became a constant trouble. Colleges, universities would not accept me, would not give me admission, and they would not give the reasons. Somehow I had to convince a principal.
I still remember the scene..
This principal was a little crazy. He was a devotee of the mother goddess Kali of Calcutta, and every morning from four o’clock he would start..
He was a very big man. He was a wrestler in his youth, and the rumor was that in the early days the famous wrestler Gama was defeated by him - but by that time Gama was no longer famous. And this principal had the body of a great wrestler; he was black, looked dangerous. And from four o’clock the whole neighborhood was tortured by him - “Jai Kali.” And he had a real loud voice, no loudspeakers needed.