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Chapter 26: Watchfulness, Awareness, Alertness: The Real Trinity

One of my friends was in love with a woman but was not ready to marry her. Now the woman was troubled; she came to me and she told me, “This is strange. Now my family is after me saying, ‘If he loves you then he should marry you, otherwise you are passing the marriageable age.’”

And in India it is then difficult to find a young man of your age available. They will already be married. Then you will have to be married to somebody who is far older than you - perhaps once or twice married before, and whose wives fortunately went on dying and who is still a bachelor. “So, they are after me: ‘Either he marries you or we choose somebody else.’”

I said, “Let me ask him what the problem is.”

And he told me, “I cannot hide it from you. I really love her, but when the question of marriage arises, the trouble is she is taller than me.”

I said, “What kind of trouble is that? I don’t see any trouble in it. If she is taller, you can stand up on a stool and kiss her - at the most a stool is needed!”

I showed him a picture - just that day it was in the newspaper and the newspaper was laying there - of Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, who was a very tall man, with the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, who was only five feet five. So when he gave the oath to Jawaharlal it would have looked really bad: the prime minister would have looked very small, the viceroy really tall. He must have been six and a half feet, or even more, so they arranged it in the picture.

I showed him, “You see the management. Jawaharlal is standing on a step, the steps that lead to the throne. He is standing on a step, and Mountbatten is standing on the floor so they seem almost equal in size.” I said, “Can you see the trick? It is not much of a problem. You can have a folding stool which you can always have in the back of your car, so wherever you need you take your stool.”

He said, “You are making a laughingstock of me. I am serious, because wherever I go, she will be taller and I cannot continually walk with the stool. And in the marriage ceremony when I am taking the seven rounds around the sacred fire, she is so tall I will be ahead of her looking almost like her child. I love her, but I cannot marry her because everybody will laugh.”

And in the marriage ceremony in India all the relatives and friends from faraway gather. It is a gathering of thousands of people. And they were rich people, so everybody would come and everybody would see only one thing: the tallness of the wife. Love had to fail before the power instinct.

I said, “What does it matter? You can tell them, ‘I am not taller than my wife.’”

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