Chapter 5: Just a Little Knack of Losing Yourself
But the atmosphere has been changing for almost two thousand years, since this country became invaded again and again by barbarous, uncivilized, uncultured people who had no idea what philosophy was. And finally, for three hundred years the West has tried in every possible way to corrupt the mind of the East through its educational system - through schools, through colleges, through universities.
Now even in the East crucifixion is possible. Just the other day one of the great Hindu religious leaders, equivalent to the pope of the Catholics, Shankaracharya Swarupananda, was here for a few days. I told Neelam, when she informed me of this, that he would say something against me certainly. But he spoke against me only on the last day, before leaving, so when the information came to me, he had already gone.
What he had spoken against me is so poor that one feels great pity. What has happened to the great philosophical traditions of the East? - and these people represent those traditions. He said about me: “He is the most dangerous man, unparallelled in the history of mankind.” He has not given any reason why. To me this is a compliment. But at least I have the right to ask what is the reason for giving me such a great compliment - “unparallelled in the whole history of mankind.” And what danger am I?
This was not the way of the East. When I was listening to his statement I remembered about the original shankaracharya, Adi Shankaracharya. He is a predecessor of nearly fourteen hundred years ago. He died a young man, he died when he was thirty-three. He created a new tradition of sannyasins, he created four temples in all the four directions, and he appointed four shankaracharyas, one for each direction. I remembered about him that he traveled all over the country defeating great, well-known philosophers - that was in a totally different atmosphere.
One great philosopher was Mandan Mishra; he had a great following. Still in his memory a town exists. I have been there many times. It is on a beautiful bank of the Narmada, one of the most beautiful rivers. That is the place where the river descends from the mountains, so it has tremendous beauty. The city is called Mandala, in memory of Mandan Mishra.
Shankara must have been at the age of thirty when he reached Mandala. Just on the outskirts of the town, by a well, a few women were drawing water. He asked them, “I want to know where the great philosopher Mandan Mishra lives.”
Those women started giggling and they said, “Don’t be worried, you just go inside. You will find it.”
Shankara said, “How will I find it?”
They said, “You will find it, because even the parrots around his house - he has a big garden and there are so many parrots in the garden - they repeat poetries from the upanishads, from the Vedas. If you hear parrots repeating, singing beautiful poetries from the Upanishads, you can be certain that this is the house of Mandan Mishra.”