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Chapter 3: Unhitch the Universe

He said, “I would have appreciated it if you had given the chance to somebody else, but you grabbed the gold medal yourself. This is very ungainly, ungraceful.”

I said, “You will be happy to know that I have not brought the gold medal home.”

I had dropped it in the university well. I had told the vice-chancellor that it did not matter to me, and to prove it I threw it in the big well that supplied the water to the whole university. Everybody thought I was crazy. Even the vice-chancellor said, “This is carrying the argument too far.”

I said, “It is not an argument. I’m simply telling you that I don’t believe in a system of education which creates categories: first class, second class, third class. Everybody is just himself, this classification is a dangerous phenomenon.”

My grandfather said, “That is good, if you have thrown that gold medal. You did well. And never again do such a thing.”

I said, “I have done nothing. They simply gave it to me; it was not my fault. I had done everything not to have it.”

I was not attending the classes, I was prohibited from attending the classes. I never purchased a single book that was prescribed by the university. I was purchasing strange books which had nothing to do with the examination. Even my professors were worried. They loved me. They said, “You are losing a great opportunity. You have every chance to be the first in the whole university, but we never see you reading anything that is prescribed.”

How strange are the ways of life. It was because of this I came first - because all the other students’ answers were repetitive. Only my answers were original - original in the sense that I was answering them not only for the examination, not for any gain, but just to enjoy the answering.just as I enjoy answering your questions. I even said, “This question is absolutely wrong, it does not deserve any answer. And if I can find the man who asked it, I will hit him.”

Later my professor said, “That examination was prepared by me, and I have read your answer. I understand that you are right, the question was stupid.”

The question was, “What is the difference between Indian philosophy and Western philosophy?” And naturally I said, “Philosophy is not geographical. Philosophy is simply philosophy. What does it have to do with East and West? It is a thinking process, you can do it anywhere. It has nothing to do with place, with geography. Your question is absurd, hence I’m not going to answer it. And if I could meet you, I would hit you.”

He said, “It is good that that examination was made by me, because anybody else would have become very angry. You answered beautifully and freshly, your answers were simply answers; everybody else was quoting the text books. You had no idea what was written in the text books, you have never seen them. Obviously, you had to be original.”

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