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Chapter 19: The Future Belongs to the Creative Man

Be humble in the world of wisdom. Before criticizing anybody, look into the fact from all directions, from all angles, from all possible viewpoints, and you will be surprised: there is very little that can be criticized or complained about. And if you pay that much attention, then whatever you criticize will be accepted, and accepted with gratitude because it is not to fulfill your ego; it is just to help the other person on the path. But you have to do so much work.

One of my professors had written his doctoral thesis on Shankara and Bradley. I told him, “I have read the thesis, and now I am studying everything possible about Shankara and Bradley before I say anything about your thesis.”

He said, “You are strange, because I have given my thesis to many professors and they have all given their opinions.”

I said, “I cannot give you my opinion in such a cheap way. I will look at all the sources you have looked into; I will look into other sources that you have not looked into.” And it took me almost six months to study Shankara and Bradley.

When I gave my opinion to him he said, “My God, it is good that you were not one of my examiners; otherwise, I would never have been able to get the doctorate. I worked on it for six years, and in six months you have gone through all the sources that I have referred to. You have even gone to other sources which I have not even heard of.”

I said, “Your treatise is juvenile, it is written by an amateur. Shankara and Bradley are very mature philosophers of the East and West. You have not paid enough respect to these two geniuses. You have done a clerical job. You have looked at a few books of Shankara, a few books of Bradley, taken a few pieces from here, from there, and your thesis was ready. Your thesis does not contribute a single original point. And unless a thesis contributes an original point, it does not deserve a doctorate; it is at the most a beautiful essay. You can publish it as a book, but not for a doctorate.”

But he was a humble man; he accepted it. He said, “You are right. I myself was feeling that I had not done them justice. Six years were not enough to cover Bradley’s whole life and Shankara’s whole life. These two are the very highest peaks of genius; six years are not enough. But nobody pointed it out to me, not even my examiners. The examiners will not point it out because to do that they would have had to read it, they would have had to go through the whole thing. Who bothers? In fact, perhaps some of their students gave me the marks and the examiners have not even looked at the thesis.”