So, to me, being thrown upon oneself begins the journey toward the spiritual. How we become thrown back in this way is another matter. Life gives many opportunities for being thrown back to oneself. But the more clever we are, the quicker we are in rescuing ourselves from such an opportunity. At such moments we move out from ourselves.
If my wife dies, I am immediately in search, and then I marry another. If my friend is lost, I begin to search for another. I cannot leave any gap. By filling that gap, the opportunity I would have had to revert back to my own self is lost in a moment, along with its immense possibilities.
If I had become interested in the other, I would have lost the opportunity to journey toward the self. I became a sort of a stranger to others. Generally, it is at this tender age that we become related with the other, when we are admitted into society. That is the age when we are initiated, so to speak, by the society which wants to absorb us. But I have never been initiated into society. It just could not happen. Whenever I entered into the society, I entered as an individual and I remained aloof and separate like an island.
I do not remember that I ever cultivated any friendship, though there were many who wanted to be my friends. Many persons made friends with me, and they enjoyed making friendship with me because it was not possible to make me an enemy. But I do not recall that I have ever gone of my own accord to anyone in order to make any friend. If someone threw himself on me, it was a different matter. It is not that I never welcomed friendship. If someone made a friend of me, I wholeheartedly welcomed it. But even then I could not become a friend in the ordinary sense. I have always remained aloof.
In short, even while studying in school, I remained aloof. Neither with any of my teachers, nor with any fellow student, nor with any other, could I develop such a relationship as would drown me or break my being an island. Friends came and also stayed with me. I met many people as well; I had many friends. But from my side there was nothing that could make me dependent upon them or which would cause me to remember them.
It is very interesting to note that I do not remember anyone. It has never happened that I would sit pondering over someone with the feeling that if I would meet him it would be very pleasant. If someone does meet me, it makes me very happy, but I do not become unhappy due to not meeting someone. For the state of ultimate joy, I believe that only my grandfather’s death was responsible. That death threw me back to myself permanently. I have not been able to revert back from the center. Due to this condition of being an outsider, a stranger, I have seen a new dimension of experience. It is a condition in which, although I am amidst everything, I continue to remain outside.
I became a universe unto myself. This new experience – and a strange one at that – gave me a sort of pain, although it was a joyous pain. It was like this: that at that young age I began to feel and experience a sort of maturity and elderliness. In this experience there was no ego involvement, but an individuality was still there, and that placed me in some embarrassing situations.