But they said, “That is too much. We will not even allow you to jump – and moreover there is always a guard with a gun” – because people used to commit suicide from there. Since a few people had committed suicide, the government had posted a permanent guard twenty-four hours a day.
I said, “Don’t you be worried. I have talked to the guard and he is willing. He said, ‘If you are not committing suicide but just practicing jumping into the river…In fact I also always wanted to jump from here. It is so challenging, but I don’t have the courage.’”
I said, “You are a great soldier, we are small students. Seeing us, perhaps you may get the courage.”
He said, “You bring your friends.”
So one day I went with a few of my friends. All the way they were telling me, “Don’t take that risk. It is too high.”
I said, “First I will jump, then the guard will jump. That is the arrangement. And when you see that we both are alive, you can decide whether to use your courage or not.”
The guard was almost trembling. He said, “Have you really come?”
I said, “What do you mean, really come?”
He said, “I was thinking that you were simply talking.”
I said, “This is the arrangement. First I will jump. You can see that I am alive; then you have to jump – because these are all small people and you should give them courage.”
He said, “My God, number two – I am number two. I was thinking I would be the last.”
I said, “No, that would be insulting you. You are a great soldier with a gun. Put the gun aside” – and I jumped.
The guard would try to jump – he would come close and then stop…suddenly some brakes, and he would stop. And I was calling to him from the river, “No need to stop. It takes only a second, just don’t stop!”
Finally, after three or four attempts, he managed – because all the boys were laughing and I was calling. And I had made him a great soldier so he was also worried about his prestige. Finally he jumped, and when he fell into the river he said to me, “My God, I managed! I cannot believe that I am alive!”
I said, “Believe it! You are alive, just pinch yourself and see! You are not dead.”
He pinched himself! – because he was afraid that perhaps he was dead. And seeing us both alive, slowly, slowly, one by one, the students started jumping.
Everybody has the courage, everybody has all the talents that man is capable of. What talent you bring into the world depends on you; nobody is born with any particular talent. That is an old idea, invented by cowards, invented by people who were nobodies in life so they thought that these are inherited qualities – somebody becomes a poet, somebody becomes a painter, somebody becomes a warrior.