Perhaps his very patience with me, a mischievous child…even I could not tolerate it. If a child like that was given to me and for years…my God! Even for minutes and I would throw the child out of the door forever. Perhaps those years worked a miracle for my grandfather; that immense patience paid. He became more and more silent. I saw it growing every day. Once in a while I would say, “Nana, you can punish me. You need not be so tolerant.” And, can you believe it, he would cry! Tears would come to his eyes, and he would say, “Punish you? I cannot do that. I can punish myself but not you.”
Never, for a single moment, have I ever seen the shadow of anger toward me in his eyes – and believe me, I did everything that one thousand children could do. In the morning, even before breakfast, I was into my mischief until late at night. Sometimes I would come home so late – three o’clock in the morning – but what a man he was! He never said, “You are too late. This is not the time for a child to come home.” No, not even once. In fact, in front of me he would avoid looking at the clock on the wall.
That is how I learned religiousness. He never took me to the temple where he used to go. I also used to go to that temple, but only when it was closed, just to steal prisms, because in that temple there were many chandeliers with beautiful prisms. I think, by and by, I stole almost all of them. When my grandfather was told about it he said, “So what! I donated the chandeliers, so I can donate others. He is not stealing; it is his Nana’s property. I made that temple.” The priest stopped complaining. What was the point? He was just a servant to Nana.
Nana used to go to the temple every morning, yet he never said, “Come with me.” He never indoctrinated me. That is what is great…not to indoctrinate. It is so human to force a helpless child to follow your beliefs; but he remained untempted. Yes, I call it the greatest temptation. The moment you see someone dependent on you in any way, you start indoctrinating. He never even said to me, “You are a Jaina.”
I remember perfectly – it was the time that the census was being taken. The officer had come to our house. He made many inquiries about many things. They asked about my grandfather’s religion; he said, “Jainism.” They then asked about my grandmother’s religion. My Nana said, “You can ask her yourself. Religion is a private affair. I myself have never asked her.” What a man!
My grandmother answered, “I do not believe in any religion whatsoever. All religions look childish to me.” The officer was shocked. Even I was taken aback. She does not believe in any religion at all! In India to find a woman who does not believe in any religion at all is impossible. But she was born in Khajuraho, perhaps into a family of Tantrikas who have never believed in any religion. They have practiced meditation but they have never believed in any religion.
It sounds very illogical to a Western mind: meditation without religion? Yes…in fact, if you believe in any religion you cannot meditate. Religion is an interference in your meditation. Meditation needs no God, no heaven, no hell, no fear of punishment, and no allurement of pleasure. Meditation has nothing to do with mind; meditation is beyond it, whereas religion is only mind, it is within mind.
I know Nani never went to the temple, but she taught me one mantra which I will reveal for the first time. It is a Jaina mantra, but it has nothing to do with Jainas as such. It is purely accidental that it is related to Jainism….