My grandmother laughed and said, “Go ahead, and don’t take any notice of what your grandfather says. I allow you. If he says anything just indicate toward me and I will put him right.”
She was really a beautiful woman, courageous, ready to give freedom without any limits. She did not even ask me what I was going to ask. She simply said, “Go ahead….”
All the villagers had assembled for the darshana of the Jaina monk. In the middle of the so-called sermon I stood up. That was forty or so years ago, and since then I have been fighting these idiots continuously. That day a war began which is only going to end when I am no more. Perhaps it may not end even then; my people may continue it.
I asked simple questions that he could not answer. I was puzzled. My grandfather was ashamed. My grandmother patted me on the back and said, “Great! You did it! I knew you were able to.”
What had I asked? – just simple questions. I had asked, “Why don’t you want to be born again?” That’s a very simple question in Jainism, because Jainism is nothing but an effort not to be born again. It is the whole science of preventing rebirth. So I asked him the basic question, “Don’t you ever want to be born again?”
He said, “No, never.”
Then I asked, “Why don’t you commit suicide? Why are you still breathing? Why eat? Why drink water? Just disappear, commit suicide. Why make so much fuss over a simple thing?” He was not more than forty years of age…. I said to him, “If you continue in this way, you may have to continue for another forty years or even more.”
It is a scientific fact that people who eat less live longer. Devaraj will certainly agree with me. It has been proven again and again, that if you feed any species more than they need, they become fat, and comfortable of course, beautiful of course, but they soon die. If you feed them only half what they need, it is strange: they don’t look beautiful, they are not comfortable, but they live to almost double the average age. Half the food and double the age – double the food, and half the age.
So I said to the monk – I did not know these facts then – “If you don’t want to be born again, why are you living? Just to die? Then why not commit suicide?” I don’t think anybody had ever asked him such a question. In polite society nobody ever asks a real question, and the question of suicide is the most real of all.