I have lived for almost twenty years in Jabalpur in India; it has one of the most beautiful spots in the world. For two to three miles continuously, a beautiful river, Narmada, flows between two mountains of marble…just three miles of pure white marble on both sides, high mountains. And the river is deep. In the full-moon night, when the moon comes in the middle and you can see those rocks also reflected into the waters, it creates almost a magical world. I don’t think there is anything in the world which can be compared to that magic. It is simply unimaginable.
I insisted again and again to my professor, Doctor S.K. Saxena…I had loved him very much because he was the only teacher I came across who never treated me as a student. We argued, we fought on small points, and if he was wrong he was always ready to accept it, and he was grateful.
He had a PhD from America – he lived his whole life in America, and taught as a professor of Indian philosophy there. Just at the end he wanted to go back to his own country. He had been searching for someone who could translate his doctoral thesis into Hindi, but he never came across a man who could. And his thesis was really of great significance; just a literal translation would not have done. It needed someone with a deep understanding. The subject matter of the thesis was, “The evolution of consciousness in the East.” It was one of the most difficult subjects, very elusive, but he had managed, worked hard, and had come to certain very significant conclusions.
He asked me – I was only a student – to translate it. I said, “You should ask some professor, at least someone qualified.”
He said, “I have seen many professors, many qualified people; they can translate only literally. And I trust you. Arguing with you I have come to the conclusion that this is the man who can translate it.”
It took me two months continuously – my whole holiday one summer. It was hard work. And it was harder because there were faults, there were mistakes, and I could not tolerate them. So I pointed out to him, “These are mistakes; out of your seven conclusions, three are wrong, and if it was in my hands I would take your doctorate back. The people who have given you a doctorate know nothing about consciousness.”
He said, “I was afraid of this!”
But I said to him, “I have translated it; just in the footnotes I have made my comments where you have gone wrong, why you have gone wrong. Perhaps anybody would have gone wrong. Just as a scholar it was bound to happen, this mistake. I am not a scholar.”
I gave the thesis to him and I said, “You look at it, and you tell me how you feel.”