“But you know,” he went on, “it is a great temptation sometimes. You are such a temptation. I never knew, otherwise I would not have taken the risk. Somehow you have a genius for finding the wrong things to do. I wonder,” he said, “how you go on finding so many things to do wrong? Either I am completely insane…or you are.”
I said, “Nana, you need not get worried: if anyone is insane, then it is me.” And from that day I have been telling people, “Don’t be bothered by me, I am a madman.”
I had said that to console him, and I am still saying it to console people who really are mad. But when you are in a madhouse, and you are the only one who is not mad, what can you do except say to everybody, “Relax, I am a madman, don’t take me seriously.” That’s what I have been doing my whole life.
He used to close his eyes, but sometimes it was too much of a temptation…. For example, one day I was riding on Bhoora, our servant. I had ordered him to behave like a horse. First he looked bewildered, but my grandmother said, “What is wrong in that? Can’t you act a little? Bhoora, behave like a horse.” So he started doing everything a horse is supposed to do, and I was riding him.
That was too much in front of my grandfather. He closed his eyes and started chanting his mantra: “…Namo arihantam namo…namo siddhanam namo.”
Of course I stopped, because when he started chanting his mantra that meant it was too much for him. It was time to stop. I shook him and said, “Nana, come back, there is no need to chant your mantra. I have stopped the game. Can’t you see that it was only a game?”
He looked into my eyes, I looked into his eyes…for a moment there was just silence. He waited for me to speak. He had to yield; he said, “Okay, I should speak first.”
I said, “That’s right, because if you had remained silent, I was going to remain silent my whole life. It is good that you spoke, so now I can answer you. What do you want to ask?”
He said, “I have always wanted to ask you, why are you so mischievous?”
I said, “That is a question you should reserve for God. When you meet him, ask him, ‘Why did you create this child so mischievous?’ You cannot ask me that. It is almost like asking ‘Why are you you?’ Now, how can that be answered? As far as I am concerned, I am not concerned at all; I am just being myself. Is that allowed or not, in this house?” We were sitting outside in the garden.
He looked at me again, and asked, “What do you mean?”
I said, “You understand perfectly what I mean. If I am not allowed to be myself then I won’t enter this house again. So please be clear with me: either I enter this house with the license to be myself, or I forget about this house and just be a wanderer, a vagabond. Tell me clearly and don’t hesitate, come on!”
He laughed and said, “You can enter the house. It is your home. If I cannot resist interfering with you then I will leave the house. You need not.”