And even in his bathroom he had six telephones. He was continuously on the phone…two phones always in his hands. You could not talk with him easily; it was so difficult.
He told me that he belonged to a certain religion which values celibacy as the greatest spiritual thing. He had taken the vow of celibacy three times. One man was with me and he was very much impressed. When Sonalal had gone for some work inside the house he said, “This is a great man – three times!”
I said, “You are an idiot. When he is saying three times he took a vow for celibacy, that simply means that the fourth time he never took it. He understood that it is impossible.”
He said, “But…I never thought about it. I simply thought, ‘Three times!’”
Sonalal came back and I asked him, “What happened the fourth time?”
He said, “I could not gather the courage, because three times I failed, and each time I became more guilty, ashamed of myself. And I am old.” He was at that time seventy years old. “In the first place, to stand up in the congregation and take the vow for celibacy, people laugh – they see this seventy year old…and that too for the fourth time.”
I said, “There is no need. Your religion and your religious leaders don’t know. Celibacy is possible without repression, and at such a stage I will not call it a crime, but it has to be done through self-hypnosis. There is no need for any vow to be taken.”
He was immensely excited. He said, “Do whatever…but I want to be celibate before I die, because this is the only thing in which I have failed in my life. I have never failed in anything.” He gave millions of dollars to the freedom movement. So all the leaders who became prime ministers, and presidents and cabinet ministers looked to him as a father figure.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was the prime minister, told him, “It was okay not to give taxes to the British government, but now it is your own government.”
He said, “Remember, it does not matter to me which government it is. I can donate twice the amount that you think I should pay in taxation, but taxation? – that I cannot do. And you cannot catch hold of me, because I don’t have any books. Except for me, nobody knows how much money I have, how much money is invested, where it is invested, how it is invested. I don’t even have a secretary. So never ask for any tax.
“You can always ask for a donation. If your government needs a donation, I am ready. Just as I was giving to you when you were fighting for freedom, I can give to you now, when your government needs it.” And he never gave any tax, even to the independent Indian government.
He said, “I have my own principles. I am nobody’s servant. But about this celibacy there is a wound in me. Three times I have failed. And I don’t want to die a failure in anything.” And he was a man of rare courage. I have seen people of different kinds, but I have never found any man of that courage.