I used to sit by the bank of the river for hours because that was the most beautiful place in my village. The morning was beautiful, the evening was beautiful; and even in the hot summer there were spots where there were thick trees, just leaning over the river. You could just sit in the river, in the water, and it was so cool you could forget it was summer.
I was just sitting looking at the morning sun, and fishermen were there. In India they put out a bait for the fish. Everywhere fishermen put out bait, but in India it has to be non-vegetarian, because the people who are catching fish and the people who are going to buy fish, both are non-vegetarians. So the fishermen will cut small insects into pieces which are delicious to the fishes and hook them to their – what do you call it? Fishing line? – fishing line, and the fishes will come and catch the insect. And with the insect there is a hook; the hook will catch the fish. The fish will come to get the insect, but inside the insect the hook has been put, so once she swallows the insect, the fish is caught by the hook and she can be pulled out immediately.
Looking at this fisherman I thought, “I have to find some way that I can catch my people. Right now they are in different camps, nobody is mine.” I was alone: nobody was courageous enough even to associate with me or to walk with me because people would think that he was also gone, was lost. I found the bait: use their words.
In the beginning people were really shocked. Those who knew me for years, who knew that I had always been against God, were really puzzled, absolutely puzzled. One of my teachers, whom I had tortured for three years continually in my high school because he was a very pious type of man: praying morning and evening, and continually keeping on his forehead the symbol of his religion…. I was continually harassing him about everything; he was incapable of answering any question.
In fact nobody can answer questions relating to fictions. If the reality is there, some way can be found and any question can be answered. But if there is no reality at all and you are just feeling high on something fictitious, you will be afraid even to listen to a question from somebody because that brings a doubt to your mind.
This teacher lived not very far from my house, so I used to go to torture him there because in class he would simply say, “Get out!” before he took the attendance. I would say, “Please, first take my attendance; otherwise, I come every day, but at the end of term you will say that my attendance is not good enough and that I cannot appear in the examinations. So please, first take the attendance.”
He said, “That I will do – you need not even come.” And he gave me exactly one hundred percent attendance, but he said, “First you get out. Before I start my work” – because attendance was the first thing you get out!”
I used to go to his house, and I would say, “Here you have to treat me like a god because that is what scriptures say: atithi devo bhava: ‘the guest is equal to God.’ Here you cannot tell me to get out; and English is not allowed at all because it is a religious conversation for which I have come.”