There was nobody to receive them, and they moved around the city like dead people, almost like ghosts. They could not recognize anything. Seventy years before, things had been totally different. Nor they could see anybody who was contemporary to them. And by the evening almost all of them had returned back to the prison. They fought the revolutionaries who were preventing them from getting into the prison.
They said, “We cannot live outside. Who is going to give us food? And who is going to take care of us: medical care, shelter, clothes? Who is going to be responsible for all this – you?”
And the most amazing thing they said was, “We cannot sleep without chains and without handcuffs. We have become so accustomed to them, it feels that something is missing. We cannot sleep – we tried in the day under some trees, but unless we feel the load, the weight of the chains on the feet, on the hands, we cannot sleep. So please don’t harass us. Life has harassed us enough; now at the end we don’t want to change our lifestyle.”
Finally the revolutionaries also recognized their problem. They had not thought about it, that man becomes adapted to a certain situation and then that is his territory. In that territory he is perfectly comfortable and cozy.
My own experience is that I have talked with beggars who had bank balances. I don’t have a bank balance; I never did. It just happened by chance because I was continuously traveling I used to come to the railway station in Jabalpur at least ten or fifteen times a month, either coming or going….
There used to be an old beggar outside the railway station. Because the first day I had given him one rupee, he would not accept less than that, and he never asked for more than that. So he had become adapted, I had become adapted: I had to give him that one rupee. In fact, if sometimes I came and I did not find the beggar, I would miss him. I would inquire, “Where is the old man?” We had become very friendly, and if sometimes I could not find him, the next time I would give him two rupees – one for the time when I missed him – because it had been very heavy on me.
One day just as I was passing the station I saw him. I was not going out of town, but I was just driving by the railway station, going to meet the doctor of the railway employees at the railway hospital. There I suddenly saw in the corner the old man talking to a young boy, and that young boy was my student. I stopped my car and waited. When they were finished they were both shocked. The father was shocked but I could not understand why. I said, “Why do you look so shocked?”
The father said, “ I cannot hide it from you. I have been hiding it from everybody, but he is my son and he is your student, and I am preparing him to become at least a doctor.”
I asked the boy, “You never told me that you are the son of a beggar.”