I said, “I am not going to tell anybody that you are my tailor. Make as many pockets as possible, because I have to collect so many things, so many shells, so many stones, so many flowers.” My mother had great trouble every night to unload my pockets, and she will say again and again, “Have you ever thought what is the purpose of all this?” And I always answered, I remember, that, “As far as purpose is concerned, what is the purpose of your giving birth to me? What is the purpose of getting married? What is the purpose of the whole day working from four o’clock early in the morning till twelve in the night? What is the purpose? So don’t ask the question about purpose. You enjoy what you are doing, I enjoy what I am doing. That is your play, this is my play. I love these stones, that’s enough. More than that is not needed.”
Life has intrinsic value, there is no goal outside it. Hence my whole effort is to change everything into playfulness. To me that is real spirituality.
What to give children nowadays, so that they can be as playful as you have been?
It all depends on them. Nobody was allowing me, I took the liberty and the responsibility, and the consequences. I was punished, but I took the punishment as part of the play; I enjoyed so much that the punishment did not mean anything. And when my family started understanding me a little more, they stopped punishing me; they said, “It is useless.” When my teachers started understanding me, they said, “It is difficult to punish you,” because they will say, “Sit down and stand up for ten times,” and I will ask, “Can I do it thirty times?” And the teacher will say, “Are you crazy? I am punishing you for being late! It is not a reward, and you are asking thirty times!” I said, “I don’t care about your punishment; I can change it into a reward, you cannot stop me. In fact, this morning I have not done any exercise. Just be compassionate, let me do it thirty times.”
They will tell me, “Go round the school one dozen times.” I will say, “That’s great. I love to run, to jog, for miles. So a dozen times is insulting.” They said, “What?” I said, “Yes, it is insulting. Tell me, ‘Go round the school the whole day.’ I love the field, I love the trees, I love the sun, I love the wind. And I hate your dismal class and your face and your blackboard.”
Finally they stopped punishing me, because it was useless. If somebody takes punishment as playfulness, reward, what can you do with that man? Everybody has to understand that. But life will not allow you – by life I mean the society around you. The people who are purposive, utilitarian, always ask, “For what? What is the goal? What is the motive?” And if you cannot answer, then you are mad.
Just doing anything for its own sake…Only a few artists have been courageous enough to say that art is for art’s sake, but nobody listened to them. They were saying something of eternal value. It is not only art which is for art’s sake: love is also for love’s sake, friendship is also for friendship’s sake. In life everything has its own intrinsic value, no ulterior motive. That changes you completely. You are no longer running for some goal; you are already there. Each moment you are at home. There is nowhere to go, nothing to be achieved, no ambition to be fulfilled. Each moment is a fulfillment unto itself.