That was just a few days before my mother…my grandmother died. Excuse me again, because I go on again and again calling her “mother” and then correcting it. What can I do? I had known her as my mother. My whole life I have tried to correct it and not been able to. I still don’t call my mother “mother.” I still call her bhabhi, not mother, and bhabhi only means “elder brother’s wife.” All my brothers laugh at me. They say, “Why do you go on calling mother bhabhi? – because bhabhi means elder brother’s wife. Certainly your father is not your elder brother.” But what can I do? I knew my grandmother as my mother from my earliest years, and those early years are the most important years of life. It is what I think the scientists call “an imprint.”
When a bird comes out of its egg and looks at its mother, with that first look he is imprinted. But if the bird comes out and you have removed the mother and replaced her with something else, a different imprint happens.
It actually happened this way that the word imprint came into use. A scientist was working on what happens when a bird first comes out of the egg. He removed everything from the surroundings but he completely forgot that he himself was there. The bird came out, looked around and could see only the boots of the scientist who was standing there watching.
The bird came to the boots and very lovingly started playing with them. The scientist was amazed but later on he was in trouble because the bird was continuously knocking on his door, not for him, but for his boots. He had to keep his boots near the bird’s house. And the strangest thing you can imagine happened: when the bird became mature he first made love with the boots. He could not fall in love with a girl bird, and there were many available. But he had a certain imprint of how his love object should be. He could only love a beautiful pair of boots.
I lived with my grandmother for years and thought of her as my mother. And it was not a loss. I would have liked her to be my mother. If there were any possibility of my being born again, although there is none, I would choose her to be my mother. I am simply emphasizing the point. There is no possibility of my being born again, the wheel has stopped long ago. But she was right when she said that I would not have friends. I did not have friends in school, high school, college or at university. Although many thought they were my friends, they were just admirers, at the most acquaintances, or at the very most followers, but not friends.
The day I started initiating, my only fear was, “Will I be able to someday change my followers into my friends?” The night before, I could not sleep. Again and again I thought, “How am I going to manage it? A follower is not supposed to be a friend.” I said to myself that night in Kulu-Manali in the Himalayas, “Don’t be serious. You can manage anything, although you don’t know the A-B-C of managerial science.”
I recall a book by Bern, The Managerial Revolution. I read it, not because the title contained the word revolution, but because the title contained the word managerial. Although I loved the book, naturally I was disappointed because it was not what I was looking for; I was never able to manage anything. So that night in Kulu-Manali I laughed.