I was talking about Pagal Baba and the three flutists he introduced to me. It is still a beautiful memory, the way he introduced me to people – particularly to those who were accustomed to being received, respected and honored. The first thing he would say to them was, “Touch the feet of this boy.”
I remember how differently people reacted, and how we both laughed later on. Pannalal Ghosh was introduced to me at his own house in Calcutta. Pagal Baba was his guest, I was Pagal Baba’s guest. Pannalal Ghosh was really very famous, and when Baba said to him, “Touch the feet of this boy first, then I can allow you to touch my feet,” he hesitated for a moment, then touched my feet without really touching.
You can touch a thing without really touching it. You do it all the time – shaking hands with people yet having no feeling, no warmth, no receptivity, no joy to share. What are you shaking hands for? It is unnecessary exercise. And what have your hands done wrong? – why shake them?
And, do you know, there is a Christian sect called the “Shakers,” they shake their whole body. They are shaking hands with God. Of course, when you shake hands with God the whole body has to be shaken. And you know the Quakers, they go even a step further: they don’t only shake, they quake! These are the real origins of their names. The Quakers used to roll around, jump up and down, and do all kinds of things that you can see in any madhouse. I am not against what they do, I’m simply describing them. In the same way, Pannalal Ghosh touched my feet.
I said to Baba, “He has not touched them.”
Baba said, “I know. Pannalal, do it again.”
It was too much for the famous man, in his own house, and with so many people present. In fact, all the eminent people of Calcutta were there. The prime minister’s son was there, the chief minister was there, and so on and so forth. “Do it again?” But that shows the quality of the man. He again touched my feet, this time it was even more dead than before.
I laughed. Baba roared. I said, “He needs training.”
Baba said, “That is true. He will be born many times to get that training. In this life he has missed the train. I was giving him a last opportunity, but he has missed that too.”
And you will be surprised, after only seven days Pannalal Ghosh was no longer in this world. Perhaps Baba was right, the last opportunity had been given and Pannalal Ghosh had missed it. He was not a bad man, remember, note it. I don’t say he was a good man, I only say he was not a bad man. He was just ordinary. To be good or to be bad needs some extraordinariness.