I said, “Don’t be worried. If I can convince one man of your caliber” – he was the head of the department – “I will try to convince those people also. And to me it is not a question of bargaining, of compromising; it is not a business. I am not for sale. I can still maintain myself without all your education; in fact I will never use your education. But I cannot breathe a single breath if I feel that I have been against my own self, if for something small, I have betrayed my own being.”
Up to my graduation I could never get a first class, and everybody was puzzled, the principals were puzzled: “What is the matter? Why are you not getting a first class?”
I said, “It is not a question of my first class; I am not getting first-class teachers – they are all third-rate. They want to reward their puppets – and I am nobody’s puppet. They are all irritated with me, angry with me, and the examination is the only time when they can take revenge.”
It was only for my master’s degree that I could top the university, because my vice-chancellor was absolutely in agreement with me. The head of my department was absolutely in favor of me, and my other three teachers supported me in every way. They said, “It is a rare opportunity to find a person who wants to remain himself. We will help you.”
One of my professors, Professor S.S. Roy gave me ninety-nine percent marks out of one hundred. He called me in, showed me the results, and he said, “Please forgive me – I wanted to give you one hundred percent, but that would look like too much of a favor.
“I am sad that I am cutting off one mark just to say that I am not giving you any favor – you deserve it – but I wanted to ask your forgiveness because I am feeling guilty. You have done such a great job on the paper. Perhaps somebody else may not have given you even third-class marks, because to understand it needs great intelligence.”
There was a question whether the absolute god is perfect or not – naturally, God has to be perfect. Two of the persons in the history of philosophy – Shankara in India and Bradley in England – have worked on the idea very deeply, and both have come to the conclusion that the absolute, the ultimate, or whatever name you give to it, is perfect. And Professor S.S. Roy’s doctorate was on Shankara and Bradley, so he was deeply interested in the question.
In my paper I said, “The absolute cannot be perfect for the simple reason that if he is perfect then he must be dead: perfection means death. He cannot grow, he has nothing else to do. There is no point in being. Perfection simply means death – and I don’t want existence to be dead. And it is not dead, you can see all around: it is so living, so intensively alive, that I am ready to say that the ultimate, the absolute is imperfect because it is alive, it is growing. And it will remain always imperfect…moving towards perfection but never reaching it.”
Only this much was the answer – just a few lines. And S.S. Roy said, “You have destroyed my whole thesis! This is the first time I have thought in this way, because I was thinking in the terms of Shankara and Bradley, and they had impressed me so much that I never thought on my own.”
The moment you think on your own, you come very close to truth.