You are hiding yourself because everything in you has been condemned. I have been looking…is there anything in man which has not been condemned by one or other of the religions? I have not found a single thing. Everything is condemned.
As long as my grandmother was alive, poor tomatoes were not allowed in the house, because Jainas believe in eating only vegetables; they are vegetarians. The tomato is also a vegetarian, but it looks like a meat eater. The color looks to be of the non-vegetarian food.
I had not eaten in the night up to the age of eighteen, because for Jainas it is a sin to eat in the night, it is a crime. When for the first time I went to a picnic with my school friends to a nearby beautiful old castle…. They were all Hindus, so for them food was not a problem. And they were so much interested in exploring the whole castle, and it had so many beautiful points to explore…. I was feeling hungry and tired, but I could not say anything. Finally, in the night they all prepared food.
Now a great question was before me – to commit the sin or not. The whole traditional education of my family was not to commit a sin; just one night’s hunger is not going to kill you. It takes thirty days even for the sickliest person to die if he remains hungry. For the healthy person it takes ninety days, just by starvation. So just one night and you are losing your paradise and all the beauties of paradise and falling into hellfire. It was not a simple question of eating or not eating, it was a great metaphysical question. My whole existence was in turmoil.
I told the boys, “I am feeling hungry, but it is against my understanding, I cannot eat. I will have to suffer the whole night.”
They said, “Are you mad? We will not tell anybody. Your family will never know, nobody will ever know.”
I said, “That is not the question. Their knowing is not the question. I will know, and I will feel always guilty that I have committed a sin. Then I cannot expose myself, I cannot be read as a book – open, no secret.”
But the hunger was there. The whole day being on the mountain was tiring, and the food they had prepared was so inviting. And they were all persuading me, “The whole night you will not be able to sleep.”
I said, “That I know. Either way I am not going to sleep the whole night.”
They said, “Why either way? Eat well and sleep! We eat every night and we sleep.” And they were right; that was their experience.
Finally I got persuaded by my hunger, by their arguments. And I had not eaten much. To be safe I took just a small amount of food. I was not committing a very great sin – even God will forgive a boy of eighteen years committing a small sin. But that small sin could not allow me to sleep the whole night. I had to vomit continuously. By the morning, when I had thrown everything out, I could go to sleep just for two or three hours.