But all words are invented by somebody or other, so there is nothing wrong in inventing a word, particularly when it really indicates an experience which has remained unlabeled for centuries. Just for this single word, synchronicity, Jung should have received the Nobel Prize, although he is a mediocrity. But so many mediocre people have received the Nobel Prize; if one more receives it, what is wrong? And they also award the prize posthumously, so please, give this poor fellow Carl Gustav Jung a Nobel Prize. I’m not joking. I am really thankful for this word because this is what has always eluded the grasp of the human intellect.
I was talking to you about my strange friendship with Shambhu Babu. It was strange on many counts. First, he was older than my father, or perhaps the same age; but as far as I remember, he looked older, and I was only nine years old. Now what kind of friendship is possible? He was a successful legal expert, not only in that small place, but he practiced in the high court and in the supreme court. He was one of the topmost legal authorities. And he was a friend of a wild, unruly, undisciplined, illiterate child. When he said, on that first meeting, “Please be seated,” I was amazed.
I had not hoped that the vice president would stand to receive me and would say, “Please be seated.”
I said to him, “First, you be seated. I feel a little embarrassed to sit before you do. You are old, perhaps even older than my father.”
He said, “Don’t be worried. I am a friend of your father. But relax and tell me what you have come for.”
I said, “I will tell you later on why I have come here. First….” He looked at me, I looked at him; and what transpired in that small fragment of a moment became my first question. I asked him, “First tell me what happened just now, between your eyes and mine.”
He closed his eyes. I think perhaps ten minutes must have passed before he opened them again. He said, “Forgive me. I cannot figure it out, but something happened.”
We became friends; that was sometime in 1940. Only later on, years afterwards, just one year before he died – he died in 1960, after twenty years of friendship, strange friendship – only then was I able to tell him that the word he had been searching for had been invented by Carl Gustav Jung. That word is synchronicity; that is what is happening between us. He knew it; I knew it; but the word was missing.
Synchronicity can mean many things all together, it is multidimensional. It can mean a certain rhythmic feeling; it can mean what people have always called love; it can mean friendship; it can simply mean two hearts beating together without rhyme or reason…it is a mystery. Only once in a while one finds someone with whom things fit. Just the jigsaw disappears. All the pieces that were not fitting are suddenly fitting of their own accord.
When I told my grandmother, “I have become friends with the vice president of this town,” she said, “You mean Pandit Shambhuratan Dube?”
I said, “You look a little shocked by it. What’s the matter with you, Nani?”