So from the university meditation institute you get a degree, a bachelor of meditation; then you get a bachelor of arts or commerce or science, not before it. And in the same way it continues. You get a master’s degree in meditation, MM., and again you will be required to continue with the deprogramming institute for two years, because you can’t be left so easily alone. People are, in some strange way, collectors of all kinds of things. A few people collect antiques, a few people collect stamps – postal stamps!
I was staying in a home in Madras, and the old man – he must have been sixty-five – my host, said, “Would you like to see my stamp collection?”
I said, “Your stamp collection?”
He said, “Yes, from my very childhood. But you will be surprised, I have such rare stamps.”
He had a room full of all kinds of stamps. I said, “That’s all you have been doing your whole life?”
He said, “You say, ‘That’s all?’ This is the best collection in the whole country!”
I said, “It may be the best collection, but you wasted your life collecting all this rubbish, these used stamps?”
He had devoted his whole life – and he had great certificates of appreciation from governors, from chief ministers, from prime ministers, from the president. They all had come to see: Anyone of any importance who came to Madras was bound to go to see his collection; it was the best in India.
I said, “The collection is okay, but leave the collection alone; I am worried about you.”
He said, “What is wrong with me? I am perfectly okay.”
I said, “You are not okay! If you were an eight-year-old child it would be okay, this collection. But you are sixty-five, and you are still collecting.”
He said, “I am still collecting. I am going to collect as much as I can.”
I said, “You go on collecting, but death will be coming soon: this collection will remain here and you will be gone without ever having lived because your whole time was wasted in collecting stamps.”
People are collectors. I think there is some psychological necessity. Because they feel meaningless, because they feel that they are not of any worth, they try to fill this gap by collecting something. By collecting knowledge, by collecting any kind of thing, they want somehow to feel that they are not empty and they have something valuable; they are worthy, they have not wasted their life.
So if you are going to continue on to do your master’s degree, then for two years you will continue with the institute of deprogramming – because there is no end to cleaning you. Every day the dust collects. It is not a question of your collecting it, it is just like a mirror: every morning you have to clean it and dust goes on collecting on it.