Ignorance, Liberation and Perfection (Auroville) - Audio-2, 12 Feb 2002

The brother and the sister, you remember the names? Anak and Shweta. They were not only brother and sister, but they were also great friends. They were great friends, they used to be together, plan together, talk of their own hearts, intimate matters of life, so they were great friends. This was the time when Anak had just finished his examination and after the examination there is always a long interval, holiday.

So this was the time when our story begins, at the time of a vacation. So during the vacation there is a lot of leisure. You can talk at length. Shweta was a great musician, budding musician, I didn't say great musician, budding musician. She had beautiful voice. She used to play on harmonium she used to play on sitar she used to play on dilruba. No? You must see dilruba one day, just to play on dilruba. And she knew the melodies of Indian music very well. There are many melodies of Indian music. Have you heard of them? No. Many, many melodies, you ask Diipti one day, she will tell you the melodies of Indian music. So Shweta was a good budding musician.

But Anak although he liked music very much, his main interest was thinking. He was a budding thinker. Shweta was a budding musician and Anak was a budding thinker. What is the thinker? Let me write down the word thinker. It’s a very important word. Tell me? yeah, one with lots of ideas. Any other answer? Yes, thinking about many things. Yes, yes, budding philosopher good, you have got exactly the right point which I wanted to come to. He was a budding philosopher, but not yet a philosopher, as you will see in the story, he'll become a philosopher gradually, but we shall see later on how he becomes a philosopher. There is a long distance between becoming a thinker and becoming a philosopher. There is a long journey. But to become a philosopher, you should first be a thinker only when you're a thinker, you can gradually become a philosopher. So that was the path of course for him.

Now today, when both the sister and the brother were having a morning walk, Anak told his sister: I do not like that. Our big house is used only by you and me. We have how many things in the house, isn't it? Yet still to be counted. How many things were there? You remember 20 rooms and different rooms have different things in it. So he said to his sister, I do not like that our house is used only by two children. Today I want to tell our grandfather that we should open our house to all the children, all the people of the village. That was the idea in the mind of Anak and Shweta liked the idea very much. Yes, why not? There are so many children in the village. They should all have the benefit of all the facilities that these 20 rooms provide to us. With this idea they came back home and after bath, etc. when the grandfather also was alone, Anak told Shweta, shall we now go to the grandfather and make this proposal? It is not easy to make a proposal to a man of great age and who has a great authority in the house, so they were having little heartbeat and the heart beats a little more strongly. It is not very not very easy to approach a very grand old man, but anyway, Shweta was all the time with Anak and she gave support to her brother and then both of them went to the grandfather and said, grandfather, it is not right that we are the only two persons to use this beautiful house. It is a very good house, but why don't we allow all the children of the whole village to come into this room, into this house and use this house? They can go to the museum, they can go to the library, they can go through all the things that are here. They should be able to see the telescope. They should be able to see the images of planets and stars and galaxies. Why not? So they asked the grandfather and said: shall we not do it? They were very afraid to put this idea to the grandfather, but ultimately, Anak put this idea.

The grandfather was a very nice man, a very affectionate man, but he said these children do not know how to use things. They will spoil everything if they come into the house. It is not proper. Everything will be ruined, children will climb up somewhere, they'll tear off the paintings. They’ll misuse the books. There are so many globes, so many maps, they've all been ruined. They do not know how to use them, so the grandfather simply rejected the idea and said no. This would not be allowed, so they came back, what to do.

So the next day again, they went to the grandfather and said we have decided that we shall invite all the children and explain to them how to use all these things. It’s a good idea. Isn’t it? how to use, we shall teach them how to use them, but the grandfather said it is not easy to teach anybody so easily. It takes time to learn, and you don't have much time, you have just given your examination, that is to say just given the examination, and I am now planning that as soon as your results will come out, you will go to a big city for your higher education and you won't be here and when you are not here, the whole place will be ruined by these children if I allow them to come in.

This was a very important argument. So, for a few days, both the sister and the brother went on reflecting as to what to do. So ultimately, one day, they went to the grandfather again and said that even if Anak goes away, Shweta will be here and Shweta will teach others. But grandfather was not convinced, so the whole idea remained undecided.

In the meantime, the days were passing, the month of April passed, month of May passed and then came the month of June. Now the results were to come out on the 5th of June, and the sister was very, very anxious and eager that the results would come out and then there will be a big celebration, because she was sure that her brother, being very bright and brilliant. he'll come out with flying colours in the examination, this was the fifth of June. When the examination results were to be out, right from early morning, Shweta was glued to her radio because the results were to be announced on the radio on the 5th of June. Today she did not go out for a walk because she did not want to miss the precious moment when the results would be announced exactly at eight o'clock.

In the morning the news bulletin came out and towards the end of the news bulletin, there was this announcement. Anak stands first in the whole university. It is a tremendous news for the sister and she ran out of her room and went to her brother, hugged him and announced the result and she rushed to her grandfather and gave the news that Anak had stood first in the examination. It was a tremendous victory for a boy of village coming first in the whole university, where thousands of students had taken the examination, thousands and a boy from a village had come first, the grandfather was pleased beyond measure. It was a great happiness for him and a big celebration for today, even the prince of the town, not of the village but of the town, the big town nearby. There was a big prince living there and he invited the whole village to celebrate in the success of this young boy. He became the hero.

Now the grandfather after two days of celebration called his grandson Anak and said I’m very happy, now you have to go to the college in a big town and you decide which town you want to go to. There are four big towns in India. What are the four big towns of India? Calcutta, Madras, Delhi, Bombay. So he asked his grandson, which town do you want to go to? Because you are the first, you can get admission anywhere in the whole country. Now for the last few days, Anak was thinking and thinking and thinking, he had become very serious. Suddenly, first of all, he did not answer the grandfather. So grandfather allowed him some more time to think about. After two days again he asked him the question: where do you want to go? I’ll send you anywhere.

So ultimately Anak said: I do not want to go to any college, I do not want to go to any college. It was a bombshell for the grandfather. It was not a question of going to Bombay or Calcutta or Madras or Delhi. His simple answer was: I do not want to go to college. Then the grandfather became so unhappy. So what has happened to you, such a brilliant boy, not wanting to go to college for studies? What's the matter? Why? Can you think out as to why he said no?

Yes, because the grandfather had not accepted his proposal that children should come to the house. That was the reason. Yes, just you want to remain in the village, good, yes, maybe his friends, because he was going to lose his friends, good anything else, because he was going to miss his sister very much yes, yes, also, or probably any other reason. Yes, he wanted to come to Auroville. He wouldn't want to go to any other place. Good. Only at that time, Auroville did not exist, but he wanted to create Auroville. Yes, that's right. His reason was very, very serious.

Now this was the reason ultimately he told his grandather. Maybe all these reasons that you have given were there, but his main reason was this: he said, schools and colleges are prison houses. This was his answer and I do not want to go to a prison for so many years. I have gone to the prison, and now I have decided that I shall no more go to the prison. You must remember that the schools and colleges are not like the schools and colleges here in Auroville. Your school and college is not a prison, but if you go to the schools and colleges in the world around or at least in Delhi, Bombay. Madras and Calcutta or any other town, the schools are prison houses.

He had got this idea from a book. He had read a book which was in his library. It was a book,the title of the book was My Boyhood Days. It was written by a very great man of India. The name of the author was Rabindranath Tagore. Have you heard his name? He is one of the great poets of India. You have not seen his picture. Now one day you ask Dipti to show you his picture. He has written in this book My Boyhood Days that the worst experience of his life was to go to the school and he used to feel to go to school was to go to a prison house. Why? Because in the prison you are supposed to be behind the walls, wall on this side, wall on this side, wall on that side, a classroom in which the door is a small door which closes as soon as the class begins. There may be a small window and from the window you may see a bird flying in the sky.

Now you see the contrast, you are seated in the classroom. You can't even go out of your classroom and outside there is a beautiful bird which goes on flying in the open sky, freely, complete freedom. It can fly any side it likes. So Tagore says I used to see the bird flying in the sky and I used to compare myself with the bird and I used to say that the bird is better than myself, because I am imprisoned in the classroom and I can't move out like the bird. Tagore was even in his boyhood, he had a great power of imagination.

You know the meaning of imagination, thinking? No, there is a difference between thinking and imagining. Let us see this word is very important. Wondering? good, good answer. Imagination is connected with wonder, good, imagine and seeing images, good, very good, very nice. I like this answer very much. Both answers are good answers, yes, creating something that does not always exist, good, creating something which does not exist. Yes, inventing, yes, good. Thinking about things which are not possible, excellent, I feel that all of you are very rich in your mind, excellent, anybody else? What is imagination, let us write down the word.

Imagination has three aspects. Whenever there is imagination, you should think of three things. First, as you said, rightly, there should be a sense of wonder. You see a star, If you don't have sense of wonder when you see the star, imagination cannot be fired, you cannot have imagination. You should wonder what is this star, that beautiful small poem twinkle twinkle little star.. No? I wonder what you are. No? How I wonder what you are. So there should be sense of wonder, but mere wonder is not imagination. It is only one element, then you should feel a deep experience of the star. Then you begin to imagine: o star must be like me, it is imagination, an image of me and the image of the star are brought together. I have always company of my friends and the star also has company of many stars. So the star is like me, just as I like to look at the star, maybe the star also. What does it mean? It may be that the star is star to me, but I am also a star for the star. Therefore, if I begin to compare myself with a star, it's a result of imagination. So now you see there are three elements. One is sense of wonder, deep experience, second one, and then out of the deep experience you begin to compare one thing with the other and out of the comparison, many images come out. Imagination is an action in which images are born. So many images come out.

So Tagore right from his boyhood was a poet and therefore had a great capacity of imagination and those who have imagination, they always like freedom. They want to be free. They do not like that at the time when the bell rings you have to rush into the classroom, sit down in the classroom. The teacher comes on the platform and starts lecturing, and if you see a bird outside, you should not even look at the world. The teacher says now attend to what I’m saying: don't look at the bird outside. The child feels that he is in a prison.

He saw the experience of Tagore when he was a boy, so he had said: schools are prison houses and this boy on earth, he was not a poet, he had no imagination, but he was a thinker and he used to feel that when teacher was talking in the class, his mind was flying in thought, not in imagination, but in thought, many thoughts used to come to his mind and the teacher said, now listen what did I ask you? and he couldn't answer the question because his mind was occupied with thoughts, so he always used to feel that he was in a prison house, and now he had come to the conclusion that now that he has passed examination and a big examination, he is now not going any more to any school or college, no more prison houses. So he told his grandfather, colleges and schools are prison houses and I do not want to be a prisoner. I do not want to be imprisoned in a college. Now the grandfather was extremely disturbed: how to explain to the boy? Yes, if he didn't listen and he was always speculating.

Q: If he did not study, how did he get first with the examination?

You are thinking about this boy quite deeply. He got to the examination so well because he was a thinker because he used to think on his own and he had access to his library, his room of astronomy and his room of books of the greatest authors of the world. He had free access to all of them. He had a beautiful house where he could go and whenever he liked. There was no prison in the house. It was like a beautiful sky actually because he was not studying in the school. He was studying basically in his own house, because of that reason he had come first.

So he did not want to go to a college, anymore to be in a prison house. The grandfather was extremely unhappy. Now, what to do you tell me what should be the argument of the grandfather to send him to college? Why should we go to college? Yes, to be a better thinker, good. How to persuade? To become a philosopher, Yes. To be smartest in the world, anything else? anyway, the grandfather thought of all these answers. He said to his grandson: look, you are a good thinker already. If you go to the college, you become a better thinker, you'll become a good philosopher, you become very smart in the world, you'll be successful in the world and without going to the college you will not get any job in the world, so you must go to the college.

But the boy was like one of you, very strong in his mind. He had come to a conclusion and he would not budge from it. He would not move from it. He told his grandfather. I can become a thinker even while remaining here. There are so many books here, I can read on my own. I’ve got everything here. Why should I go to the college and be put in the prison. For two days the debate went on between the grandfather and the grandson. Of course the grandson was very, very reverential. He used to worship his grandfather. He was himself unhappy to say no to his grandfather, but he was quite firm, I don't want to go to the college.

Now it so happened that after two days had passed, on the third day, a guest arrived in his home, a young man of about 28-29 years of age, very smart man, very bright man. He came as a guest and Shweta was in charge of the guest. She was supposed to give everything for the guest, to see that his room was beautiful, that he got all the facilities. Now the name of this guest was Videsh Modi.

Now it so happens always that when a guest comes into the house, the children begin to observe the guest. They begin to see what he is like. How does he sit, how does he sleep? How does he walk? How does he read? How does he eat? Now all these things if they begin to watch and between the brother and sister they are whispering into the each other's ears. Their observation to how this young man was, the young man was a very nice man. He looked very intelligent, very shant. He was able to talk to the grandfather for hours together. They were never able to talk to the grandfather like that. They could only speak a few words, but this man he had been able to speak to the grandfather for one hour, two hours at a stretch. They were amazed at the capacity of the speech, how eloquent he was, how beautiful he was.

So one day, Anak went to the room of his guest and in a very timid way he entered the room and said I want to ask you a question. And Videsh, he smiled and smiled with all the heart welcoming him. He felt so happy, Anak felt very happy to get the smile of this visitor. Now he had found out that Videsh Modi had come from Bombay, a big city. He had come from Bombay, so he asked him: are there prison houses in Bombay? That was his question. So Videsh said yes, there are many prison houses, including schools and colleges, and this answer was so good for him. He felt that Videsh was actually answering his real question. How could he understand that his question was about schools and colleges, and he said yes, there are many prison houses in Bombay, including schools and colleges.

So he said my grandfather wants to send me to the college in Bombay. Is it not a prison house? He said, yes, it is a prison house. So he said my grandfather said that if I don't go to the college, I will not become a thinker.I will not become a philosopher and I want to become a thinker, I want to become a philosopher. So Videsh told him, do not worry. If you come with me to Bombay, I will see that you don't go to the prison. Now you stay in my house, I have a big house in Bombay. I don't have so many things that you have in this house, but my house in Bombay is a very big house. My house is situated on the seashore. Now in this village there was no sea, so you have not seen the sea but if you come to my house, my house is exactly on the seashore. It’s a big house and my house is a very famous house because I am the editor of one of the most famous magazines of India.

Videsh himself was an editor of a very big magazine. What was the title of that magazine? The title was Creativity. That was the title. He said my magazine is called Creativity and I am the editor of Creativity and in my house there is also a big office of this magazine and in my office there are so many people working—thinkers, philosophers, poets, writers, commentators, critics, all kinds of people, people who can print nicely, who can draw pictures nicely, arts of various kinds. And I have lots of correspondence. It’s a huge establishment in Bombay. If you come with me to Bombay you'll be my guest, you be my young friend. I’ll take you with me, stay with me, don't go to the college. You will learn everything from my office. No need to go to the college. No prison house for you.

Anak was greatly excited, so he went to his grandfather and said. I have decided to go to Bombay and the grandfather was very pleased to hear his answer and then he said then let us now try to find out which college he will go to. So he said I will not go to any college, but I will go to the house of Videsh Modi our friend. He wants to keep me with him in his house and I’ll go there and study. So the grandfather was again disappointed. He said, how can you study? You've got to go to the college and I’ll give you the best college of Bombay, any college. There is Elphinstone college. There is Wilson college. There is Saint Javiers college. There are so many good colleges in Bombay. Ask any college and I will get you admission to any college. While they were talking, Videsh Modi also came into the room and he said to the grandfather. Leave it to me. Don’t worry about your grandson. Your boy has a great potential.

What is the meaning of potentiality? No, it's a new word for you. Potentiality is a power which has not yet expressed itself. Potentiality is a power or capacity which has not yet expressed itself. That’s the meaning of a potentiality. If I say that Orana is a potential dancer, she may have just started dancing, but as yet she has not become a full fledged dancer. So we can say she's a potential dancer. She’s got potentiality of becoming a dancer. Anak was a potential philosopher but he had not yet become philosopher, but he had the power which when expressed would become a philosopher.

So he said to the grandfather: Anak has great potentiality and I will see to it that he will become what he is inside. He has great capacities in him and I will see that he becomes a good philosopher, good man, good leader. So the grandfather said all right. I give my permission, which is a tremendous relief to everybody, to the whole house, a big step was taken. A decision was taken that Anak now was to go to Bombay and he was to stay with Videsh Modi.

I think tomorrow we shall see what happens to him in Bombay. All right.