When you relate to us the stories of your student days, or your time as a professor, I often wonder what it must have been like to have been one of those studying with you or under you – I know I certainly would have had a crush on you. I imagine your fellow students were both wary and admiring of you. Your own students must have enjoyed you tremendously. I was intrigued when you mentioned recently that you started a small meditation group in the university. I should love to hear you talk about how you affected the lives of those around you. I often wonder if they have followed your various exploits through the media and other friends. Quite possibly this is simply one of those questions which fall under the category of mere curiosity, but I adore it when you talk about your earlier days. It makes me feel I loved you even before I knew you.
The students who studied with me had strange feelings about me. Different persons have different ideas about me. The majority was certainly against me for the simple reason that to them I appeared as a disturbance. They were not there for any search, they were there to attain a degree, to find a job, to have a family. I was not interested either in the examinations or in the degrees, my focus was always in the present, on the subject that was being taught. And I wanted to explore it exhaustively.
The majority was against that, because if each subject has to be studied in such an exhaustive way, then the syllabus cannot be completed in three years…it cannot even be completed in two hundred years…and they were worried about their examinations. My concern and their concern were totally different – diametrically opposite.
I was interested in the moment, in the subject; they were not interested in the subject, they were only interested in taking notes, preparing for the future examination. I have never taken any notes; neither have I allowed any student, when I became a professor, to take notes in my class, because taking notes means you have moved to the future, you are not here now, you are preparing for somewhere else, for something else.
Even professors continually encouraged students – and I think that is the practice all over the world – to take notes of important things they are teaching, without understanding the simple fact that while a student is concerned with taking notes, he is not being totally available to what is being taught.
I told my professors, “It is unimaginable for me that you people encourage rather than discourage an activity which is a direct insult to you. You are teaching; the taught should be totally alert, listening to it, absorbing it, drinking it. Not one of you bothers about it. You tell them to take notes; you are teaching them postponement for the future.”
The teachers were against me, the majority of the students were against me, but these were the mediocre people.
There were a few students who were immensely in love with me because what they could not question out of fear, what they could not present in an articulate way as an argument, I could. And they all enjoyed. I became, in a certain way, their spokesman. They were more interested in my arguments than in what the teacher was saying, because my arguments were taking the subject to its deeper roots.
A few teachers were also there who loved me. But very few enjoyed and openly accepted that my argument was weightier than their own argument. They said, “But please remember that my argument will help you to pass the examination. Your argument will not help.”