One day I was playing—I must have been five or six years old. A man used to come to see my father, an utterly boring man. And my father was growing tired of him. So he called me and told me, “I see that man is coming; he will waste my time unnecessarily and it is very difficult to get rid of him. I always have to go out, and say to him, `Now I have some appointment’—unnecessarily I have to go out, just to get rid of him. And sometimes it happens that he says, `I am coming with you. So on the way we can have a good talk.’ And there is no talk, it is a monologue. He talks, and tortures people.”
So my father said, “I am going inside. You just remain playing outside. And when he comes, you simply say to him that your father is out.”
And my father used to teach me continuously, “Never speak an untruth.” So I was shocked. This was contradictory.
So when the man came and asked me, “Where is your father?” I said, “He is in, but he says that he is out.”
My father heard this from inside, and the man entered with me, so he could not say anything in front of him. When the man had gone, after two or three hours my father was really angry with me, not with the man.
He said, “I told you to tell him, `My father is out.'”
I said, “Exactly, I repeated the same thing. I told him the same thing: `My father says to tell you that he is out. But he is in, the truth is he is in.’ You have been teaching me to be true whatever the consequence. So I am ready for the consequence. Any punishment, if you want to give me, give. But remember, if truth is punished, truth is destroyed. Truth has to be rewarded. Give me some reward, so I can go on speaking the truth whatever happens.”
He looked at me and he said, “You are clever.”
I said, “That you know already. Just give me some reward. I have spoken the truth.”
And he had to give me some reward; he gave me a one rupee note. At that time one rupee was almost equal to twenty-five rupees today. You could live with a one rupee note for almost half a month. And he said, “Go and enjoy whatever you want to purchase.”
I said, “You have to remember it. If you tell me to speak a lie, I am going to tell the person that you have told me to. I am not telling a lie. And each time you contradict yourself, you will have to reward me. So stop lying. If you don’t want that man, you should tell him directly that you don’t have any time and don’t like his boring talk because he says the same things again and again. Why are you afraid? Why do you have to tell a lie?”
He said, “The difficulty is, he is my best customer.”
My father had a very beautiful cloth shop, and this man was rich. He used to purchase a huge lot for his family, relatives, friends. He was a very generous man—just being boring was his problem.
So my father said, “I have to suffer all the boredom because he is my best customer and I cannot lose him.”
I said, “That is your problem, that is not my problem. So you are lying because he is your best customer, and I am going to say this to him.”
He said, “Wait!”
I said, “I cannot wait because he must be told immediately that you go on suffering all his boring talk just because he is a good customer—and you will have to give me some reward.”
He said, “You are so difficult. You are destroying my best customer. And I will have to give you a reward too. But just don’t do that.”
But I did it. And I got two rewards, one from that boring man because I told him, “Truth should always be rewarded, so give me some reward because I am destroying one of the best customers of my father.”
He hugged me and he gave me two rupees. And I said, “Remember, don’t stop buying from my father’s shop, but don’t bore him either. If you want to talk, you can talk to the walls, to the trees. The whole world is available. You can just close your room and talk to yourself. And then you will be bored.”
And I told my father, “Don’t be worried. Look, one rupee I have got from you, two rupees I have got from your customer. Now one more rupee I am owed; you have to give it me, because I have told the truth. But don’t be worried. I have made him a better customer and he will never bore you again. He has promised me.”
My father said, “You have done a miracle!” Since that day that man never came, or even if he did come he would stay just for one or two minutes to say hello and he would go away. And he continued to purchase from my father’s shop.
And he said to my father, “It is because of your son that I continue. Otherwise I would have felt wounded, but that little boy managed both things. He stopped me boring you and he asked me, requested me, `Don’t stop shopping from my father’s shop. He depends on you.’ And he got two rupees from me and he was saying such a shocking thing to me. Nobody has ever dared tell me that I am a boring man.”
He was the richest man in the village. Everybody was in some way connected with him. People borrowed money from him, people have borrowed lands from him to work on. He was the richest man and the biggest landowner in that village. Everybody was somehow or other obliged to him, so nobody was able to say to him that he was boring.
So he said, “It was a very great shock, but it was true. I know I am boring. I bore myself with my thoughts. That’s why I go to others to bore them, just to get rid of my thoughts. If I am bored with my thoughts, I know perfectly well the other person will be bored, but everybody is under an obligation to me. Only this boy has no obligation and is not afraid of the consequences. And he is daring. He asked for the reward. He said to me, `If you don’t reward truth, you are rewarding lies.'”
This is why this society is in such a mad space. Everybody is teaching you to be truthful, and nobody is rewarding you for being truthful, so they create a schizophrenia.
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