My English teacher and my music teacher1

I was fortunate enough to study at the Ashram’s international library. But for two years, my studying was interrupted. How? At night my English teacher, who was also my eldest brother’s English teacher, made me sit on his chair. He would be on the floor. He had many things to say against my first music teacher, who taught me twenty songs or more with the harmonium. Once upon a time they were great friends, but then they became enemies. I had to comply with his request, or command: I exchanged their wonderful views. For two years it went on! For an hour and a half or two hours a day I had to sit with the English teacher. He would not teach me. He said, “When the time comes, you will learn. Now you do not have to worry.” He was very devoted to me, and he would massage my feet while I listened to what he had to say against his enemy.

When friends become enemies, this is what happens. Both of them were very well educated. I was at that time eighteen or nineteen years old, and they were on the wrong side of fifty.

My music teacher would not give me his harmonium to play if he felt that I had not conveyed his message to his enemy properly. For a week he would not allow me to use his harmonium. He would say, “No, you did not convey my message properly!”

When I became famous in America, this music teacher said, “I taught you how to play harmonium. I taught you songs. You have to give me absolutely the best harmonium from Calcutta!” I gave him the money to buy absolutely the best harmonium.

The English teacher was very kind and devoted to me. My brother went to see him when he was quite old. He asked, “How is Madal doing?”

“Oh, he is fine. Would you like to have some grapes?”

“All right, let me try.” One grape Chitta put into his mouth, and then the English teacher said, “Madal.” Then Chitta gave him a second grape and a third grape. Each time my brother Chitta put a grape into his mouth, he would utter my name. After he got the fifth grape, he passed away.

This is life.

  1. DBM 17. 10 December 2006, Antalya, Turkey