Gurudev, The Art of Living is so popular now, yet we face a lot of difficulty at times in convincing our parents. In your time, how did you win your parents’ approval?
Yes. I had to work hard for it.
Do you know why have I kept a beard? No?
In Delhi, when I started teaching, many of these professors would come, because they heard of my name and that I was teaching meditation. But when they came to the venue, they would ask, ‘Where is Gurudev?’
I would say, ‘I am Gurudev.'
I looked like a small 19 years old boy and so they would not take me seriously. When I would talk they would look here and there and they would think, ‘Oh, this is a small boy talking something.'
They would not take me seriously and would not be attentive towards me at all.
Some people would say, ‘Oh, you are Gurudev’, and they would just run away and escape from there.
So then I started growing the beard to look a little older and mature.
When I came to Bengaluru, my mother was not happy seeing me having a beard. She would tell Bhanu, ‘You tell him to shave the beard’, and Bhanu would reply saying, ‘No! I will not tell, you tell him.'
So they both would have this conversation and I would hear it from the next room (Laughter).
She would say, ‘Do not tell him anything, he has come back home after a long time. Do not make him upset. Let him do what he wants to do.'
So, they both did not like me having a beard at that time. But I had to keep it otherwise people would not consider me old enough to be a teacher. They would say, ‘Oh he is a young boy.' I was anyway like a child since the beginning (Laughter). So I had to keep a beard. And once I kept it, I kept it forever.
This is the story.