As a precocious child, Harish
Johari once told his father that he wanted to renounce
the world, become a saint and live in a cave for the rest
of his life. But Harish Johari underestimated his father's
"That's fantastic," his father said,
"but what is the world?". "It's everything
around me, all the things outside, like the caves in the mountain,"
replied Harish Johari. "That's good," continued
his father, "but do you think the world is outside you?".
First he gave Johari a bite of his favorite
sweet, then a gulmar leaf to chew, then another bite of the
confection. Johari's second bite registered as sand, and he
spit it out. He looked at his father in confusion. "Where
is the world, inside or outside of you?" his father queried.
you love the sweet, then you spit it out like sand. I gave
you a gulmar leaf which paralyzes the sweet taste buds. The
taste is not in the sweet but in your tongue. The sight is
not in the outside world but in your eyes. You never touch
anything but your own skin. You never hear anything but your
ears. The world is inside you. Even if you go into your mountain
cave, you carry your world with you. If you learn about the
cave inside yourself, you'll always be safe."
The cave is the corpus callosum, the hollow
space between the brain hemispheres, Harish Johari's father
explained, pointing to the top of his head. "He said
if I learned to go there, I would be in the world but not
of the world, because in that cave there are no signals, no
neuro-motor connections. So I've always been trying to learn
that - to go inside my own cave, yet be in the world with
everyone, as brotherly and friendly as anybody could be yet
also completely unattached and without problems."