Thursday, October 12, 2006
Masanobu Fukuoka was in Calcutta in December 1987, on his way to Santiniketan where he was to be awarded the Deshikottam (an honorary doctorate) by the Vishwa Bharati University (founded by the poet-sage Rabindranath Tagore). A lecture was organised, which I attended. He is a man of few words. He spoke of the concept of mu, or emptiness.
After the lecture, I approached him for his autograph. He gave me his signature alright, but this was the Japanese symbol of mu, and a sketch of a person looking on in incomprehension and dismay while two others dig themselves into a pit.
This is one of my most treasured possessions! I keep it, together with a leaf I picked up from Walden Pond in Concorde, Massachusetts, inside the book Teacher by Sylvia Ashton Warner.