VBT – Meditation 7.3
Meditation is never urgent because death is never urgent.
A great mystic, Eknath. A man used to go to Eknath for years. One day he went early in the morning when nobody was there and he asked Eknath, “Please forgive me. I have come early so that there is nobody else, because I am going to ask a question which I have always wanted to ask but I felt so embarrassed that I suppressed it.”
Eknath said, “There was no reason to be embarrassed. You could have asked any question, any time. Sit down here.”
So in the temple they sat down. And the man said, “It is difficult for me; how to present it? My question is that for years I have been coming to you and I have never seen you sad, frustrated. I have never seen you in anxiety, in any kind of worry. You are always happy, always fulfilled, contented. I cannot believe this. My doubting mind says, ‘This man is pretending.’ I have been fighting with my mind, telling it that for years you cannot pretend: ‘If he’s pretending, you try.’ And I have tried – for five minutes, seven minutes at the most, and I forget all about it. Worries come, anger comes, sadness comes, and if nobody comes then the wife comes! – and all pretensions are gone. How do you manage day after day, month after month, year after year? I have always seen the same joy, the same grace. Please forgive me, but the doubt persists that somehow you are pretending. Perhaps you don’t have a wife; that seems to be the only difference between me and you.”
Eknath said, “Just show me your hand.”
He took his hand in his own hands, washed it, looked… very seriously.
The man said, “Is something wrong? What happened?” He forgot all about his doubt and his pretension and Eknath.
Eknath said, “Before I start answering your question, just by the way, I see that your lifeline is finished… just seven days more. So I wanted to tell it to you first because I may forget. Once I start explaining and answering your question, I may forget.”
The man said, “I am no longer interested in the question, and I am no longer interested in the answer. Just help me to stand up.” He was a young man.
Eknath said, “You cannot stand up?”
He said, “I feel all energy gone. Just seven days, and I had so many plans… everything shattered. Help me! My house is not far away, just take me to my house.”
Eknath said, “You can go. You can walk – you have come walking perfectly well just a few seconds ago.”
But the man somehow tried to stand up; he looked as if all his energy had been sucked out. And when he was going down the steps you could see that suddenly he had become old, he was taking the support of the railing. As he was walking on the road you could see – he could fall at any moment, he was walking like a drunkard. Somehow he reached home.
Everybody was getting up; it was early morning. And he went to sleep; they all asked, “What is the matter? Are you sick, not feeling well?”
He said, “Now even sickness does not matter. Feeling well or not well is irrelevant. My lifeline is finished – only seven days. Today is Sunday; the next Sunday, as the sun is setting I will be gone. I am already gone!”
The whole house was sad. Relatives started gathering, friends – because Eknath had never spoken a lie, he was a man of truth. If he has said it, death is certain.
On the seventh day just before the sun was setting – and the wife was crying, and the children were crying, and the brothers were crying, and the old father and the old mother had become unconscious.
Eknath reached the house, and they all said, “You have come right in time. Just bless him; he is going for an unknown journey.”
And in seven days that man had changed so much; even Eknath had to make an effort to recognize him. He was simply a skeleton.
Eknath shook him; he somehow tried to open his eyes. Eknath said, “I have come to say to you that you are not going to die. Your lifeline is still long enough. I said that you are going to die in seven days as an answer to your question. That was my answer.”
And the man jumped up. He said, “That was your answer? My God! You had already killed me. I was just looking outside the window for the sun to set and I would have died.”
And there was rejoicing…. But the man asked, “What kind of answer is this? This kind of answer can kill people. You seem to be murderous! We believe in you, and you take advantage of our faith.”
Eknath said, “Except that answer, nothing would have helped. I have come to ask you: in seven days have you been fighting with anybody, have you been angry with anybody? Have you been going to the court? – which is your practice; every day you are found in the court.”
Eknath said, “Now you get up, it is time. Take a good bath, eat well. Tomorrow you have a case in the court. Continue the business. And I have answered your question. Because since I have become aware that everybody has to die…. And death can come tomorrow – you had seven days. I don’t have even seven days; tomorrow I may not see the sunrise again. I don’t have time for stupid things, for stupid ambitions, for greed, for anger, for hate; I simply don’t have time – because tomorrow I may not be here. In this small span of life, if I can rejoice in the beauties of existence, the beauties of human beings; if I can share my love, if I can share my songs, perhaps death will not be hard on me.”
The ancients that those who know how to live automatically come to know how to die. Their death is a thing of beauty, because they only die outwardly; inwardly the life journey continues.