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Chapter 16: Truth Is Always Individual

He would say, “Listen. They have retired me forcibly - and you are a fool! You are already retired, without ever entering into any business. What is the gain? What are you going to get by sitting silently?”

I said, “I don’t want to get anything, I simply want to sit silently. It is so beautiful, it is so joyous.”

He said, “This is all poetry - in life, real money is needed.” And he was an experienced old man and he was right - in life, poetry will not help. He would say to me again and again, “Listen son, nobody is taking care of you - they are spoiling you. They are all busy in earning money, and they have left you alone for enlightenment. Never mention enlightenment to me,” he used to say to me. “Even that word makes me so angry. From where did you get this idea? Just do something useful! But you are turning good-for-nothing.”

I said, “That is exactly the definition, the definition of enlightenment.”

We used to go for walks in the morning, in the evening. By and by I said to him, “Listen. Anyway, you are retired and I am not going to enter into business, so drop arguing for the business. What have you gained? You have simply been thrown out. I will remain out from the very beginning; nobody can throw me out, nobody can retire me. And you are retired, now relax. Just try for a few moments sitting by my side with closed eyes.”

He said, “But unless I understand the meaning of it.I don’t want to become a laughingstock. Sitting with closed eyes - if somebody sees me they will think, ‘This old man has gone senile.’”

I said, “It is up to you, but one thing you should remember: that your whole life you rushed after meaning, usefulness, utility. Now you have come close to death. The day you die, silence can go with you, money cannot; peace can go with you, power cannot. And if you are full of inner light, your death can become the most ecstatic experience. You have lived the world, now try to prepare yourself for death - and in death, the coins of this world are useless.”

But he was adamant, and old habits die hard. And to listen to a small child and follow him was against his ego. But when he was dying, out of the whole family he remembered me. I was eighty miles away in the university; I rushed back home. He was just taking his last breaths, as if he were simply waiting for me. He had become a skeleton. He wanted to say something to me; I had to put my ear close to his mouth. I said, “You can say whatever you want to say, and this time I will not argue - because you don’t have any time. You simply say it.”

He said, “I only want to say to you that you were right and I was wrong, but now it is too late.” These were his last words.

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