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Chapter 5: Witnessing: The New Art of Seeing

Your question is relevant. And you will have to be very, very careful, watchful. It is a razor’s edge. One has to be very cautious because if you fall, you fall into a deep abyss. The ordinary people cannot fall; they have nowhere to fall to - they are already at the bottom. But as you start moving higher, the possibility of falling down grows every day. When you reach the Everest of your consciousness, just a little slip, just a little wrong step, and you will go rolling down into a deep abyss.

The greater the meditation, the more is the danger of losing it - naturally; only a rich man can be robbed, not a poor man. That’s why a beggar can sleep under a tree in the afternoon and the noise of the traffic and the marketplace, nothing disturbs him. He can sleep anywhere, he can sleep deeply. He has nothing to lose - no fear.

Once, at night, a king came across a very strange man, a very luminous man, standing alert underneath a tree - so silent, so quiet and so alert. The king was curious: “Why is he standing there?” From his appearance he looked like a monk, one who has renounced the world. The king was a very cultured man and he thought, “It is not right to disturb him.” But every night it happened.

That was the routine of the king: to go around the capital at night in disguise to see how things were going - whether the guards were on duty or not, mixing and meeting with people, going into the hotels and the theaters to find out how things were going - whether things were all right or not.

Every night he would come across this man. He saw this man so many times that it became impossible to resist the temptation. One day he approached him and asked, “Excuse me, sir, I should not interfere - you look so silent - but why do you go on standing the whole night? What are you guarding? Is there any treasure underneath this tree?”

The mystic laughed. He said, “Not underneath this tree, but within me there is a treasure and I am watching it. And the treasure is growing every day, it is becoming bigger and bigger, hence I have to be more and more alert.”

The mystic said to the king, “You can sleep, you have nothing to lose. I cannot, I have much to lose; and if I can remain awake I have much to gain.”

The king was very much impressed. He asked him to come to his palace, he invited him. The monk agreed. The king was a little puzzled: a monk agreeing so soon without even refusing once is not thought to be right. A monk should say, “No, I cannot come to the palace. I have renounced the world. It is all futile. It is all dream, illusion, maya. I cannot come back to the world. I am happy wherever I am.”

But this monk didn’t say anything. He was a Zen master. The king started thinking in his mind, “Have I been deceived by this man? Was he simply standing there every night just to catch hold of me?”

But now it was too late; he had invited him.

The mystic came to the palace, lived with the king. And, of course, he lived more joyously than the king because he had no worries, no cares about the empire, and problems and anxieties. And he enjoyed good food, and the king had given him the best room in the palace - and he lived just like an emperor.

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