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Chapter 24: A Few Leaves Are Enough

And I can also understand your problem. You say, “.and although I relate with people, they seem far away on my periphery.” They don’t seem, they are. The moment you are at your center, everything is on the periphery. You had not realized it before because you were also on the periphery, so people looked very close. You were in the crowd. But as you move inwards, nobody can go with you. You have to go alone.

The moment you are drowning within yourself you are going farther and farther away from your own periphery and everybody else is out of that periphery; they are not even on that periphery.

This is the beauty that existence has bestowed upon you as individuals: nobody can enter your individuality; nobody can interfere. You can be killed, you can be crucified, but your freedom, your soul, your consciousness remains untouched even by your death.

Alexander the Great was going back from India, and at the very frontiers of India he remembered that his teacher, Aristotle, the father of Western logic, had asked him, “When you come back from India bring just one thing as a gift for me - you will be bringing gifts for everybody.”

Alexander said, “Just say, and it will be brought to you.”

He said, “I want to see a sannyasin. I have heard so much from travelers about sannyasins. It seems they are a different species of humanity; it seems they are far above us. If you can bring a sannyasin I will be immensely happy.”

Alexander said, “This is a small thing. If you had asked me to bring the Himalayas I could have dragged it back to Greece. A sannyasin? - no problem.”

He remembered. He had collected so much garbage but at the last moment he remembered, “My God, I have forgotten a sannyasin!” But he was still on the frontiers of India, so he inquired of people, “Can I find a sannyasin nearby?”

They said, “It is a little difficult if you really want an authentic sannyasin; otherwise, this country is full of sannyasins.”

Alexander said, “I want an absolutely authentic sannyasin, because I cannot offer to my teacher a phony fellow. Wherever you tell us I will go.”

They said, “You don’t have to go too far. Just a few miles back you may have passed by the side of a river where an old sage lives. He lives naked, and as far as we know in this part of the country there is no one who has a higher consciousness, more blissfulness, than this old sage.”

Alexander sent two of his generals first, because he thought it was below his dignity to go and ask the sannyasin. Those two generals went, and the sannyasin was standing naked by the side of the river. They told him, “Alexander the Great wants you to be the royal guest. Everything you need, all the luxuries possible will be made available to you for your whole life, but you have to come with us to Greece.”

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