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Chapter 4: In the End There Is No Word

The second story I was going to tell you is about a very rich American, a billionaire. He becomes fed up with money, fed up with all kinds of luxuries, fed up with all pleasures. And naturally he starts searching - is there something more, or is this all? Because if this is all then there is no point anymore for him to live; he has had enough of it. It is a question of life and death.

And he moves, and goes from one master to another: some Tibetan lamas, some Sufi mystic, some Zen master. And then he comes to India and meets many saints. They all say, “There is one very wise old man in the Himalayas; only he can help you.”

So he travels to the Himalayas, then by foot carries his luggage. He has never carried luggage in his life. He has never walked uphill in the mountains. It is too cold, but somehow he manages. Tired, he falls at the feet of the old man, who looks very ancient, and he says, “I have found you after all! I want to know what is the meaning of life?”

The old man said, “First things first. Have you got a Havana cigar?”

The man said, “What kind of question.Havana cigar? Yes, I have got one. In fact, I am a chain smoker, and I have been keeping one in case you make me enlightened. Before enlightenment, the last Havana cigar. I would like just a few minutes more to enjoy it, and then make me enlightened and do whatsoever you want. After enlightenment, I was thinking Havana cigars would not be allowed, because I have not seen Buddha smoking, or.”

He said, “Forget all about those old fellows. Bring the Havana cigar.” And the old man started smoking.

The tired American watched, and said, “But what about my question?”

He said, “The time is not right. You go back. Come again after a few years.”

The man said, “This is strange. Any message?”

He said, “When you come, bring as many Havana cigars as you can because once you are enlightened we will both be smoking. On this hill there is nothing else to do. Just go fast and come back - but bring them. I am sending you especially for Havana cigars. Enlightenment is a very simple thing, but to get Havana cigars in the Himalayas is very difficult.”

Don’t be worried - I am not a smoker! You need not bring any Havana cigars, just come. Don’t wait for twenty-eight years. Whenever you feel the flower has opened its petals in you, come back.

I would just like to see you luminous, radiant, ecstatic. And I say it is possible because you have a heart, Gunateet, that is ripe to grow any moment. No hard woman can prevent it; she can only help it.

So just go back, and whenever the spring comes and the flower is there, come back so I can see that the flower has lived to its potentiality and you have become fragrant.

And meanwhile, you can smoke as many Havana cigars as you want.