Chapter 3: And Travel On
And the majority of human beings are also subhuman. A man is really a mature man when he has come to this conclusion: “If death is happening to everybody else, then I cannot be an exception.” Once this conclusion sinks deep into your heart, your life can never be the same again. You cannot remain attached to life in the old way. If it is going to be taken away, what is the point of being so possessive? If it is going to disappear one day, why cling and suffer? If it is not going to remain forever, then why be in such misery, anguish, worry? If it is going to go, it is going to go - it does not matter when it goes. The time is not that important - today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow. But life is going to slip out of your hands.
The day you become aware that you are going to die, that your death is an absolute certainty.in fact the only certainty in life is death. Nothing else is so absolutely certain. But somehow we go on avoiding this question, this question of death. We go on keeping ourselves occupied in other matters. Sometimes we talk about great things - God, heaven and hell - just to avoid the real question. The real question is not God, cannot be, because what acquaintance have you got with God? What do you know about God? How can you inquire about something which is absolutely unknown to you? It will be an empty inquiry. It will be at the most curiosity, it will be juvenile, childish, stupid.
Stupid people ask about God, the intelligent person asks about death. The people who go on asking about God never find God, and the person who asks about death is bound to find God - because it is death that transforms you, your vision. Your consciousness is sharpened because you have raised a real question, an authentic question, the most important question of life. You have created such a great challenge that you can’t remain asleep for long; you will have to be awake, you will have to be alert enough to encounter the reality of death.
That’s how Buddha’s inquiry began:
The day Buddha was born.he was the son of a great king, and the only son, and he was born when the king was getting old, very old; hence there was great rejoicing in the kingdom. The people had waited long. The king was very much loved by the people; he had served them, he had been kind and compassionate, he had been very loving and very sharing. He had made his kingdom one of the richest, loveliest kingdoms of those days.
People were praying that their king should have a son because there was nobody to inherit. And then Buddha was born in the king’s very old age - unexpected was his birth. Great celebration, great rejoicing! All the astrologers of the kingdom gathered to predict about Buddha. His name was Siddhartha - he was given this name, Siddhartha, because it means fulfillment. The king was fulfilled, his desire was fulfilled, his deepest longing was fulfilled - he wanted a son, he had wanted a son his whole life; hence the name Siddhartha. It simply means fulfillment of the deepest desire.
This son made the king’s life meaningful, significant. The astrologers, great astrologers, predicted - they were all agreeing except one young astrologer. His name was Kodanna. The king asked, “What is going to happen in the life of my son?” And all the astrologers raised two fingers, except Kodanna who raised only one finger.
The king asked, “Please don’t talk in symbols - I am a simple man, I don’t know anything about astrology. Tell me, what do you mean by two fingers?”