Chapter 3: What Binds You Is the Lust for the Unlived Life
Those twenty-nine years were almost equal perhaps to two hundred or three hundred years. Even in three hundred years you may not be able to attain all the luxury that was showered on him. And that was the reason that he renounced the world - seeing that it is all superficial and routine; seeing one dead man.. In twenty-nine years he had not seen even a dead leaf. If he had seen from his very childhood that people die, he would have become accustomed to it. But for twenty-nine years he had never thought about death. The very idea was not a question to him.
But how long can you prevent.? One day he happened to see a dead man, and the whole palace of playing cards that his father had made, collapsed. He asked his charioteer, “What has happened to this man?”
He said, “Master, I am not supposed to tell you; but I cannot lie to you either. This man is dead.”
And immediately the question was asked which ordinarily you don’t ask. Immediately he asked, “Is this the destiny of every man? Am I also going to die one day?”
And just when the charioteer was saying, “There is no way to avoid death - even to you it will happen,” a sannyasin passed by. He had never seen an orange-robed sannyasin, and he asked, “What type of man is this? What has happened to him?”
And the charioteer said, “He has also become aware of death, old age, and he has renounced the world. He is going in search of that which never dies.”
They were going to participate in a youth festival. Gautam Buddha said to his charioteer, “Turn the chariot back. For me now there is no youth festival. I am old, I am dead. Just take me back home.” And that very night he escaped from the kingdom.
The charioteer - an old man, a very faithful servant of the king - tried to persuade him. Buddha said, “There is no way. If you cannot prevent old age, don’t try to persuade me. If you cannot prevent death, don’t try to persuade me. I am going in search of that which never dies.”
So it is a double fallacy. Buddha renounced and he found the truth; and he also must have thought that it was because of renunciation that he had found the truth. That was not the case. It was because of his luxurious life that the search began - because luxury had failed, money had deceived; palaces became empty, the kingdom became meaningless; conquering the whole world became pointless. If you are going to die, what is the point of bothering with killing millions of people when in the end your hands are empty? So he himself thought that renouncing the kingdom had been helpful in finding the truth. But he forgot one thing: that everybody does not have a kingdom.
And Buddha’s fallacy became a universal fallacy. Others who didn’t have kingdoms started moving into mountains, into forests, into isolation.
I know a man who was a retired postmaster. He was a little cuckoo, so he never managed to get married. His parents tried very hard, but because he was cuckoo he would do something to spoil the whole thing. He was trying to hide his craziness, and in that very hiding something would erupt and something would go wrong.