Chapter 23: Miracles Are Mostly Fiction
A young son died, and that son was the only hope for his mother. The father had died, his other brothers and sisters had died and the mother was living only for this boy. And this boy too, died. The mother went almost mad. She was crying and weeping and asking everybody, “Tell me the address or the name of a physician who can heal my boy back, because I cannot live, I have no reason to live anymore. I have been carrying so many wounds: my other children died, my husband died. But I kept myself in control, just for this small, beautiful boy, and now he has also gone.”
Somebody said, “Don’t be worried, Gautam Buddha has come just today in the town. He is staying outside the town in the mango grove. You take the boy to Gautam Buddha.”
The woman, with great hope and great longing went to Gautam Buddha, taking the corpse of the dead boy. She put the dead body at Gautam Buddha’s feet and said, “If you are really spiritual, if you are awakened, then give my child his life back.”
Gautam Buddha said, “That is not difficult. Just one small condition you have to fulfill.”
The woman said, “I will fulfill any condition.”
He said, “It is not a big condition. I know your whole village grows crops of mustard seed. You go and bring from some home just a handful of mustard seeds.”
The woman started running; she said, “I will be coming back within a few minutes.”
Buddha said, “You have not heard the whole condition. The condition is: the mustard seed should come from a family where nobody has ever died.”
The woman was in such misery, she could not see the point. She rushed from one home to another.
And people said, “We can give as many mustard seeds as you want. We can bring the whole village’s mustard seeds, if your son’s life can come back. But our mustard seeds will not be of any help, because so many people have died in our family, and you cannot find a family where nobody has died.”
The number of dead people in every family is more than the number of the living. Your fathers died, your forefathers died, and so on, and so forth - since Adam and Eve people have been doing nothing but dying. The queue is so long behind each person - of dead people.
But she went from house to house and slowly, slowly, by the evening she became aware. Her tears dried up; she came back to Gautam Buddha, touched his feet, and said, “Forget about the boy, in this world everybody has to die. It does not matter when one dies. You initiate me as a sannyasin, so that I can experience something of the deathless, something of the immortal, something of the eternal that lives forever.”
Buddha said, “You are intelligent and you have understood my point.”
The woman became a sannyasin, and not an ordinary sannyasin. She became enlightened before Buddha died. She was his first woman enlightened disciple, Krisha Gautami was her name. I call this a miracle.