Chapter 24: In This Silence
The youngest boy suggested, “He always wanted to have a Rolls Royce. And he has enough money, we have enough money; there is no need for him to suffer and repress an innocent desire. So at least we should bring a Rolls Royce to carry his body to the graveyard. In his life he missed, but at least in death he will have a Rolls Royce.”
The second boy said, “You are too young and you don’t understand matters concerning money. It is a sheer wastage, he is dead. Whether you take him in a Rolls Royce or in a truck does not matter to him. He will not be able to know, so why waste money?” And it was not much money either, just to hire a Rolls Royce taxi. It was not a question of purchasing it. He said, “My suggestion is that a cheap truck will do as efficiently as any Rolls Royce - for the dead it makes no difference.”
The third boy said, “You are also still immature. Why bother about a truck when the municipal corporation truck takes, free of charge, any beggar who dies? Just put him out on the road! In the morning the municipal truck, with all kinds of rubbish, will take him for free. Give him a free ride! And what does it matter to a dead man whether it is a municipal truck or a hired truck or a Rolls Royce?”
At that very moment the old man opened his eyes and asked, “Where are my shoes?” They were puzzled, “What are you going to do with shoes? Why waste a pair of shoes? Anyway you are going to die.”
He said, “I’m still alive and perhaps have a few more breaths. Just bring the shoes; I will walk to the graveyard. That is the cheapest and the sanest way. You are all extravagant, spendthrift.”
People may have money, and the money becomes their fetter. People may have prestige, and the prestige becomes their fetter. It seems the whole past of humanity has been improving on how to make better chains, but even if a chain is made of gold, it is still a chain. Freedom on the outside is just the politician’s continuous deceiving of the whole humanity.
Freedom is your individual affair. It is totally subjective.
If you have thrown out all the rubbish of the past and all desires and ambitions for the future, this very moment you are free - just like a bird on the wing, the whole sky is yours. Perhaps even the sky is not the limit.
Why is the orator, not a slave, asking him? It would have been far more relevant had a slave asked: Speak to us of Freedom. The orator is asking about freedom so that he can start speaking on freedom with more efficiency and with more articulateness.
He is not interested in being free. His interest is to become a great orator about freedom - because everybody is in chains of different kinds, and enslaved by religions, by politicians, by parents, by society. The orator is simply asking to decorate his speeches. It is not an authentic question. But the answer is far more authentic. Almustafa answered: