Chapter 11: Sober Up
Life is not just to pass, it is to reach somewhere deep within you. Life is not on the surface, it is not the circumference, it is the center. And you have not reached to the center yet. Sober up! Enough time is already wasted. Be alert and see what you are doing. And what are you doing? Searching for money? It is finally, ultimately useless. It is again a game, the money game. You have more than others, you feel good; others have more than you, you feel bad. It is a game. But what is the meaning of it? What do you gain from it? Even if you have all the money this world contains, at the moment of death you will die as a beggar. So the whole wealth of the world cannot make you rich. Games cannot make you rich. Sober up!
Somebody is after power, prestige, somebody is after sex, and somebody after something else. All is a game. Unless you touch the center of your being all is a game. On the surface only games exist, and on the surface is not the real; on the surface are only waves, and in those waves you will only suffer and drift. You will not be anchored into your self. This is why he had to call, “Sober up!” He was saying, “Don’t play games. Enough, you have played enough. Don’t be foolish any more. Use life for anchoring, use life to gain roots, use life as an opportunity to reach the divine. You are sitting just outside the temple, sitting just on the steps, playing games, and the ultimate is waiting just behind you. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.” But you have no time left from the games.
“Sober up” means remember what you are doing and why you are doing it. But even if you succeed, where will you reach? This is the paradox - that whenever a man succeeds in these foolish games, for the first time he becomes aware that the whole thing has been nonsense. Only those who never succeed go on playing the game; those who succeed suddenly become aware that nothing has been reached. Ask an Alexander, ask a Napoleon what they have gained.
It is reported of Alexander that when he was going to die, he told his court, “When you carry my dead body in the streets let both my hands hang out. Don’t cover them.” This was rare - nobody was carried that way.
The court couldn’t understand, so they asked, “What do you mean? This is not the usual way. The whole body is hidden.. Why do you want both your hands hanging out?”
Alexander replied, “I want it to be known that I am dying with empty hands. Everybody must see it, and nobody should try to be an Alexander again. I have gained much and still gained nothing; my kingdom is great but I am still poor.”
You die a beggar even if you are an emperor; then the whole thing seems like a dream. Just as in the morning the dream is broken and all emperorhoods disappear, all kingdoms disappear, so death is an awakening. That which remains in death is real, that which disappears was a dream: this is the criterion. And when this monk used to call, “Sober up!” he meant this: Remember death and don’t fool around.