Chapter 4: Be a Seed
Years passed. The king was successful as a ruler and a warrior, and led a life of luxury and apparent contentment, but at night when he went to bed, strange thoughts came into his mind and troubled him: “I live in luxury and abundance in this splendid palace, but how long shall I enjoy this - this abundance, this power, this wealth - and what will happen to me when I die? Can my power and my riches save me from illness and death? Is everything lost with the coming of death?”
No one in the palace could answer these questions, but meanwhile, the fame of Zarathustra grew. So putting aside his pride, he dispatched a great caravan of treasure to Zarathustra and with it an invitation and a request. “I regret.” he wrote, “that when I was impatient and thoughtless in my youth, I asked you to explain the great problems of existence in a few minutes of time. I have changed and do not want the impossible now, but I am still deeply interested to know the laws of the universe and the forces of nature, even more so than when I was a young man. Come to my palace. I pray you. Or if that is not possible, then send to me the best of your disciples that he may teach me all that he can about these questions.”
After an interval, the caravan and the messengers returned. These told the king that they had found Zarathustra, who sent him greeting, but returned the proffered treasure. The treasure, Zarathustra had said, was of no use to him because he has attained to the ultimate treasure. Moreover, Zarathustra had sent the king a gift wrapped in a leaf and had asked the messengers to tell him that this was the teacher who could teach him everything.
The king opened it and found the same grain again - the same grain of wheat that Zarathustra had given him before. He thought there must be something mysterious and magical in it, so he put it in a golden box and hid it among his treasures. Almost every day he looked at it expecting some miracle to happen, such as the turning of the grain of wheat into something or someone that would teach him all he wished to know.
Months went by, and then years, but nothing happened. At last the king lost patience and said. “It seems that Zarathustra has deceived me again. Either he is making a mock of me or else he does not know the answers to my questions, but I will show him that I can find the answers without his help.” So the king sent a caravan to a great Indian mystic, Tshengrengacha, to whom came disciples from all over the world, and with the caravan went the same messengers and the same treasure that he had once sent to Zarathustra.
After many months, the messengers returned from India with the philosopher, but the philosopher said to him, “I am honored to be your teacher but in frankness must tell you that I come chiefly to your country that I may meet the great Zarathustra.”
Then the king took the golden box containing the grain of wheat and answered, “I asked Zarathustra to teach me. See, this is what he sent me. Here is the teacher who shall teach me the Laws of the universe and the forces of nature. Is this not ridiculous?”