Chapter 2: Tearing Down, Breaking Up
I will have to explain to you. Mount Sumeru is a mythological mountain in paradise. It is all gold. Our Himalaya is nothing in comparison to it; it is millions of times bigger, just pure gold. It is a mythology, it is not a fact. But the mythology has a certain meaning, that’s why Ummon replied, “When there is not a single thought, you have entered into paradise. You will be facing Mount Sumeru, the golden peaks spread from end to end over the whole universe.”
Mount Sumeru is accepted by Buddhist mythology, Hindu mythology, Jaina mythology - all three religions born in this country have accepted the story of Mount Sumeru. It will be good for you to understand the purpose of Mount Sumeru. The purpose is that only chakravartins - and a chakravartin is an emperor who has conquered the whole world - are allowed to sign their names on Mount Sumeru when they enter into paradise.
A great emperor died with a great desire, because there is nothing greater than writing your signature on Mount Sumeru. It was the tradition of those times that the wife of a man who died would commit sati, and the kings used to have many wives, not just one. All the wives had to commit sati - sometimes a hundred women, sometimes five hundred women. Krishna had sixteen thousand women! So it was a massacre; whenever an emperor died, hundreds of living women.
When this emperor reached the gates of heaven, with his hundreds of wives who had died with him on the funeral pyre, the gatekeeper said to him, “Take these instruments and sign on Sumeru, but don’t take anybody else with you.”
The emperor said, “These are all my wives, and what is the point of signing on Sumeru if there is nobody even as a witness? I want all my wives to be with me to see it.”
The gatekeeper laughed and he said, “I have been here: for generations we have been the gatekeepers - before me, my father and before him, his father. As long as existence, our family has been on this gate. And everyone on this gate has given the same advice that I’m giving to you. You will be thankful for it. If you insist, I will allow - but then don’t be offended.”
The emperor could not understand, “But perhaps the gatekeeper knows more about things.” He went alone, and was simply amazed at the gatekeeper’s compassion, because he could not find a small place anywhere on Mount Sumeru to make his signature. All over there were signatures and signatures and signatures.
The meaning is clear: “You are not the only one. Millions of emperors have passed before you.”
He said to the gatekeeper, who was with him, “This is very humiliating. I used to think I would be the only emperor who is going to sign. And this whole mountain, miles and miles. There is no space for a signature!”
The gatekeeper said, “Do one thing - another advice that we have been giving since my ancestors - here is an instrument, remove somebody’s name and put your name. And this is not new; this has been happening for centuries as far as I know. My father knew, my father’s father knew. You have to remove somebody’s name and create space for your signature.”