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Chapter 33: The New Dawn Is Very Close

A Sufi mystic comes to Mecca. It is a festival time, when Mohammedans from all over the world come to Mecca. It is part of their religion that every Mohammedan at least once in his life must go to Mecca. I have seen poor Mohammedans.And Mohammedans are poor because of certain of their religious ideas. They are so fanatic that they cannot change those ideas, and unless they change those ideas they are not going to be rich. Their ideas simply go against the whole economics.

Mohammedans are against lending money with interest or borrowing money with interest. Now, the whole world of economics depends on interest. The whole of banking, the whole of business, even the nations, even the greatest industrialists, the super-rich - all are dependent on loans. Nobody is going to give you money without interest, and Mohammedanism is against interest, saying that it is the greatest sin, to take interest or to give interest. Naturally, Mohammedans have remained the poorest people of the world.

I have seen poor Mohammedans selling their houses, their land or whatsoever they had, just to go at least once to Mecca; otherwise they are not perfect Mohammedans. How are they going to face their God? The first question he will ask is, “Have you been to Mecca or not?”

This Sufi mystic, a poor Mohammedan, went to Mecca. All the hotels were full, all the caravansaries were full. And he was not a rich man. He knocked on many doors, but everywhere he was refused - millions of people had gathered there. And in the desert in the cold night, hungry and thirsty, how was he going to survive? Finally he told the manager of a hotel, “I will lie down anywhere - on the steps, in the basement. But at least for the night.I am tired, I have been walking miles and miles to reach here.”

The manager said, “I can see you are tired and you look a very simple and humble man. I cannot refuse you. But the trouble is, we don’t have any room, any place. Just one thing is possible. One room I have given to a man - he is rich. It is a double bedroom; he is alone, but he has paid for the room. I can ask him, perhaps he may feel some compassion for you. So come with me.”

The manager thought, “There is no problem, because one bed is empty. Why send this poor man.? He can go to sleep.” So the manager left, and the mystic, with his turban, with his shoes, with his coat, went to bed - even with his shoes on. He wore everything, and of course sleep was difficult. He was tossing and turning, and because of his tossing and turning the man to whom the room belonged could not sleep.

Finally the man said, “Listen, I have allowed you to sleep here but you don’t sleep, you are simply tossing and turning. And I can see that in such a situation nobody can sleep: you have not even taken your shoes off, your turban is on, you are sleeping in a tight coat; it is impossible. And you are not allowing me either to sleep.”

The mystic said, “It is a great problem.”

The man said, “What is the great problem?”

He said, “You are sleeping naked; I also have the habit of sleeping naked.”

So the man said, “Then what is the problem? Just get naked and go to sleep!”

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