Chapter 8: Silence and Song Meet
Alexander the Great, at the last moment of his life, realized that he had wasted his life in accumulating unnecessary, nonessential things, and now death would take everything away. Suddenly he remembered the great Greek mystic Diogenes whom he had met just a year before. Diogenes was naked and lived without any possessions, and Alexander had felt tremendously infatuated with him. He had told Diogenes exactly this, that “If I am to come back to the world I will ask God to make me Diogenes next time, and not Alexander.”
This is the same dichotomy; there is no difference. When you are a child you want to be older, and when you are older you start thinking how beautiful were the days when you were a child. Everybody as he grows older starts fantasizing about his childhood; he starts decorating it in every possible way. And when he was a child he was in a hurry to grow up.
When you are alive you think of the life that is after death. People come to me and say, “Tell us something about what happens after death.” And I am always intrigued with their question. Rather than answering them, I ask them, “First tell me what happens before death!” Nobody seems to be interested in that - what happens before death; everybody is interested in what happens after death. And if you meet a ghost, it is absolutely certain he will tell you, “I am suffering very badly. I missed my life, now I am hankering for it. I would like to have the body again, the mind again, to have all the senses again.”
Different aspects, but the problem is the same: you hanker for the opposite because the grass looks greener - not your own grass but the grass beyond the fence in the neighbor’s garden. It always looks greener. It is a simple phenomenon: whatsoever you have loses meaning - the moment you have it, it loses meaning - whatsoever you have not becomes immensely significant. The mind hankers for that which it has not got, and the mind gets bored with whatsoever it has got.
It is said about the great English poet Byron that he must have loved at least sixty women. He did not live so long; he died young - and this number, sixty, is a very conservative estimate. This is from the known stories; there may have been other relationships which are not known. When he would go mad about a woman, he would risk everything. He risked his whole respectability. He was expelled from England for the simple reason that he was creating chaos. He was a beautiful man - very beautiful, extraordinarily beautiful - and a great poet. He had all those qualities which women are attracted to. He was a legend in his own time.
It had become a routine phenomenon that if he entered a restaurant the men would clutch the hands of their wives and run away! He was not allowed into clubs, he was not allowed into good society. Everybody was afraid of the man; he had some charm, some magnetism, some charisma. And for months he would go mad and chase a woman. And the moment he got the woman he would lose all interest, all interest would absolutely disappear. He represents mind in its purity, in its essential quality.