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Chapter 2: Innocence: The Price You Pay for the Failure of Success

It is said that when a chakravartin dies - because a chakravartin happens only in thousands of years, he is a rare being - when he dies he is received in heaven with great rejoicings and he is taken to a special place.

In Jaina mythology, in heaven there is a parallel mountain to the Himalayas. The Himalayas are just made of rocks and earth and ice. The parallel Himalayas in heaven is called Sumeru. Sumeru means the ultimate mountain: nothing can be higher than that, nothing can be better than that. It is solid gold; instead of rocks there are diamonds and rubies and emeralds.

When a chakravartin dies he is led to Sumeru mountain to engrave his name on it. That is a rare opportunity; that happens only once in thousands of years. Of course this man was immensely excited that he was going to write his name on Sumeru. That is the ultimate catalogue of all the great ones that have been, and will also be the catalogue of all the great ones who are going to be. This emperor was becoming party to a lineage of supermen.

The gatekeeper gave him the instruments to engrave his name. He wanted a few of his men who had committed suicide just because their emperor was dying - they could not think of living without him. His wife, his prime minister, his commander-in-chief - all the great people who were around him, they all had committed suicide, so they had come with him.

The emperor wanted the gatekeeper to let them all come to see him engrave his name, because what is the joy if you go alone and engrave your name and nobody is there even to see? - because the real joy is that the whole world should see.

The gatekeeper said, “You listen to my advice, because this is my inherited profession. My father was a gatekeeper, his father was a gatekeeper; for centuries we have been gatekeepers to Sumeru mountain. Listen to my advice: Don’t take them with you; otherwise you will repent.”

The emperor could not understand, but he could not even go against his advice - because what interest could that man have in preventing him?

The gatekeeper said, “If you still want them to see, first go engrave your name; then come back and take them with you if you want. I have no objection even now if you want to take them, but just in case you decide not to, then there will be no place, no chance.they will be with you. You go alone.” This was perfectly sane advice.

The emperor said, “That’s good. I will go alone, engrave my name, come back, and call you all.”

The gatekeeper said, “I am perfectly agreeable to that.”

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