One great sage in Sri Lanka was dying. All his disciples…and they were in the thousands because the man was over a hundred years old; he had lived long, he had been a man of charisma, and he had attracted many. Hearing that he was going to leave the body, they had all gathered from different parts of the country to have his last darshan, to be in his presence for the last time, to feel that silence, that celebration, that fragrance that was always around him.
Before dying, the old man opened his eyes and said, “You have loved me, and you have loved whatever I have been teaching you. Now I am leaving the body…if somebody wants to come with me, he can stand up.” Masters are crazy and strange people. Now everybody started looking at each other, thinking, “He is a very old disciple – perhaps he wants to go,” but everybody was looking at each other, and nobody was standing up.
And the old man said, “The one who will be ready to go with me will go enlightened. He will not go in his ordinary consciousness; he will go fully conscious.” But there was such a great silence over that crowd of thousands of disciples. Finally one man raised his hand, but he was afraid that he might be misunderstood so he said, “Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not standing up, I am simply raising my hand. I would like to know what is this enlightenment, what is death?”
The old man said, “I am ready to take you with me; you can have the experience yourself of both enlightenment and death.”
He said, “I would have liked to come with you very much, but there are so many things incomplete. My wife is sick, my children are not grown up, my daughter is going to be married; so just now it is not possible for me. But I want to inquire so that I can remember, and when it becomes possible for me, I can follow the way.”
The old man laughed. He said, “You have been with me for almost forty years, and all these forty years I have been talking about nothing but enlightenment, in different ways, from different aspects. And in forty years you have not been able to complete your things…how many more years will you take?”
He said, “Forgive me. In fact, I’m only a student. There is no longing in me to become enlightened; I don’t want to take such a risk – and that, too, with death. But I’m very interested in knowing about it. You can trust my sincerity as far as knowing about it is concerned.” This is a category.
Then there are people who really want…who are not just students, who are disciples; and nobody can doubt their intentions, but they want enlightenment to be given to them. They are waiting for some savior. They themselves are not ready to travel the path; that seems too arduous. Why not wait till the savior comes?