Early in the morning the master used to sit in the garden, just listening to the birds singing, the flowers opening, the sun rising. The prince thought, “Now it is becoming dangerous! A wooden stick was hard, difficult, but it was not going to kill me. A real sword…” He was a swordsman but he was not given any chance to protect himself; only awareness was going to be his protection.
An idea came to his mind: “This old man is really dangerous. Before he starts his third lesson, I would like to check whether he himself can pass the third test or not. If he is putting my life at risk, I cannot allow him to do it without checking whether he is worthy of it or not.” And these were only thoughts that he was thinking lying down in his bed; it was a cold morning.
And the master said, “Come out of your blanket, you idiot! Do you want to hit your own master with a sword? Feel ashamed! I can hear the footsteps of your thoughts…drop the idea.” He had heard. Nothing was said to him, nothing was done to him.
Thoughts are also things. Thoughts also, while moving, make sounds, and those who are fully alert can read your thoughts. Even before you have become aware of them, they can become aware of them.
The prince was really ashamed. He fell at the feet of the master and he said, “Just forgive me. I am really stupid.”
But because it was a question of a sword, a real sword, he became aware of everything around him, even his own breathing, his heartbeat. Just a small breeze passing through the leaves, a dead leaf moving in the wind, and he was aware.
The master tried a few times but found him always ready. He could not hit him with the sword because he could not find him unconscious, unalert. He was just alertness. It was a question of death – you cannot afford to be anything but alert.
In three days’ time the master could not find a single moment, a single loophole. And after the third day he called him and told him, “Now you can go and tell your father – and this is the letter from me – that the kingdom is yours.”
Awareness is a process of being more and more awake.
Whatever you are doing, you can do it like a robot, mechanically. Just watch: the way you are walking, is it alert or just a mechanical habit?
A man was brought to me and he was really in a great mess because he was a professor and he walked like a woman – which is a miracle. It is not easy to walk like a woman, because to walk like a woman you need a womb. Only the womb helps you to move in a certain way, otherwise you cannot. But by some freak of nature he was walking this way from his very childhood. And because everybody was laughing and telling him that this was bad, he was trying hard not to move like that. But the more he made the effort, the more it became impossible. It became a deep-rooted habit.