It is a long journey, a long, long journey, because whatsoever you know will be left behind: your friends, your family, your money, your power, your prestige, all will be left behind. You will be going all alone, even your body will be left behind. You will not be able to recognize your own face, because you don’t know what your original face is. You know only the bodily face, that too you know through the medium of the mirror. You have not encountered your reality, you have not gone into your inner being, you have not seen yourself, you don’t know who you are. All the friends gone, family, money, power, prestige, body…will you be able even to recognize that it is you? You will be simply in a chaos. Buddha asks you:
What will you take with you?
Tomorrow is death – You are like the yellow leaf – next moment is death: What will you take with you? Have you earned anything that you can take with you? If you have not earned anything, then your life has been a sheer wastage. You may have accumulated much wealth, you may have become very famous, but all that is futile. You cannot take it with you. Your degrees, your titles, your awards, all will be left behind. You will be going utterly alone. Is there something which you can take with you?
There is only one thing which you can take with you, and that is true wealth. Buddha calls it meditation, awareness, watchfulness, mindfulness, consciousness. If you become more and more conscious, you can take that consciousness with you. But you are living a very, very unconscious life. Your whole life is mechanical, you simply go on repeating. You are not really living, you are being lived by unconscious desires.
Buddha says: Meditation is the only wealth, because you can take it beyond death. In fact he says this is the criterion: if something can be taken beyond death it is true wealth. If it cannot be taken beyond death, it is untrue wealth, it is a deception. And not only that you are deceiving others, you are deceiving yourself. And when death will knock at your door, you will weep, you will cry, but then nothing can be done.
It is said of Alexander the Great that when he was dying, tears were rolling down his cheeks, because the physicians had told him that he had only twenty-four hours at the most; his death was absolutely certain within twenty-four hours. His physician asked, “Why are you crying? You are a brave man.”
Alexander said, “I had promised my mother that I would come back home. In twenty-four hours I cannot reach there. At least forty-eight hours are needed, and I am ready to give my whole kingdom to you if you can manage twenty-four hours more for me. I would like to fulfill my promise. I have given my word, and my mother will be waiting for me.”
The physician said, “It is impossible. Nothing can be done. In fact twenty-four hours is also too optimistic a hope. As I see it, things are going down the drain. Within two or three hours you will be gone. Twenty-four hours is the most, more than that is not possible.”
And Alexander died within six hours. Before he died, he asked for one thing only.