A strange incident happened concerning that palace – I should call it a coincidence. On the day I said, “Okay, I am ready to move to the Himalayas,” on that very same day the son of the queen of Bhopal phoned saying that if we were interested they were willing to offer their palace – the same palace that I am telling you about. That palace…for a moment I could not believe that they would offer it. They had lost everything; the whole state was gone, merged into India. All that was left was only the one thousand acres, and that palace. But still it is a beautiful kingdom – five hundred acres of ancient trees, and five hundred acres of a lake that was just part of the great lake of Bhopal.
In India the lake of Bhopal is the greatest lake. I don’t think there is any other lake in the world that can compete with it, it is so huge. I can’t remember how many miles wide it is, but one cannot see the other shore from anywhere. Those five hundred acres in the palace grounds are part of the same lake but they belong to the palace.
I said, “It is too late. Tell the prince and his mother, if she is still alive, that we are thankful for their offer but I have decided to go to the Himalayas.” For seven years I have been trying to find just a few thousand acres of land, and the politicians are always interfering. Tell him, “I remember visiting your palace and your mother.” Perhaps she is still alive, I don’t know. But tell him, “I loved the palace, and still do, even more so now that you have offered it to me. But I have decided to go to the Himalayas.”
My secretary was shocked and she said, “He is offering the palace to you and not even asking for any money. It must be worth at least two million dollars.”
I said, “Two million or twenty million dollars, it does not matter at all. My ‘thank you’ is far more valuable. How many million dollars do you think it is worth? Just say to him, ‘Bhagwan sends his thanks, but your offer came just a few hours too late. If you had offered the palace just a few hours earlier perhaps he may have accepted it. Now nothing can be done at all.’“
When he heard, the prince was shocked. He could not believe that one could offer such a palace without asking for anything in exchange and just be told “Sorry, no thank you.”
I know the palace. I was a guest there once in my childhood, and once again later in my life. I have seen it through the eyes of a child and also through the eyes of a young man. No, I was not deceived when I had seen it as a child, but it was far more beautiful than I had understood it then. A child, although innocent, has limitations; his vision cannot imply all that is possible. He sees only that which is apparent. I also visited the palace as a young man, again as a guest, and I knew that it must be one of the most beautiful structures in the world, particularly its location, but I had to refuse it.
Sometimes it feels so good to refuse, because I already knew that if I accepted, there were bound to be troubles ad infinitum. That palace could not be my palace. The politicians, who have become all-powerful – uneducated, corrupt, untalented and immoral – would be bound to jump in. Although I refused, they still jumped in, thinking that the prince was lying, because how could anyone refuse such an offer?