I asked him, “Don’t you think this is a little violent?”
He said, “Not at all. The present has to be offered to the future. And if an enlightened person cannot see into the future, he is not enlightened. It is not just a crazy man’s idea,” he said, “but one of the most ancient and respected ideas.”
Buddha, even when he was only twenty-four hours old, was visited by an enlightened man who cried, and touched the feet of the child. The father of Gautam the Buddha could not believe what was happening, because the man was very famous. Even Buddha’s father used to go to him. Had he gone crazy or something? Touching the feet of a twenty-four hour old child?
Buddha’s father asked, “Can I ask, sir, why are you touching the feet of this small child?”
The enlightened man said, “I am touching his feet because I can see what is possible. Right now he is a bud, but he will become a lotus.” And Buddha’s father, Shuddhodhana was his name, asked, “Then why are you crying? Be happy if he is going to become a lotus.”
The old man said, “I am crying because I will not be present at that moment.”
Yes, even buddhas cry at particular moments. Particularly at a moment like that one – seeing a child who is going to become a buddha and knowing that one is going to die before it happens, is certainly hard. It is almost like a dark night: you can see, the birds have started singing, the sun will be rising soon; there is even a little light on the horizon already – and you have to die without seeing another morning.
Certainly, the old man who cried and touched Buddha’s feet was right. I know from my own experience. These three people are the most important that I have ever met, and I don’t think I am going to meet anybody who will be more important than those three. I have met other enlightened people too, after my enlightenment, but that is another story.
I have met my own disciples after they became enlightened, that too is a different story. But to be recognized when I was just a small child, and everybody else was against me, was a strange fate. My family was always against me. I exclude my father, my mother, my brothers, but it was a big family. They were all against me, for a simple reason – and I can understand them, they were right in a way – that I was behaving like a madman, and they were concerned.