I said, “Now you are no more helpless, now there is no question of any anxiety, no suffering, no problems; they belong to life. Now life has slipped out of your hands, maybe a few minutes more you will linger here on this shore. Gather courage! Don’t encounter death as a coward.”
He closed his eyes, and he said, “I will try my best.”
His whole family gathered; they were all angry with me. They were high caste brahmins, very orthodox, and they could not believe that the old man had agreed with me. Death was such a shock that it shattered all his lies.
In life you can go on believing in lies; but in death you know perfectly well that boats made of paper are not going to help in the ocean. It is better to know that you have to swim, and you don’t have any boat. Clinging to a paper boat is dangerous, it may prevent you from swimming. Rather than taking you to the further shore, it may become the cause of your drowning.
They were all angry but they could not say anything. And the old man, with closed eyes smiled and said, “It is unfortunate that I never listened to you. I am feeling so light, so unburdened. I am feeling so fearless; not only fearless but curious to die and to see what is the mystery of death.”
He died, and the smile remained on his face. He died not as a camel; he died as a child.
Within those few moments, all the steps from camel to the lion, from lion to the child happened so quickly. It was not a question of time.
The metamorphosis of which Zarathustra is speaking is a question of intense understanding.
Listen to his words, because these are not ordinary words: these are words of a man who knows life from its very roots, and of a man who is uncompromising, of a man who will not accept any lie, howsoever comfortable, howsoever consolatory it may be.
These words are words of a soul which knows freedom. These words are like the roar of a lion. These words are also the stammering of a child, utterly innocent. These words are not out of knowledge, they are not coming from the head – they are coming directly from his being.
If you can listen to them in silence and with deep sympathy, falling into a kind of rapport, only then, there is a possibility to understand this strange man, Zarathustra.
It is easy to understand Jesus; it is easy to understand Gautam Buddha. It is far more difficult to understand Zarathustra because nobody has spoken like him. Nobody could have spoken like him because they all were in search of followers.
He was not in search of followers. He was in search of companions, of friends, of fellow travelers. He was not in search of believers: he will not say something just so that it appeals to you, just so that it fits with your prejudiced mind. He will say only that which is true to his experience. Even if nobody agrees with him; even if he has to go alone, and he finds no companions and no fellow travelers, still, he is going to say only the truth, and nothing but truth.