But he was one of the most miserly men in the world. He used a single cap for thirty years. It was stinking but he wouldn’t change it. He continued to wear the same coat for almost his whole life and he would not give it to be washed because they might destroy it. He was so miserly – you cannot imagine – that he would collect half-smoked cigarettes from the guests’ ashtrays and then smoke them. The richest man in the world smoking cigarette butts smoked by others! The first thing he would do whenever a guest left was to search in the ashtrays and collect the ends of the cigarettes.
When he died, his greatest diamond was found in his dirty shoes. He was hiding it in his shoe! Maybe he had some idea behind it – that maybe he would be able to take it with him to the other world. Maybe he was afraid: “When I am dead, people may steal it.” It was the greatest diamond; he used that diamond as a paper-weight on his table. Before he died he must have put it inside his shoe.
Even when one is dying one is moving in old habits, following old patterns.
I have heard:
The old Mulla Nasruddin had become a very rich man. When he felt death approaching he decided to make some arrangements for his funeral, so he ordered a beautiful coffin made of ebony wood with satin pillows inside. He also had a beautiful silk caftan made for his dead body to be dressed in.
The day the tailor delivered the caftan, Mulla Nasruddin tried it on to see how it would look, but suddenly he exclaimed, “What is this! Where are the pockets?”
Smoking or no smoking, that is not important. Maybe if you continue to smoke you will die a little earlier. So what? The world is so overpopulated, you will do some good by dying a little earlier. Maybe you will have tuberculosis. So what? Tuberculosis is now almost like the common cold. In fact, there is no cure for the common cold but there is a cure for tuberculosis. I know it because I suffer from a common cold. To have tuberculosis is to be very fortunate.
A man was suffering from a common cold for many years. All the doctors were tired of the man because nobody was able to cure him. Then a new doctor came to the town. All the other doctors told the new doctor, “Beware of this man! He is going to haunt you! He is a nuisance – his cold cannot be cured.” In fact, there is no cure for the common cold. They say that if you take medicine it goes within seven days; if you don’t take the medicine it goes in one week.
So the new doctor was ready and the man appeared, as predicted by the others. The new doctor said, “I can cure it. You do one thing” – it must have been winter-time, just like this morning – he told him, “You do one thing: tomorrow, early in the morning, before sunrise, go to the lake; swim in the lake naked, then stand on the bank in the cold wind.”
The man said, “Are you mad or something? How is that going to cure my common cold?”
The doctor said, “Who told you that it is going to cure your common cold? It will give you influenza, and I can cure that!”