The neighboring king, his friend, was also afraid of death. He heard about this castle and he came to see. He was very much impressed. He said, “I will immediately start working, I will immediately create a castle for myself – this is so safe and so secure!”
When his friend was departing – the king had come out of the castle to say good-bye to him – he again appreciated the castle. While he was appreciating the castle, a beggar sitting by the side of the road started laughing loudly. Both the kings were shocked and they asked him, “Why are you laughing? Have you gone mad? And don’t you know how to behave in the presence of kings?”
The beggar said, “I could not control myself. Excuse me! But I used to be a king myself, and let me tell you the truth of why I am laughing. I have been watching, because I beg here on this road. I have been watching…the castle is being built, but I am puzzled: I say to you, there is only one mistake, one error, which is going to prove fatal.”
The king said, “What is that mistake? You tell us, we will correct it.” The king was ready to listen, and not only to listen but to correct it.
The beggar said, “You do one thing: you go inside and tell your people to close the door also, forever, because this door is going to prove dangerous. Death will enter from here! These one thousand warriors will not be able to prevent death, they will not even be able to see it. So close the door completely. Instead make a wall, and you be inside the castle and you will be safe forever! Nobody can kill you, not even death can enter in.”
But the king said, “That means I will be already dead! If I cannot come out, what is the point of living?”
And the beggar said, “That’s why I am laughing. You are ninety-nine point nine percent dead! Only one door is left, so only that much you are alive.”
The more safe you are, the more dead you are. And this is not a beautiful death, the graceful death of the leaf, of the rose petal falling towards the ground, moving back to the source. It is an ugly death, man’s invention. A natural death is beautiful; man has made it ugly. Man has made everything ugly; whatsoever man touches becomes ugly. If he touches gold it turns into dust.
Let this understanding penetrate as deeply as possible. Let this become your very core, your insight. Yes, it is so. Don’t possess, don’t hold tight. Remain relaxed, remain nonpossessive. If something is available, enjoy it; when it disappears, let it disappear with gratitude – gratitude for all that it has done for you, with no grudge, with no complaint. And you will know the greatest joys of life and death, light and darkness, of being and non-being both.
The second question: