Nanak said, “You can give back the needle since it has served its purpose. That is the very question I was going to ask of you. If you cannot take such a small thing as this needle when you die, what will you take of the millions and millions of rupees you have amassed? If you cannot carry a puny little needle, what else do you have that you think you can take? You are really a poor man, Dunichand, for only he is rich who can take something with him after death.”
Anything that can be measured cannot be taken beyond death; only the immeasurable can be taken.
There are two types of people in this world. One type is always anxious to measure, always searching for things to count and weigh. The other type is always looking for what is immeasurable. The first type are not religious but worldly; they belong to sansara, the world of illusion. The second type are the religious people, the sannyasins.
The search for the immeasurable is religion. He who has found the immeasurable conquers death; he has attained the nectar, the elixir. What can be measured is bound to disintegrate; whatever has a boundary is bound to rot. Whatever can be defined is here today and gone tomorrow. Mountains like the Himalayas will disappear one day; so also the moon, the sun and the stars. We call the mountains stable and immovable, but they too are movable and unstable. Everything is unstable, as far as measure goes; all things that can be measured are like individual waves. Where all measure ends, where all boundaries fade, that is the beginning of the Ocean of Brahma, the beginning of God.
Therefore, Nanak says, his qualities are invaluable, and his trading too. You cannot set value on him – that is the difficulty. You can evaluate Napoleon and Alexander, for their wealth and kingdoms set their value. But how will you estimate the value of Buddha? What is the worth of Nanak and the likes of him? We can judge the worth of those with wealth and position, for their possessions are their very souls: one man is worth a million rupees, another is worth ten million. But how can we gauge the value of someone who has nothing except God? Thus many a time we fail to see a Nanak. Many a time Buddha crosses our path but we have no eyes to see him, for we are only conversant with the art of measuring; it is only things that we see. If Buddha held a diamond in his hand we would have seen the diamond, but not Buddha – whereas the diamond is worthless and Buddha is beyond value, beyond price.
Our eyes, our vision, our way of thinking, our minds – take stock of these. Outside is the world of measure, inside is the mind. The mind and maya, the world of illusion are one. Outside lies the measure, inside is the measurer – the mind. The immeasurable that is outside is Brahma; it has no connection with the mind, but is related only to the soul, the atman; for the atman is also immeasurable. You can only relate yourself with that which you are within. The mind has its boundary, thus through it you can only know the limited. The soul has no boundary, so through it you can know the boundless. What is the worth of God? Nothing!