As he was leaving, the host king came out, and the friend thanked him again. As he was getting into his golden chariot he said, “I am immensely grateful, because you have made something which is really secure. Just help me with your architects and the stonecutters; I want to make exactly the same palace in my kingdom.”
Just then a beggar sitting in the street started laughing. Both the kings felt embarrassed, and the host asked the beggar, “Why are you laughing?”
He said, “Once I used to be a king myself, but just to find security I became a beggar. Since I have become a beggar, nobody is interested in killing me. I sleep in the street without any fear. I have one suggestion to make to you – and I am older than both of you, and my kingdom was far bigger than your kingdoms.
“My suggestion is that there is a flaw in your palace. I have been sitting here and watching – but nobody has bothered about the flaw.”
The king said, “What flaw?”
The beggar said, “There is one door. The best security will be for you to get in and let your stonecutters close the door. Instead of a door there should be a beautiful marble wall. Then nobody can enter there.
“Even these seven lines of guards can conspire – it is not inconceivable – to acquire the whole kingdom. You are in the hands of these seven men. If they join together, they can kill you and divide your whole kingdom. And it is such a simple thing it that is bound to come into their minds. You think you are secure – you are more insecure than ever; you are just in the hands of seven people.”
The king said, “Your idea is right – but what is the point of living if there is no door to come out?”
And the beggar laughed again. He said, “You need not come out. Death can enter without a door – because in fact it does not enter from the outside; it is sitting within you, just like a seed.”
You may not be very conscious, nobody is very conscious – that you are dying every day, inch by inch. And one day the process is complete. Death is not an incident, but a process: it has the same length as your life. If you are going to live seventy or eighty years, your death also has eighty years to live with you.
This life – what we understand as life – is in the hands of death, and there is no way of protection. But I know a golden key, which is to find in yourself a deeper layer of life, deeper than this life and deeper than this death. That deepest layer is eternal. There is no need to protect it; it is protected by the whole of existence itself. There is a lock, and that is your mind, which prevents your going in. And there is a key: I call it meditation.
Before meditation, the mind disappears. Not that the lock is opened…but the lock simply disappears, and you enter into your kingdom of eternity. And only then does one feel secure.
Even if death comes, and it is bound to come, you will be watching it: you will not be dying. Your body will be dying, your mind will be dying, but before death you have already abandoned them. You have gone deeper than both the superficial layers.