But when it was very cold he would tell his servant, “No matter what happens, you have to get me up at three in the morning. Even if I hit you and fight back, don’t pay any attention. You also hit me, but wake me up.” This was such a big hassle that servants didn’t last long with him. Awakened at three, he would be very angry. If he wasn’t awakened, he would be angry when he awoke in the morning. And it wasn’t just that he was angry, they would actually come to blows. He had told the servant, “Don’t worry about it – you have to wake me up at three. Even if you have to drag me out of bed forcibly, you have to get me out of bed at three. Don’t worry about what I do. Don’t listen to what I say at that time, because I am asleep then. There is no need to listen to me.”
There are people like this too!
Buddha thought, “What’s the use? Those who want to sleep will go on sleeping in spite of my shouting. And those ready to wake up will wake up even without me shouting.”
He remained silent for seven days. Then the gods pleaded with him, “What are you doing? Only rarely does anyone attain buddhahood…. The earth is craving, thirsty people are yearning: the clouds have formed, now they have to rain. You are silent? Let the rain pour! The flower has bloomed; let the fragrance fly! Let the rivers of juice flow – many have been thirsting for lives.
“And we have listened to your argument. We have been continuously watching your mind these seven days. You say there are people who will wake up without your speaking, and there are people who will not wake up no matter how much you speak. This is why you remain silent? Still we approach you after thinking long about it: aren’t there some who are standing between these two? You cannot neglect them. If someone awakens them they will wake up. If no one awakens them they will continue sleeping life after life. Consider these few. Ninety-nine percent of people will be those you mention, but consider that one percent who are standing exactly on the edge – if someone awakens them they will wake up, and if no one awakens them they will go on sleeping.”
Buddha could not refute their plea, so he had to speak. The gods convinced him – they were able to persuade him. Buddha’s point was right, and the gods’ idea was also right.
There are three types of listeners. The first, that you try waking again and again but you can’t wake them up. This kind of people are the vast majority. They hear but they don’t listen. They look but they don’t see. They understand but make their own interpretations: patching up and whitewashing everything. They understand but still they hold on to their misunderstanding. They have a deep vested interest in misunderstanding. They are afraid to give up their old, familiar beliefs.
There is a second type of listener; in the middle. If someone makes an effort – a Buddha, an Ashtavakra, a Krishna – they will wake up. Arjuna was this kind of listener. Krishna had to work hard; he had to work long and hard on him. The Gita was born out of this effort. At the very end Arjuna felt, “My illusions are far away, my doubts have fallen. I come to surrender at your feet. I have seen!” But this was after a great struggle had taken place, a great conflict.
And there is an even more superior listener – like Janak – who hears when it has hardly been spoken. Just as Ashtavakra started to speak, Janak started seeing. Today’s sutras are Janak’s words. Janak realized so quickly, so immediately, that what Ashtavakra was saying was absolutely right. The truth struck home.