A man had gathered ten thousand golden rupees. And at that time, the rupee was really gold; the word rupee simply means gold. And this was his desire – that one day when they were ten thousand, he would offer them to Ramakrishna, of course, to gain virtue in the other life. When small donations are given and people are getting great virtues – for ten thousand gold pieces you can purchase even God’s own house!
He went, dropped his bags of golden coins, and told Ramakrishna, “I want to offer them to you. Please accept them.”
Ramakrishna was a strange man. Ordinarily, a traditional sannyasin would not have accepted. He would have said, “I have renounced the world, I cannot accept.” But Ramakrishna was not a conventional type. He said, “Okay, I accept. Now do me a favor.”
The man said, “I am at your feet. Whatever you want.”
“Take all these coins to the Ganges” – which was just behind the temple where Ramakrishna lived – “and drop all the coins into the Ganges.”
The man could not believe it. “What kind of…ten thousand gold pieces?” But now he cannot say that this is not right, he has already lost possession of them. Now they belong to Ramakrishna, and Ramakrishna is saying, “Go and drop them. Just do me a favor.”
Hesitantly, reluctantly, the man went. Hours passed. Ramakrishna said, “What happened to that man? He should have come back within five minutes.”
So Ramakrishna sent a sannyasin to look for him.
The man had gathered a big crowd. He was first checking each golden coin on a stone, and then he would throw them one by one. And people were jumping into the Ganges and collecting, and it had become a great show, and the man was enjoying.
When informed, Ramakrishna said, “That man is an idiot. Just tell him: when you are collecting something you can count them, but when you are throwing away, what is the point of wasting time? Just drop the whole load.”
Ramakrishna was, in a simple way, indicating that when you are dropping your conditioning, your mental conceptions, your beliefs, don’t drop by and by. They are all interconnected; drop them all. If you cannot drop them all in a single moment, you will not be able to drop them at all. Either now, or never.
Secondly, the questioner has asked, “Do you see Zen as a medicine for the ill effect of conditioning?”
I don’t see Zen as a medicine, because a medicine sooner or later becomes useless. When your cold is over, you don’t carry on with the Greek aspirin!
Mukta keeps them for everybody; she has taken the responsibility. By being Greek she has to carry Greek aspirin. And everybody knows, so whenever somebody needs one, they look for Mukta.
If Zen is a medicine, when you are cured, what will you do with Zen? You will have to throw it away, or give it to the Lions Club. But Zen cannot be thrown away, nor can it be given to the Lions Club. In the first place, there is not a single lion.