It happened only once… The King of Varanasi, in India, just in this century, had to go through an operation. The operation was going to take at least two hours. His stomach had to be opened and some growth that may turn into cancer any moment had to be removed. But the king was a very proud man. He said, “You can do the operation, but chloroform, or any kind of anesthesia, I will not take. I also want to watch it.”
The doctor said, “This is never done, and if you die then we will be the murderers.”
He said, “I can write down that it is my will, and nobody else is responsible for it, because I know I am not going to die.”
There was great discussion between the doctors, and doctors were called from all over the world – the king was a very important person. They said, “He is asking a strange thing, no patient asks such things. But if we deny it, he is not going to have the operation. He will anyway be killed. If the operation is not done, then the sick growth in his stomach is going to kill him any moment, so it is better to take the risk, don’t give him anesthesia. At the most he can die – anyway he is going to die, but there is a chance, perhaps he can manage.
He was a great meditator. He said, “I will simply meditate. The moment I meditate I forget all about my body, I forget all about the world, I become pure consciousness; and I don’t think your instruments can touch it or harm it.”
The operation was done. The surgeons were trembling because they were doing something that should not be done, but there was no other alternative. And the king simply went into meditation. Two hours passed; the operation was successful. Then he opened his eyes and he said, “Even death will not disturb me, because I belong to eternal life. It is not a hypothesis to me, it is my experience.” And he had given a perfect example of his experience.
The West is very much afraid of death for the simple reason that it is a dead-end street. After it, only one thing can happen: the judgment day. And one cannot conceive of how it can happen… In one day, millions and millions of people who have died down the ages will be awakened by God from their graves – they are sleeping. The crowd will be so big; half of them will be women, screaming, and everybody is bound to look for his relatives, friends, wives, husbands… The crowd will be so immense, and God is going to give judgment to each individual. It cannot happen in twenty-four hours. It is simply out of the question.
Only Hindus and the Eastern religions burn their bodies when somebody dies, because there is no question – he has moved into another house. Now these ruins, this skeleton, need not be preserved. But Mohammedans, Christians and Jews preserve the body. Egyptians were the most absurd. They not only preserved the body, they put an enormous quantity of food also, because the poor fellow will need food, and who knows when that judgment day is going to come. If a king died, almost fifty to sixty people who were alive were buried with him – servants, body-guards, wives – because the man cannot be left alone.