But what about those who are left behind? They may have hated him – they have hated him; efforts were made on his life many times. But the moment compassion arises, one feels compassion even for those whose whole effort was to destroy the man, to destroy his message, to destroy him so entirely that his name disappears, forgotten. But still, they are human beings, facing the same anxieties, the same problems, the same jealousies; suffering in the same hell.
The story is that Buddha stopped at the gate of paradise, for which he had been working his whole life. The door opened. There was music, celebration, because only once in a while the door opens. Only once in a while is there a man who rises to such heights that paradise has to rejoice. The gatekeepers asked, requested: “You have arrived! Come in.” But they were surprised. He was looking sad, because he was not thinking this moment about paradise and its benedictions, he was thinking of millions of souls wandering, not knowing where to go, not knowing what to do, suffering, in deep torture.
Should he go back and forget all about the paradise and its pleasures, its eternal life, its every moment rejoicings? He has achieved it with great arduousness. Now that he has found it, and now that paradise is celebrating to receive him, should he enter the gate? But that would be utter selfishness, ugly – not worthy of a man like Gautam Buddha.
He told the doorkeepers, “Please, shut the doors again. I cannot come in. I will wait until the last human being has passed into paradise. I am going to be the last human soul and these doors will not be opened again once I enter. It may take eternity but it does not matter. I see millions of sad faces, hearts full of tears, people who have never known a smile – their whole life is just hellfire.
“No. Please close the doors. I am afraid, if the doors remain open, in some weak moment I may be tempted to enter.”
Buddha still stands outside the gate of paradise because we are all still groping – for us and for millions of the past and for the millions of others who will be coming.
This may be just a beautiful story, but it contains pure truth, unpolluted.
Almustafa is in the same situation. His ship has arrived, Yet I cannot tarry longer… He wants to be still in the world. He has loved the world, although there were dark nights, there were beautiful sunrises too. And there were thorns, but there were beautiful roses too. Although there were people who had tried to kill him, there were people who were ready to die for him any moment. Just a word from him would have been enough. Thousands of people have said to him, with their total heart and being:
Buddham sharanam gachchhami: I go to the feet of the awakened one.
Sangham sharanam gachchhami: I go to the feet not only of the awakened one, but also to the commune that has arisen around him, all kinds of seekers.
Dhammam sharanam gachchhami – not only to Buddha, not only to his commune, but also to his message.
There were these people also.