I am reminded of a great mystic, Eknath. A man used to go to Eknath for years. One day he went early in the morning when nobody was there and he asked Eknath, “Please forgive me. I have come early so that there is nobody else, because I am going to ask a question which I have always wanted to ask but I felt so embarrassed that I suppressed it.”
Eknath said, “There was no reason to be embarrassed. You could have asked any question, anytime. Sit down here.”
So they sat down in the temple, and the man said, “It is difficult for me; how to present it? My question is that for years I have been coming to you and I have never seen you sad, frustrated. I have never seen you in anxiety, in any kind of worry. You are always happy, always fulfilled, contented.
“I cannot believe this. My doubting mind says, ‘This man is pretending.’ I have been fighting with my mind, telling it that for years you cannot pretend: ‘If he’s pretending, you try.’ And I have tried – for five minutes, seven minutes at the most, and I forget all about it. Worries come, anger comes, sadness comes, and if nobody comes then the wife comes! – and all pretensions are gone.
“How do you manage day after day, month after month, year after year? I have always seen the same joy, the same grace. Please forgive me, but the doubt persists that somehow you are pretending. Perhaps you don’t have a wife; that seems to be the only difference between me and you.”
Eknath said, “Just show me your hand.” He took his hand in his own hands, washed it, looked very seriously…
The man said, “Is something wrong? What happened?” He forgot all about his doubt and his pretension and Eknath.
Eknath said, “Before I start answering your question, just by the way, I see that your lifeline is finished – just seven days more. So I wanted to tell it to you first because I may forget. Once I start explaining and answering your question, I may forget.”
The man said, “I am no longer interested in the question, and I am no longer interested in the answer. Just help me to stand up.” He was a young man.
Eknath said, “You cannot stand up?”
He said, “I feel all energy gone. Just seven days, and I had so many plans…everything shattered. Help me! My house is not far away, just take me to my house.”
Eknath said, “You can go. You can walk. You have come walking perfectly well just a few seconds ago.”
But the man tried somehow to stand up; he looked as if all his energy had been sucked out. And when he was going down the steps you could see that suddenly he had become old, he was taking the support of the railing. As he was walking on the road you could see – he could fall at any moment, he was walking like a drunkard. Somehow he reached home.
Everybody was getting up, it was early morning; and he went to sleep. They all asked, “What is the matter? Are you sick, not feeling well?”