He must have been someone like Janak: he was hit by the truth of what had been said. “If this man is mad, am I intelligent? Who has found happiness in this world? I am also searching for it. Happiness is not found in this world, and if it is, a camel can also be found on the roof. Then the impossible does happen, there is no problem. But who is that fellow? How did he get up on the roof? How did he escape, where did he go?” He sat lost in thought. He was holding court – the court was open, business was being discussed – but today his mind was not there. His mind had flown away somewhere. The bird of his mind had already flown off to some other world…as if let go had already happened. Just a small incident – as if Ashtavakra himself had climbed up on his roof and spoken.
Just then he noticed there was trouble at the door. A man wanted to come in and was telling the guard he wanted to stay in this caravanserai. And the guard was saying, “You are mad – this is not a serai, this is the palace of the emperor. There are many serais in the city – go and stay there.”
But the man was saying, “I will stay right here – I have stayed here before. It is a serai. Tell someone else this nonsense – you can’t fool me.”
Suddenly, hearing his voice, Ibrahim realized that this is the same voice and this is the same man. He said, “Bring him in – don’t chase him away.”
He was brought in. Ibrahim asked, “What are you saying? What kind of arrogance is this? This is my palace. You call it a serai? This is an insult.”
The man said, “Whether it is insult or praise, I ask one thing: I have come here before, but then someone else was sitting on this throne. Who was he?”
Ibrahim replied, “That was my father.”
The fakir said, “And before that I also came here; another man was here.”
The king replied, “That was my father’s father.”
So the fakir said, “This is why I call it a serai. People sit here then depart, they come and go. How long will you sit here? When I come again I will find someone else sitting here. Hence I call it a serai. This is not a home. A home is a place where once you stay, you stay…where no one can drive you away, where it is not possible to be driven out.”
Ibrahim, it is said, descended from the throne and said to that fakir, “I bow down to you. This is a serai. You stay here, I am going. What’s the use of staying in a serai?”
Ibrahim left the palace. He must have been capable, ready.
Janak says, “In one moment I saw that I renounced this world and the body. I became a sannyasin. With what skill did you do this? What is this teaching you gave? What skillfulness you have! What art you have!”
Amazing, having renounced the body and the world, now through the skill of your teaching…
“What skill! What a master I have met.”
…I see only the divine.
“Now I see only the divine. I don’t see anything else. Now all this appears only as manifestations of the divine, just his waves.”