You have seen corpses being carried down the road for burning. You have also been standing at the roadside and felt sympathy for a moment. And you might have said, “This poor guy has died – what a tragedy! He was still young, he left behind his young wife and kids. How tragic!” You had pity for the dead person – you didn’t feel any pity for yourself.
The person dying brought the message of your death: today he goes carried on a stretcher, tomorrow or the next day you will be loaded up and carried away. Just as you are standing at the roadside feeling sympathy for him, other people will also be standing along the road feeling sympathy for you. You will be so helpless that you won’t even be able to thank them. The dead body you see going down the road is yours.
If you have the eyes, the vision, the depth, a profound awareness, then when one man dies, the whole of humanity dies and life becomes meaningless. Buddha renounced everything and went away. But when he became enlightened he thought that whoever was going to wake up would wake up anyway, without anyone awakening him. For that person any excuse would be enough.
It is said that a Zen nun was carrying water back from the well when her pole broke and the pots crashed down. It was a fullmoon night, and the moon was reflected in the water pots. Shouldering the pole with the pots suspended from it, she was returning to the ashram and watching the reflection of the moon in the pots. The pots fell. She stood there in shock. The pots fell, water flowed out – the moon too flowed out. It is said enlightenment occurred then and there; samadhi happened. She returned dancing. She had seen that this world is nothing more than a reflection.
Whatever we go on making here will break any moment. All these moons will vanish. All these beautiful poems will disappear. These charming faces will all vanish. They are all reflections on water. She saw this – all was finished.
Buddha thought, “What’s the use? Who will I speak to? Those who are going to wake up will wake up sooner or later without me, it is only a question of a little time. And those who don’t want to wake up, even if I scream and shout they will just roll over and go back to sleep. If they open their eyes they will look angry and ask, ‘Why are you disturbing my sleep? Don’t you have anything better to do? Can’t you let those who want to sleep, sleep in peace? I was sleeping soundly and you come along to wake me up.’”
You tell someone to wake you up early, and when he wakes you, you are angry. You had told him, “I have to catch a train: wake me up early, at four o’clock.” But when he wakes you up you are ready to kill!
Immanuel Kant was a great German thinker. He would get up every day at three o’clock in the morning. He followed the clock, followed the very hands of the clock. It is said that when he went to the university to teach, people along the way set their watches by him – because for years, thirty years continuously, he would set out at exactly the same minute, the same second.