The emperor went and he saw the Sumeru shining under thousands of suns – because in heaven you cannot be so poor as to have just one sun – thousands of suns, and a golden mountain far bigger than the Himalayas – and the Himalayas are almost two thousands miles long! He could not open his eyes for a moment, it was so glaring there. And then he started looking for a space, the right space, but he was very much puzzled: there was no space; the whole mountain was engraved with names.
He could not believe his eyes. For the first time he became aware what he was. Up to now he was thinking he was a superman who happens once in thousands of years. But time has been from eternity; even thousands of years didn’t make any difference, so many chakravartins had happened already. There was no space on that biggest mountain in the whole universe where he could write his small name.
He came back, and now he understood that the gatekeeper was right not to take his wife and his commander-in-chief and his prime minister and other intimate friends. It was good that they had not seen the situation. They would still believe that their emperor was a rare being.
He took the gatekeeper inside and he said, “But there is no space!”
The gatekeeper said, “That’s what I was telling you. What you have to do is to erase a few names and write down your name. That’s what has been done; my whole life I have been seeing this done, my father used to say this has been done. My father’s father – none of my family have seen Sumeru empty, or any space ever.
“Whenever a chakravartin has come he had to erase a few names and write his own name. So this is not the whole history of the chakravartins. Many times it has been erased, many times it has been engraved. You just do your work, and then if you want to show your friends you can bring them in.”
The emperor said, “No, I don’t want to show them and I don’t want to even write my name. What is the point? – someday somebody will come and erase it.
“My whole life has become utterly meaningless. This was my only hope, that Sumeru, the golden mountain in heaven was going to have my name. For this I have lived, for this I have staked my life; for this I was ready to kill the whole world. And anybody else can erase my name and write his. What is the point of writing it? I will not write it.” The gatekeeper laughed.
The emperor said, “Why are you laughing?”
The gatekeeper said, “This is strange, because this too I have been hearing from my grandfathers – that chakravartins come, and seeing the whole story, just turn back; they don’t write their names. You are not new: anybody having a little intelligence would do the same.”
In this whole world what can you gain?
What can you take away with you?
Your name, your prestige, your respectability? Your money, your power – what? Your scholarship?
You cannot take anything.
Everything will have to be dropped here.