The old man said, “It is easy. He will be very old – at least thirty years older than me – and he will be sitting under a tree.” And he described the tree, what kind of tree it would be, and he described the moment of meeting. He described it in such detail that the young man was puzzled…how he could manage to describe even the moment of meeting?
But the old man said, “It will take at least thirty years for you to find him.”
The young man thanked the old man and went on in search. Now he has some signs, some indications: a certain tree that he can recognize in the evening when the sun is setting, an old man who will be thirty years older than the man he has just left…. Of course it is going to be a long journey, wandering here and there, but the old man said things with such authority, with such certainty, that it was almost indubitable.
He wandered in the desert, and he never came across the tree that was described, he never met a man who was thirty years older than the old man. Every evening when the sun was setting he looked all around. No master appeared.
Utterly frustrated and disappointed, now himself becoming old, tired and tattered with the journey in the desert, he came back home. Strangely enough, the old man was still sitting under the tree.
The last time when he was there and the old man was describing the tree – its leaves, its flowers, its fruit, its height, its foliage, its deep shade even in the middle of a sunny day – he had never looked at the tree under which the old man was sitting. He was describing the same tree, but now the man recognized it. After wandering for thirty years looking at every tree, he had become almost accustomed to looking at the tree first.
“My God,” he said, “this is the tree! I never came across the same tree anywhere.” And the old man was certainly thirty years older, and all the descriptions that he had given about the master were absolutely apparent in the old man – and the sun was setting.
The old man said, “So you have come! I had to wait so long. I was already old enough and ready to die, but just for you I had to wait thirty years.”
The young man said, “This is so stupid! Why didn’t you tell me at the first moment of meeting that this is the tree and you are the master?”
The old man laughed. He said, “I had told it in every possible way, but you were not ripe. Your understanding was almost absent. These thirty years have ripened you and now you can recognize that which you failed to recognize when you met me. I am your master.”
The student is very accidental. There is every possibility that he will never become a disciple. He may go from one place to another, he may gather much knowledge, but he will never become aware of his own being – which is the only true knowledge in existence; the only knowledge that takes you away from darkness to light, away from death to immortality and away from ignorance to innocence. It is the only knowledge that is not information but transformation.