Osho Wisdom Stories
A great King, Yayati
Osho : In India we have a very beautiful story.
A great king, Yayati, was going to die. Death came.... It is an ancient story; in those days things were simple and the other world was not so far away. Death came and knocked on the door. Yayati opened the door and he said, ”What? I have lived for only a hundred years, and here you are – and with no notice! At least some time should be given. I have not fulfilled my real desires yet. I have been postponing: tomorrow, tomorrow; and now you are here, and there will be no tomorrow. This is cruel! Be kind!”
Death said, ”I have to take somebody, I cannot go empty-handed. But seeing your misery, your old age, I will grant you a hundred years more. But then one of your sons has to go with me.” Yayati had one hundred sons – he had one hundred wives – so he said, ”That is simple!” It was not so simple as he had thought. He called his hundred sons and asked one to go. ”Save your old father’s life! Many times you have said, ’Father, we can die for you.’ Now the time has come to prove it!” But these things are always said; they are polite nothings. The sons started looking at each other.
Somebody was seventy, somebody was seventy-five, somebody was sixty; they themselves were getting very old. The youngest was just twenty. The youngest son stood up and he said, ”I am ready to go.” Nobody could believe it! His ninety-nine brothers could not believe it; they thought he was a fool. And he had not lived yet, not at all. He was only twenty, just on the threshold of the beginning. Even Death felt compassion. Death took the young man aside, whispered in his ear, ”Are you a fool? Your older brothers are not ready, they have lived long. Seventy-five years somebody has lived – he is not ready.
And you are ready? Your father does not want to die. He is a hundred years old, and you are only twenty.”
The young man said something very beautiful, something of tremendous import. He said, ”Seeing this, that my father has lived one hundred years and he has ALL that one can have, and he is still not satisfied, I see the futility of life. What is the point? I may live one hundred years and the situation will be the same. And if it was only my father then I would have thought, ’Maybe he is an exception.’ But my brothers – seventy-five, seventy, sixty-five, sixty – have also lived long. They have enjoyed every kind of thing; now what else is there to enjoy?
They are getting old and they are not satisfied. So one thing is certain: this is not the way to become satisfied. Hence I am ready, and I am coming with you, not in any despair but in tremendous understanding. I am coming with you with great cheerfulness that I have not to pass through this torture, these one hundred years of torture which my father has had to suffer. He has not yet become able enough to go with you.” And the story continues. One hundred years again passed; they came and were gone, nothing was noticed.
Again Death knocked. When Death knocked, only then did Yayati become aware again that one hundred years had passed. He said, ”But I am not ready!” And this went on happening, and each time a son went with Death, and for one thousand years Yayati lived. This is really a symbolic story. After one thousand years Death came, and Death said, ”What do you think now?” Yayati said, ”I am coming. Enough is enough! I have seen that nothing can ever be fulfilled here. Desires go on growing; you fulfill one desire and ten others arise. It is a process ad infinitum.
Now I am coming willingly, and now I can say that my first son who went with you and was only twenty years old had intelligence. I was stupid. It took one thousand years for me to see it and he could see it when he was only twenty. That is intelligence! ” If you are intelligent you will see the futility of greed. If you are intelligent you will start living rather than preparing to live. Greed is preparing to live. And you can go on preparing, and the time to live will never come. If you are intelligent you will not miss today for tomorrow. You will not sacrifice this moment for another moment, you will live this moment in its totality.
You will squeeze the whole juice out of this moment. Jesus says to his disciples, ”Think not of the morrow.” He is simply saying, ”Don’t be greedy” – because whenever you think of the morrow you become greedy. It is greed that thinks of the morrow. Jesus says to his disciples: Look at the lily flowers in the field. What is their secret? Why are they so beautiful? Even Solomon attired in all his grandeur was not so beautiful. What is their secret? Their secret is simple: they think not of the morrow, they live in the moment. This moment is all and all. There is nothing behind, nothing ahead. They enjoy this moment with their total being. Greed means postponing your life for tomorrow.
Try to see your greed. It can take so many forms: it can be worldly, it can be other-worldly. Beware! It may take the form of: ”This life is not worth living so I will prepare for another life. This earth is not worth living on, I will prepare for paradise.” But this is greed! Of your so-called saints ninety-nine percent are greedy people, far more greedy than the people you will find in the marketplace. The greed of the people who live in the marketplace is not that great, their greed is very ordinary. They are asking for more money – that is very ordinary. Your saints, your mahatmas say, ”This is temporary.
We ask for something permanent, we want something eternal. We will sacrifice the temporal for the eternal.” There is a great motivation; out of the corner of their eyes they are waiting for paradise. There they will enjoy and there they will show these fools who were rushing in the marketplace, ”Look, we had told you before, we had warned you. Now you have to suffer in hell, and we will enjoy all the heavenly joys.” But this is greed, and wherever greed is, there is no heaven. Greed is hell; it may be worldly, it may be otherworldly.
Source: "The Guest" - Osho