The king who tried to escape death

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

“Wherever you go you will find death waiting for you,” states Osho. From our series 1001 Tales, compiled by Shanti.

King horseback

In all the directions death is waiting. In all the places death is waiting.

I have heard a very famous story, a Sufi story:

A king dreamt. In the night in his dream he saw Death. He became afraid. He asked, “What is the matter? Why are you making me so frightened?”

Death said, “I have come to tell you that tomorrow, by sunset, I am coming, so get ready. It is just out of compassion so that you can prepare.”

The king was so shocked, his sleep was broken. It was the middle of the night; he called his ministers and he said, “Find people who can interpret the dream, because time is short. Maybe it is true!”

Then the interpreters came, but as interpreters always have been, they were great scholars. They brought many big books and they started discussing and disputing and arguing. And the sun started rising, and it was morning. And an old man, who was a very trusted servant to the king, he came to the king and he whispered in his ear, “Don’t be foolish! These people will quarrel for ever and ever, and they will never come to any conclusion.”

Now, everybody was trying that his interpretation was right, and the king was more confused than ever. So he asked the old man, “Then what am I supposed to do?”

He said, “Let them continue their discussions. They are not going to conclude so soon – and the sun will be setting, because once it has risen the sunset is not very far. Rather, take my advice and escape – at least escape from this palace. Be somewhere else! By the evening reach somewhere as far away as possible.”

The logic looked right. The king had a very fast horse, the fastest in the world. He rushed, he escaped. Hundreds of miles he passed. By the time he reached a certain town, the sun was just about to set. He was very happy. He patted his horse and he said, “You did well. We have come very far.”

And when he was patting his horse, suddenly he felt somebody was standing behind him. He looked back – the same shadow of Death.

And Death started laughing. And the king said, “What is the matter? Why are you laughing?”

Death said, “I was worried because you were destined to die under this tree – and I was worried how you would manage to reach. Your horse is really great! It did well. Let me also pat your horse. That’s why I came in your dream: I wanted you to escape from the palace, because I was very worried how it would happen, how you would be able to reach. The place looked so far away and only one day was left. But your horse did well, you have come in time.”

Wherever you go you will find death waiting for you. So, that cannot be avoided – then mind starts imagining some way to avoid it.

Quote by Osho from The Discipline of Transcendence – Discourses on the forty-two sutras of Buddha, Vol 3, Ch 5

The series 1001 Tales has been compiled by Shanti

Comments are closed.