“What kind of home is this where people go on changing? It is a caravanserai. It is just an overnight stay, and then one has to go.”
…your real home is where you are going. This world is not your real home. It is only a so-called home. It is just a consolation to call it home. […]
I have told you the story of a Sufi mystic.
One night in Baghdad, the king heard somebody walking on the roof of his palace. He shouted, “Who is there? And what are you doing there?”
The man was not a thief. Without any fear he said, “Don’t shout, that may disturb other people’s sleep. It is none of your business. I am looking for my camel. My camel is lost and it is time for you to go to sleep.”
The king could not believe what kind of madman could be on the roof of a palace searching for his camel. He called the guards and they searched all over the place but could not find the man. And the next day when he was sitting in his court he heard the same voice again; he recognized it.
The king immediately said, “Bring that man in,” because he was arguing with the guard in front of the gate that he wanted to stay in the caravanserai.
And the guard said, “You will be getting into problems unnecessarily. This is the palace of the king; this is not a caravanserai.”
The man said, “I know it is a caravanserai and you are just a guard. Don’t bother me. Just let me go in. I want to discuss the matter with the king himself. If I can convince him that this is a caravanserai then I will stay. If he can convince me it is not a caravanserai, then of course I will leave. But I won’t listen to you; you are just a guard.”
And just at that moment the message came from inside, “Don’t stop that man. We are in search of him; bring him in.”
The Sufi mystic was called in and the king said, “You seem to be a very strange fellow. I recognize your voice. You were the man on the roof searching for your camel and now you are calling my place, my home, a caravanserai.”
The man laughed and said, “You seem to be a man of some understanding. It is possible to talk with you. Yes, it was me who was looking for the camel on the roof of the palace. Don’t think that I’m insane. If you can look for blissfulness sitting on a golden throne, if you can look for God while continuously conquering and butchering and burning living human beings, what is wrong in searching for a camel on the roof of the palace? You tell me!
“If I am inconsistent you are also not consistent. And what right have you got to call this place your home, because I have been here before and on the same golden throne I have seen another man sitting. He looked just like you – a little older.”
The king said, “He was my father. Now he’s dead.” And the mystic said, “I was here even before that and I found another man. He also looked a little bit like you but very old.” The king said, “You are right, he was my grandfather.” And the mystic said, “What happened to him?” The king said, “He is dead.”
And the mystic said, “When are you going to die? They also believed that this is their home. I have argued with your grandfather. Now the poor fellow is in the grave. I have argued with your father; that poor fellow is also in the grave. Now I am arguing with you and someday I will come back again and I will be arguing with your son and you will be in a grave. So what kind of home is this where people go on changing? It is a caravanserai. It is just an overnight stay, and then one has to go.”
The king was shocked but was silent. The whole court was silent. The man was right. And the mystic finally said, “If you really want to know where your home is, go to the graveyard where finally you will have to settle, where your grandfather is, where your father is. That is the real place that you can call your home, but not this palace. Here I am going to stay as if it is a caravanserai.”
The king was certainly not an ordinary man. He stood up and told the mystic, “Forgive me, I was wrong. You are right. You can stay as long as you want. I am going in search of my real home. This is not my real home.”
This world is only a caravanserai.
Osho, Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master, Ch 10 (excerpt)