A great king came to Buddha. When he was coming to see Buddha for his darshan, he
was worried. He wanted to take something to offer to Buddha. He asked his wife, because he was going for the first time.
He should go with some offering, some present for the Buddha — but what would be appropriate? He had one of the most beautiful diamonds available in the whole world. So he said, “I will take this diamond. This will be unique. Even Buddha may not have seen something like this because there is nothing to compare with THIS diamond; this is incomparable. Many kings go to him and they must have offered many things to him — I want to offer him something special so he remembers me.”
The wife started laughing because she used to go to Buddha, she WAS a disciple. She said, “You are going for the first time so you don’t know about Buddha. Take your diamond, but to a Buddha a diamond is just a pebble. But take it so you feel good; you will feel happy, take it. But take my advice also: Buddha would be more happy if you took a lotus flower, and in our pond there are beautiful lotus flowers. I will bring one.”
The king asked, “Why a lotus flower?”
And the wife said, “It is very symbolic. It represents the whole evolution of man.
Man is mud, but out of mud one day a lotus rises. Man is just mud, but carries in him the seed of being a lotus, so the lotus is a very pregnant metaphor. He will appreciate the lotus more because it represents man from sex to samadhi, it represents man from the lowest to the highest, from the earthly to the divine.”
So he took both the things. He was not convinced about the lotus because “It is an ordinary flower; you can find it in all kinds of ponds. And thousands of people must have offered Buddha lotuses, so what is special about it? But if the wife says, then okay.” Just to make her happy, he took both.
When he reached, he bowed down to Buddha, offered first the diamond. Obviously, because that was HIS idea. He was thinking, “If he doesn’t accept the diamond, then I will offer the lotus.” So with one hand he offered the diamond.
Buddha looked at him and said, “Drop it.” It was hard for him to drop it. He wanted it to be accepted, received, appreciated. Drop it? But when Buddha is saying, “Drop it,” and ten thousand of Buddha’s sannyasins are watching, he could not say no. It was hard. He had been hiding and protecting this diamond his whole life. It was so unique, nobody had anything like this. This was his glory. He was known all over the country for his diamond. And now this man says, “Drop it!”
Ten thousand sannyasins silently looking… it was difficult to say no. So he dropped it, unwillingly, with great reluctance, resistance, but still in spite of himself he had to do it. He dropped it. He didn’t feel good about it. This is not the way to receive a gift of such quality.
Then he thought, “Maybe my wife was right,” and he presented the flower — not so happy, because that was not his idea.
Buddha looked at the flower and again said, “Drop it.” Now this was too much. But when you are confronting a Buddha you cannot fight. But it was not so difficult to drop the flower. There was no problem in it, he simply dropped it. In fact, he felt a little good, “So here goes the wife! and all that great metaphor and the poetry of the lotus flower — so here it goes! Not only my diamond is refused but the lotus also.” Then both hands were empty and he was feeling a little silly. Now what to do?
Looking at him, Buddha again said, “Drop it!” Now there was nothing to drop. It was incomprehensible. This man looked mad — that was the suspicion when he had said drop the diamond — that idea had arisen then, “This man seems to be mad.” Now it was absolutely certain that this man WAS mad. Now there was nothing to drop!
The chief disciple of Buddha, Ananda, started laughing. The king was looking silly. He asked, “What is the matter with you? Why are you laughing? And what am I supposed to do?”
Ananda said, “Buddha never meant that you have to drop the diamond. Buddha never meant that you have to drop the lotus. He was telling you: Drop the idea that you ARE — that you have come, that you are a great king, that you have bought a great gift, that nobody has such a diamond. Drop that ego — because that is the only offering we can bring to a Buddha. Nothing else is accepted, nothing else is acceptable, nothing else is worthwhile.”
In that moment a great understanding arose in the king. He fell at the feet of Buddha, and, it is said, instantly he became enlightened. In that very falling, the ego disappeared, there was nobody inside.
And when there is nobody inside, God is. God has always been there, hiding behind you. When you disappear, he appears.