It is said of Alexander the Great that when he was dying, tears were rolling down his cheeks, because the physicians had told him that he had only twenty-four hours at the most; his death was absolutely certain within twenty-four hours. His physician asked, “Why are you crying? You are a brave man.”
Alexander said, “I had promised my mother that I would come back home. In twenty four hours I cannot reach there. At least forty-eight hours are needed, and I am ready to give my whole kingdom to you if you can manage twenty-four hours more for me. I would like to fulfill my promise. I have given my word, and my mother will be waiting for me.”
The physician said, “It is impossible. Nothing can be done. In fact twenty-four hours is also too optimistic a hope. As I see it, things are going down the drain. Within two or three hours you will be gone. Twenty-four hours is the most, more than that is not possible.” And Alexander died within six hours. Before he died, he asked for one thing only. He said, “When you take me towards the cemetery, let my hands hang outside the casket.” “Why?” asked his generals. “It has never been done, it is not conventional. Why this eccentric idea?”
Alexander said, “For a simple reason. I would like people to know that I am going empty-handed. I am dying like a dog. Let people know. I lived with the idea that I am great, that I am the world conqueror. But all that I have managed to do is waste my life. My whole kingdom is not capable of purchasing even a few minutes for me.”Death is so powerful, but one thing it cannot take away from you, that is meditation. If you can become rooted in your being, alert, conscious, watchful, you will see that you are not the body, and you are not the mind, and you are not the heart. You are simply the witnessing soul, and that witnessing will go with you.