The other day I told you about Masto’s disappearance. I think he is still alive. In fact I know he is. In the East, this has been one of the most ancient ways, to disappear in the Himalayas before you die. To die in that beautiful part is richer than to live anywhere else; even dying there has something of the eternal. Perhaps it is the vibe of the saints chanting for thousands of years. The Vedas were composed there, the Gita was written there, the Buddha was born and died there, Lao Tzu, in his last days disappeared in the Himalayas. And Masto did almost the same.
No one knows yet whether Lao Tzu died or not. How can one be decisive? Hence the legend that he is immortal. Nobody is. One who is born is bound to die. Lao Tzu must have died, but people never came to know of it. At least one should be able to have a completely private death, if one wants it.
Masto took care of me more efficiently than Pagal Baba could ever have done. First, Baba was really the madman. Secondly, he would come only once in a while, like a whirlwind, to visit me, then disappear. This is not the way to care. Once I even told him, saying, “Baba, you talk so much about how you are taking care of this child, but before you say it again, I must be heard.”
He laughed and said, “I understand, you need not say it, but I will pass you on to the right hands. I am not really capable of taking care of you. Can you understand that I am ninety years old? It is time for me to leave the body. I am hanging around just to find the right person for you. Once I have found him I can relax into death.”
I never knew then that he was really serious, but that’s what he did. He handed over his charge to Masto, and died, laughing. That was the last thing he did.
Zarathustra may have laughed when he was born…nobody is a witness, but he must have laughed; his whole life indicated toward it. It was that laughter which caught the attention of one of the most intelligent men in the West, Friedrich Nietzsche. But Pagal Baba really laughed as he died, before we could ask why. We could not have asked the question anyway. He was not a philosopher, and he would not have answered even if he had lived. But what a way to die! And remember it was not just a smile. I really mean a laughter.
Everybody there looked at each other, thinking, “What’s the matter?” until he laughed so loudly that everybody thought that up till then he had been only mildly mad – but now he had gone to the extreme. They all left. Naturally, nobody laughs when one is born, just as part of etiquette; and nobody laughs at death, again, just nothing but a mannerism. Both are British.