But the unconscious man cannot do anything better. Friedrich Nietzsche is right when he says that if all your prayers were fulfilled, you would be in utter hell. Your prayers are coming from your unconsciousness; you don’t know what you are asking for. It is good that God is deaf and no prayer is ever answered; otherwise you would repent…”Why have I prayed…?”
And this was the situation with king Midas. He had never thought of all the implications of his whole lifelong prayer. Morning and evening he went on praying only for one thing: “I don’t want anything else. Just a simple thing – whatever I touch should be transformed into gold.”
But as the prayer was granted he became aware of its implications. He could not eat because whatever he touched turned into gold. He could not drink because by the time his lips touched the water, it would turn into gold. His wife escaped, his children left him, his friends stopped coming to see him. Even his servants remained alert. All his great courtiers forgot to come to his court. He used to sit alone – hungry, thirsty, but it was now too late. It took his whole life to pray to get the wish. Now to get it canceled would take a whole life again!
He started praying but nothing happened. He died from starvation, and he killed a few people by touching them. He certainly made a gold palace by touching his house; all his furniture became gold – but what is the purpose of it? He suffered so badly as perhaps nobody has ever suffered, and he was one of the richest men in the world.
You have heard about “green thumbs” – gardeners have them. Great gardeners have them; whatever they touch turns green. King Midas had golden fingers; whatever he touched turned into gold. But he lost his wife, he lost his friends, he lost his courtiers, he lost everything – although he was the most successful and the richest man.
A man of awareness, a buddha, also has a transforming power: whatever he touches becomes blissful. Misery comes to him and he finds in it something blissful; sadness comes to him and he finds something immensely beautiful and silent in it. Death comes to him but he finds only immortality in it. Whatever he touches is transformed, because now he has the transcendental perspective. And that is the greatest power in the world – not power over anybody, but simply your intrinsic power.
Night becomes as beautiful as day; death becomes as much a celebration as life, because the man of transcendence knows that he is eternal.
Lives come and go, deaths come and go. He remains untouched, he remains always beyond.
This quality of remaining always beyond is the true enlightenment. Heaven and hell are nothing to him. Hence, once when Bodhidharma was asked, “What do you say about heaven and hell?” he said, “I cannot say anything because it all depends on you.”
The man was puzzled: how can heaven and hell depend on a poor man? Bodhidharma said, “There is no hell and there is no heaven. Wherever a man of awareness dwells, there is heaven; and wherever a man of unawareness dwells, there is hell.”