“You cannot escape death and you cannot escape aloneness.” Osho would tell many fine stories to illustrate his talks. “The Merchant of Baghdad”, a Sufi parable, is one of my favourites and one that I have posted to Facebook on numerous occasions.

“The Merchant of Baghdad”
There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions, and in a little while the servant came back white and trembling and said, “Master, just now in the marketplace I was jostled by a man in the crowd, and when I turned I saw it was Death. He looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now, lend me your fastest horse and I will go to Samarra, and there Death will not find me.”

The merchant lent his horse, and the servant mounted and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and saw Death standing in the crowd, and he came to Death and said, “Why, why did you make a threatening gesture to my poor servant when you saw him this morning?”
“That was not a threatening gesture, sir,” Death replied. “It was merely a start of surprise; for I was astonished to see him here in Baghdad as I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”

You cannot escape. If you are going to die in Samarra, you will reach there somehow!
You cannot escape death and you cannot escape aloneness. Try as you will—try, but all efforts fail. Nobody has ever succeeded in avoiding aloneness, because aloneness is your being. When you are avoiding aloneness you are avoiding yourself—how can you avoid yourself? How can you escape from yourself? In trying to escape, you miss—you miss the beauty of being alone. In fact, you start thinking of yourself as lonely because you have missed the beauty of aloneness.

Aloneness is tremendously beautiful; loneliness is ugly. They don’t mean the same, notwithstanding what the dictionaries say. Aloneness is such a beautiful experience. You ARE—pure, uncontaminated by anybody else’s presence; no shadow falling on you—a clarity, unclouded … your being pure, virgin—nobody has ever travelled in that territory………

An Osho story
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