Paulo Coelho shared this story originally in his blog; “There was once a well-known scholar, who lived in a mountain in the Himalayas. Tired of living with men, he had chosen a simple life and spent most of his time meditating. His fame, however, was so great that people were willing to walk narrow paths, climb steep hills, swim rivers – to meet the holy man who was believed to be able to resolve any trouble of the human heart.
The wise man, as he was full of compassion, gave some advice here and there, but kept trying to get rid of unwanted visitors. Still, they appeared in larger groups, and once a day a crowd knocked on his door, saying that great stories about him were published in their local newspaper and that everyone was sure he knew how to overcome the difficulties of their lives. The wise man said nothing but asked them to sit and wait. Three days passed, and more people arrived. When there was no room for anyone else, he addressed the people who were outside his door.
“Today I will give the answer that everyone wants. But you must promise that, to have your problems solved, you will not tell the new pilgrims that I moved here – so that you can continue to live in the solitude you so much crave. Men and women have made a sacred oath that if the wise fulfilled their promises, they would not let any more pilgrims climb the mountain.” “Tell me your problems,” said the sage.
Someone began to speak, but was soon interrupted by others, as everyone knew that this was the last public hearing that the holy man was giving, and they feared that he wouldn’t have the time to listen to all of them. Minutes later, confusion was created, many voices were shouting at the same time, people were crying, men and women were tearing their hair out in despair because it was impossible to hear. The wise man let the situation be prolonged a little, until he cried, “Silence!”