Gold has always been symbolic, both in the East and in the West. For centuries alchemists have talked about it, and they have been very misunderstood because people thought that they were talking about real gold. They were talking about gold only as a metaphor. Man can become gold, he has all the chemicals needed for that transmutation, but those chemicals have to be mixed in the right proportion, heated in the right way to the right degree. Only in a mystery school is that possible. It is the world of inner chemistry. And the moment everything inside you is put in the right place, a great harmony arises.
Ordinarily a man is like an orchestra in which there is no conductor, no guide and everybody is playing solo. Although it is an orchestra, everybody is playing solo according to his own ideas, not bothering about others, what they are doing, not making any effort to bring harmony; hence the noise, hence the craziness inside, the insanity. Almost the whole of humanity is insane. Of course people differ in degrees: a few people are more insane and a few less, but a difference of degree is not much of a difference.
Only very few people — once in a while a Buddha, a Lao Tzu, a Basho, a Jesus — have been able to become guides of all their elementary forces and have been able to play not solo, but an orchestra. These few people who have been able to bring some accord into their beings have known the ultimate truth.
That’s what is meant by gold. It is the most precious metal; hence it became symbolic.