Why are we afraid of death? What is acceptance in the face of cancer? How do I decide whose advice to take? How to relax in the certainty of death? Ought we to tell someone when they are dying or not? Is the theory of reincarnation true? What is happening around the dying? How best to support a dying person? My young daughter is asking about death: what do I tell her? How can I celebrate death as you suggest?
Osho responds to these questions and many others from those who find themselves inexplicably attracted to the subject, as well as from those who are facing imminent death and from their carers. He does not simply show how our fear of death is based on a misunderstanding of its nature; he also shows how dying is a tremendous opportunity for inner growth and how death is the most sacred of mysteries.
Death is not an event but a process, and one that begins with birth. Each exhalation is a small death; each inhalation, a rebirth. When life is lived consciously and totally, death is not a catastrophe but a joyous climax.
The boy said, “No, just seeing the situation makes me completely certain. Don’t feel sad or sorry; I am going with absolute awareness. I can see that if my father is not satisfied in one hundred years, what is the point of being here? How can I be satisfied? I am seeing my ninety-nine brothers; nobody is satisfied. So why waste time? At least I can do this favor to my father. In his old age, let him enjoy one hundred years more. But I am finished. Seeing the situation that nobody is satisfied, I can understand one thing completely – that even if I live one hundred years, I will not be satisfied either. So it doesn’t matter whether I go today or after ninety years. You just take me.”
Death took the boy. And after one hundred years he came back. And Yayati was in the same position. And he said, “These hundred years passed so soon. All my old sons have died, but I have another regiment. I can give you some son. Just have mercy on me.”
It went on – the story goes on to say – for one thousand years. Ten times Death came. And nine times he took some son and Yayati lived one hundred years more. The tenth time Yayati said, “Although I am still as unsatisfied as I was when you came for the first time, now – although unwillingly, reluctantly – I will go, because I cannot go on asking for favors. It is too much. And one thing has become certain to me, that if one thousand years cannot help me to be contented, then even ten thousand will not.”
It is the attachment. You can go on living but as the idea of death strikes you, you will start trembling. But if you are not attached to anything, death can come this very moment and you will be in a very welcoming mood. You will be absolutely ready to go. In front of such a man, death is defeated. Death is defeated only by those who are ready to die any moment, without any reluctance. They become the immortals, they become the buddhas.
This freedom is the goal of all religious search. Freedom from attachment is freedom from death. Freedom from attachment is freedom from the wheel of birth and death.
Freedom from attachment makes you capable of entering into the universal light and becoming one with it. And that is the greatest blessing, the ultimate ecstasy beyond which nothing else exists. You have come home.
Death cannot be denied by repeating that death does not exist.
Death will have to be known, it will have to be encountered,
it will have to be lived.
You will have to become acquainted with it.
Sometimes we talk about great things – God, heaven and hell – just to avoid the real question. The real question is not God, cannot be, because what acquaintance have you got with God? What do you know about God? How can you inquire about something that is absolutely unknown to you? It will be an empty inquiry. It will be at the most curiosity, it will be juvenile, childish, stupid.
Stupid people ask about God, the intelligent person asks about death. The people who go on asking about God never find God, and the person who asks about death is bound to find God – because it is death that transforms you, changes your vision. Your consciousness is sharpened because you have raised a real question, an authentic question, the most important question of life.
Truth has to be eternal if it is true – only lies are momentary.
I have already become ill, I have already become old, I am already on the verge of death. If one day I am going to die, then what is the point of all this nonsense? – living and waiting for death. Before it comes, I would like to know something that never dies. Now I will devote my whole life to the search for something deathless. If there is something deathless, then the only significant thing in life can be the search for it.
If you believe you will disbelieve too. Nobody can believe without disbelieving. Let it be settled once for all: nobody can believe without disbelieving. Every belief is a cover-up for disbelief.
That is impossible. Nobody can deceive himself; deep down somewhere you will know, you are bound to know, that the wound exists and you are hiding it behind a roseflower. And you know the roseflower is arbitrary: it has not grown in you, you have plucked it from the outside, while the wound has grown inside you; you have not plucked it from the outside.
The child brings the doubt in him – an inner doubt, that is natural. It is because of the doubt he inquires, it is because of the doubt he questions. Go with a child for a morning walk in the woods, and he brings so many questions that you feel bored, that you want to tell him to shut up. But he goes on asking.
From where are these questions coming? They are natural to the child. Doubt is an inner potential; it is the only way the child will be able to inquire and search and seek. Nothing is wrong about it. Your priests have been telling you a lie, that there is something wrong about doubt. There is nothing wrong about it. It is natural, and it has to be accepted and respected. When you respect your doubt, it is no longer a wound; when you reject it, it becomes a wound.
Let it be very clear: doubt itself is not a wound. It is a tremendous help, because it will make you an adventurer, explorer. It will take you to the farthest star in search of truth, it will make you a pilgrim. It is not unhealthy to have doubt. Doubt is beautiful, doubt is innocent, doubt is natural. But the priests have condemned it down the ages. Because of their condemnation, the doubt which could have become a flowering of trust has become just a stinking wound. Condemn anything and it becomes a wound, reject anything and it becomes a wound.
My teaching is that the first thing to be done is not to try to believe. Why? If doubt is there, doubt is there! There is no need to hide it. In fact, allow it, help it, let it become a great quest. Let it become a thousand and one questions – and ultimately you will see it is not the questions that are relevant, it is the question mark! Doubt is not a search for belief; doubt simply is groping for the mystery, making every effort to understand the un-understandable, to comprehend the incomprehensible – a groping effort.
And if you go on searching, seeking, without stuffing yourself with borrowed beliefs, two things will happen. One: you will never have any disbelief.
Remember, doubt and disbelief are not synonymous. Disbelief happens only when you have already believed, when you have already deceived yourself and others. Disbelief comes only when belief has entered in; it is a shadow of belief.
Can you believe without disbelieving? It is impossible; it cannot be done in the nature of things. If you want to disbelieve, the first requirement is to believe. Can you believe without any disbelief entering from the back door? Or can you disbelieve without having any belief in the first place? Believe in God, and immediately the disbelief comes in. Believe in the afterlife and disbelief arises. Disbelief is secondary, belief is primary.
drop believing. Let beliefs be dropped, they are all rubbish! Trust in doubt, that’s my suggestion; don’t try to hide it. Trust in doubt. That is the first thing to bring in your being – trust in your doubt and see the beauty of it, how beautifully trust has come in.
bring your doubt with you – trust in it, trust in your questioning and don’t be in a hurry to stuff and hide it with borrowed beliefs from the outside. From the parents, from the priests, from the politicians, from the society, the church. Your doubt is something beautiful because it is yours; it is something beautiful because it is authentic. Out of this authentic doubt some day will grow the flower of authentic trust. It will be an inner growth, it will not be an imposition from the outside.
That is the difference between belief and trust: trust grows inside you, in your interiority, in your subjectivity. Just as doubt is inner, so is trust. And only the inner can transform the inner. Belief is from the outside; it can’t help because it can’t reach to the innermost core of your being, and it is there that the doubt is.
From where to start? Trust your doubt. That’s my way of bringing trust in. Don’t believe in God, don’t believe in the soul, don’t believe in the afterlife. Trust in your doubt, and immediately a conversion has started. Trust is such a powerful force that even if you trust in your doubt you have brought light in. And doubt is like darkness. That small trust in doubt will start changing your inner world, the inner scene.
And question! Why be afraid? Why be so cowardly? Question – question all the buddhas, question me, because if there is truth, truth is not afraid of your questioning.
„Buddha said, “Don’t be worried about that. I cannot give you truth; nobody else can give it to you, it is not transferable. But you can attain it on your own. Be a light unto yourself.“
The same is my attitude. You need not believe in me. I don’t want believers here, I want seekers, and the seeker is a totally different phenomenon. The believer is not a seeker. The believer does not want to seek, that’s why he believes. The believer wants to avoid seeking, that’s why he believes. The believer wants to be delivered, saved, he needs a savior. He is always in search of a messiah – somebody who can eat for him, chew for him, digest for him. But if I eat, your hunger is not going to be satisfied. Nobody can save you except yourself.
I need seekers here, inquirers, not believers. Believers are the most mediocre people in the world, the least intelligent people in the world. So forget about belief, you are creating trouble for yourself. You start believing in me, then disbelief arises – it is bound to arise, because I am not here to fit with your expectations.
I live in my own way, I don’t consider you. I don’t consider anybody at all – because if you start considering others you can’t live your life authentically. Consider and you will become phony.
George Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples one of the most fundamental things: “Don’t consider others, otherwise you will never grow.” And that’s what is happening in the whole world, everybody is considering others: “What will my mother think? What will my father think? What will the society think? What will my wife, my husband . . . ?” What to say of the parents – even parents are afraid of children! They think, “What will our children think?” People are considering each other – and then there are millions of people to consider. If you go on considering each and everybody, you will never be an individual, you will be just a hodgepodge. So many compromises made, you would have committed suicide long ago.
It is said people die at the age of thirty and are buried at the age of seventy. Death happens very early – I think thirty is also not right, death happens even earlier. Somewhere near twenty-one, when the law and the state recognize you as a citizen, that is the moment when a person dies. In fact, that’s why they recognize you as a citizen: now you are no longer dangerous, now you are no longer wild, now you are no longer raw. Now everything has been put right in you, fixed right in you; now you have been adjusted to the society. That’s what it means when the nation gives you the right to vote: the nation can trust now that your intelligence has been destroyed – you can vote. There is no fear about you; you are a citizen, you are a civilized man. You are no longer a man then, you are a citizen.
My own observation is, people die nearabout twenty-one. Then whatsoever is, is a posthumous existence. On the graves we should start writing three dates: birth, death, and posthumous death.
They define a witty person as one who knows how to get out of difficulties, and the wise one as one who knows how never to get into them. Be wise. Why not cut the very root? Don’t believe. And then there is no question of disbelief, and the duality never arises, and you need not find a way to get out of it. Please don’t get into it.
The truth is individual, and the crowd does not care about truth. It cares about consolation; it cares about comfort. The crowd does not consist of explorers, adventurers, people who go into the unknown, fearless – risking their whole lives to find the meaning and the significance of their lives and the life of the whole of existence. The crowd simply wants to be told things that are sweet to hear, comfortable and cozy. Without any effort on their part they can relax in those consoling lies.
It is certainly going to be dangerous. I have come at the right time. I want to take away all your consolations before you die. If you can die innocent, your death will have a tremendous value. Put aside your knowledge, because it is all borrowed. Put aside your God because it is only a belief and nothing more. Put aside the idea of any heaven or hell because they are only your greed and your fear. For your whole life you have remained clinging to these things. At least before you die, gather courage – now you have nothing to lose!
“A dying man cannot lose anything: death is going to shatter everything. It is better you drop your consolations by your own hand and die innocently, full of wonder and inquiry, because death is the ultimate experience in life. It is the very crescendo.”
The old man said, “I was afraid and now you are asking me the same thing. I have worshipped God my whole life, and I know it is only a hypothesis – I have never experienced it. I have prayed to the skies, and I know no prayer has been ever replied to; there is no one to reply to it. But it has been consolatory in the sufferings of life and in the anxieties of life. What else can a helpless man do?”
I said, “Now you are no longer helpless, now there is no question of any anxiety, no suffering and no problems; they belong to life. Now life has slipped out of your hands; maybe a few minutes more you will linger here on this shore. Gather courage! Don’t encounter death as a coward.”
He closed his eyes, and he said, “I will try my best.
In life you can go on believing in lies but in death you know perfectly well that boats made of paper are not going to help in the ocean. It is better to know that you have to swim and you don’t have any boat. Clinging to a paper boat is dangerous; it may prevent you from swimming. Rather than taking you to the further shore, it may become the cause of your drowning.
They were all angry but they could not say anything. The old man, with closed eyes smiled and said, “It is unfortunate that I never listened to you. I am feeling so light and so unburdened. I am feeling so fearless; not only fearless but curious to die and to see what the mystery of death is.”
He died, and the smile remained on his face.
Look at Playboy: plastic girls, so beautiful. They don’t exist in the world; they are not real. They are manufactured photographic tricks – and everything has been done, retouched again and again. And they become the ideals and thousands of people fantasize about them and dream about them.
When you wish for something you do not have, that desire will go on troubling you as long as it remains unfulfilled.
this is all quite natural because your life has not become a work of art. If it had, you could have made your life into a beautiful sculpture. You could have given your life a definite shape; you could have cleaned it and polished it and brought out its intrinsic brilliance. If you had burned all the rubbish in your life you would have achieved the purity of gold by now. If you had chipped away all the superfluous stone, each limb of the statue would now be sheer artistry. You could have created a beautiful sculpture of your life, a beautiful work of art. But no, in spite of the fact you have done many things in your life, you have achieved nothing substantial.
People come to me and they say, “We want to save ourselves from feeling angry. What should we do?” I tell them to stay alert right from the beginning. If anger has already caught hold of you, it will be very difficult, it will be almost impossible to avoid it or to free yourself of it. You will have to pass through it. It makes no difference whether you go through it quickly or slowly, you simply have to pass through it. It may take time, but whatever has begun is sure to end at some point.“
To grow old does not mean to grow wise. Attaining wisdom means you have realized there is nothing worth achieving in this life and there is nothing worth saving. Attaining wisdom means you have explored all your desires and found them to be without substance. You have made love and found it to be nothing but lust; you have found that nature simply uses you as a means for the procreation of the species. You have earned money and found that even though it is considered valuable by society it is nothing more than soiled pieces of paper. You have attained a high position and hundreds of thousands have looked up to you with awe and respect, but you have realized that your position has not brought you any contentment, that your mind has remained discontent.
You have scaled the heights of the ego and found that there too only meanness and pettiness are to be found. You have lived in palaces but your inner poverty did not disappear.
You may have earned everything, you may have achieved everything, but only when you realize that all this acquiring is really nothing but losing do you become a wise man. Only then do you realize there is nothing worth achieving in this life. In spite of the fact you have searched in every nook and cranny you have found that there is nothing of substance in your life.
You learn this from your own vast experience. It is not by listening to someone, not by reading Kabir’s words or by listening to me that you realize this whole game of life is played in ignorance. You realize this through your own testing and through your own experience.
In this world there is no place for the enlightened man. Here, there is nothing for the enlightened man to do. This world is a child’s toy – children are playing in it, children are engrossed in it. When you are enlightened you will laugh; then you will also see it is just a toy. Then you have known. Then you are enlightened. And the moment you realize this, the chain of desires will be broken.
Sit near a man who is dying and see what frantic efforts he makes to cling to life. Do this, because you may not be conscious enough to see all of this at the time of your own death. The dying man is trying to grab at any straw to stay alive a bit longer and to remain on this shore a little while more. The call to go to the other world has come – the boat is waiting at the shore for you, the oarsman is beckoning you, calling you to make haste, saying, “Your time is over,” asking, “Why are you still clinging to that shore?”
You say, “Please, wait a moment. Let me have a little more happiness! I have not had any in my life.” You have been unhappy throughout your life and yet you want to live just a moment more in the hope of attaining a bit of happiness. This is the tragedy.
You die unsatisfied and you die thirsty. You have drunk water from several streams but your thirst has not been quenched. Your hunger was insatiable, you were unable to satisfy your tastes and so your desires have remained what they were. Even though you have gone through all sorts of experiences your desires have remained. They have even continued to disturb you up to the moment of your death. This sort of death is the death of an ignorant and foolish man.
If, after you have undergone all sorts of experiences your desires begin to disappear and you begin to laugh – if you realize that trying to squeeze happiness from this life is like trying to extract oil from sand . . . If you see that there cannot be any kind of authentic relationship in this life and that there is no way to obtain happiness in this life . . . If you see that you have been wandering in vain, that you have been traveling in a dream . . . If you become conscious of all this, then you have become a wise man. Become wise before your death. You have already died so many times.
When death comes to your door for you, go with it in full consciousness. Accompany death as an enlightened man would. Don’t go weeping and crying and shouting like a child whose toy has been snatched away from him. Don’t be childish at the time of your death.
Die with a smile on your face.
Say to death, “You are welcome. I am ready for you.”
And when you say this, not even the tiniest bit of regret should remain. In actual fact, if you have really known life there will be bliss and ecstasy in your voice – and no sorrow whatsoever.
The man who has known the truth of life will be filled with joy at the coming of death because he will soon be free from the entanglement of samsar, from the entanglement of the world. Soon this useless carry-on will be over; soon this childish toy will be put away.
Now such a man is worthy to journey to that place from which there is no return.
Question: Is there life after death?
This is a wrong question, basically meaningless. One should never jump ahead of oneself: there is every possibility that you will fall on your face. One should ask the basic question, one should begin at the beginning. My suggestion is: ask a more basic question.
For example, you can ask, “Is there life after birth?” That would be more basic, because many people are born but very few people have life. Just by being born you are not alive. You exist, certainly, but life is more than mere existence. You are born, but unless you are reborn into your being, you don’t live, you never live.
A wrong question cannot be answered, or it can be answered only in a wrong way. A wrong question presupposes a wrong answer.
You are born, but not yet really born. A rebirth is needed; you have to be twice born. The first birth is only the physical birth, the second birth is the real birth: the spiritual birth. You have to come to know yourself, who you are. You have to ask this question: Who am I? And while life is there, why not inquire into life itself? Why bother about death? When it comes, you can face it and you can know it. Don’t miss this opportunity of knowing life while life surrounds you.
If you have known life, you will have certainly known death – and then death is not the enemy, death is the friend. Then death is nothing but a deep sleep. Again there is a morning, again things will start. Then death is nothing but rest – a tremendous rest, needed rest. After the whole life of toil and tiredness, one needs a great rest. Death is going back to the source, just as in sleep.
Every night you die a little death. You call it sleep; it would be better to call it a little death. You disappear from the surface, you move into your innermost being. You are lost, you don’t know who you are. You forget all about the world, and the relationship, and the people. You die a small death, a tiny death, but even that tiny death revives you. In the morning you are full of zest and juice again, again throbbing with life, again ready to jump into a thousand and one adventures, ready to take the challenge. By the evening you will be tired again.
This is happening daily. You have not even known what sleep is; how can you know death? Death is a great sleep, a great rest after the whole life. It makes you anew, it makes you fresh, it resurrects you.
It all depends on you. Hell is not part of geography, it is part of your psychology, and so is heaven. You create your hell, you create your heaven. And it is not in the future. Herenow somebody is living in heaven and somebody is living in hell – and they may be sitting together, they may be friends.
Don’t be worried about hell and heaven; they are just your states. If you live in the mind, you live in hell. If you live in the no-mind, you live in heaven.
In the East we say that God is neither good nor bad, so whatsoever is happening is happening. There is no moral value in it; you cannot call it good or bad. You call it such because you have a certain mind. It is in reference to your mind that something becomes good and something becomes bad.
In the East we say that God is neither good nor bad, so whatsoever is happening is happening. There is no moral value in it; you cannot call it good or bad. You call it such because you have a certain mind. It is in reference to your mind that something becomes good and something becomes bad.
Wisdom is a totally different phenomenon: it is experience, not belief.
Belief is fear-oriented. You would like to believe that you are immortal but belief is just a belief: something pseudo, painted from the outside. Experience is totally different: it wells up within you and it is your own. And the moment you know, nothing can ever shake your knowing, nothing can destroy your knowing. The whole world may be against it but you will still know that you are separate. The whole world may say there is no soul but you will know there is. The whole world may say there is no God but you will smile – because the experience is self-validating, it is selfevident.
Once you accept death many things are immediately accepted. In fact if you accept death as part of life, then all other enemies are also accepted as part of friendship because the basic duality dissolves, the duality of life and death, being and non-being. If the basic duality is resolved, then all other dualities are just superficial, they dissolve. Suddenly you are at home – eyes are clear, no smoke is in them, perception is absolutely clear, and no darkness is around.
You may not be aware that in India we have named death as time. We call death ‘kal’, and we also call time ‘kal’; kal means time and kal means death as well. To use the same word for both means a very deep understanding, it is very meaningful. Time is death, death is time: the more death conscious you are, the more time conscious you will be, the less death conscious, the less time conscious. Then there is no question of time. If you have completely absorbed death into life time consciousness simply disappears. Why in the West and now in the East is there so much anxiety about death, so much so, that life cannot be enjoyed at all?
Whenever you attain to a peak, almost side by side the valley becomes deeper. A high peak can exist only with a deep valley. For rocks there is no unhappiness, no valley part, because their happiness is also on the plain ground. Man is a peak, he has risen high, but because of this rise, side by side there is a depth, a valley. You look down and you feel nauseous, you look down and you feel afraid. The valley is part of the peak, the valley cannot exist without the peak and the peak cannot exist without the valley, they are together, they are a togetherness. But a man standing at the height of the peak looks down and feels nauseous, giddy, afraid, fearful.
Consciousness is a two-edged sword; it cuts both ways. It can make you so utterly happy that that type of happiness is not known anywhere in existence; it can make you so unhappy and miserable that that type of unhappiness is also not known anywhere else in the world. Man is a double possibility; by being conscious two roads suddenly open before him.
Consciousness can become a blessing, but it can become a curse also. Every blessing comes with a curse, the problem is that it depends on you how you choose.
People live moment to moment as if the tomorrow doesn’t exist. Who accumulates? For what? Today is so beautiful, why not celebrate it, and we will see about tomorrow when it comes.
You can make a big house, but by the time it is built you are ready to go; you couldn’t live in it at all. You could have lived in a small house beautifully, even a cottage would have done, but you thought that you would live in a palace. Now the palace is ready but the man is gone. He is not there.
People accumulate wealth at the cost of their own self. Finally, eventually, one day, they become aware that they have lost themselves and that they have purchased useless things. The cost was great, but now nothing can be done, the time is past.
If you are time conscious you will be mad about accumulating things, you will transform your whole life energy into things. A man who is conscious of the whole range will enjoy this moment as much as he can. He will float. He will not bother about the tomorrow because he knows tomorrow never comes. He knows deeply that finally only one thing has to be attained – that is one’s own self.
When a person moves into a relationship, the relationship mirrors, reflects himself, and he comes to know many things that he never knew existed in him.
Through the other he comes to know his anger, his greed, his jealousy, his possessiveness, his compassion, his love and thousands of moods of his being. Many climates he encounters through the other.
You can have things for ever and ever and, moreover, they are replaceable. If one car goes you can replace it by another car of exactly the same make. But you cannot replace a person – if your wife dies, she dies for ever. You can have another wife but no other woman will ever replace her – for good or for bad, no other woman can be the same woman. If your child dies you can adopt another, but no adopted child will have the same quality of relationship that your own child can have. The wound remains, it cannot be healed.
marriage is something to cling to, it has a certificate, a court behind it. It has the force of the police and the president behind it and they will all come if something goes wrong.
But with love . . . There is the force of roses of course, but roses are not policemen, they are not presidents, they cannot protect.
Love comes and goes, marriage simply comes. It is a dead phenomenon, it is an institution. It is simply unbelievable that people like to live in institutions. Afraid, afraid of death, they have killed all possibilities of death from everywhere. They are creating an illusion around them that everything is going to stay as it is. Everything is secure and safe. Hidden behind this security they feel a certain security, but that is foolish, stupid. Nothing can save them; death will come and knock at their doors and they will die.
The fear is not of death, the fear is of time, and if you look deeply into it then you find that the fear is of an unlived life – you have not been able to live. If you live, then there is no fear. If life comes to a fulfillment there is no fear. If you have enjoyed, attained the peaks that life can give – if your life has been an orgasmic experience, a deep poetry vibrating within you, a song, a festival, a ceremony, and you lived each moment of it to its totality – then there is no fear of time. Then the fear disappears.
You are ready even if death comes today, you are ready: you have known life. In fact you will welcome death because now a new opportunity opens. A new door, a new mystery is revealed. “I have lived life. Now death is knocking at the door, I will jump to open the door. Come in! – because life I have known, I would like to know you also.“
The fear of death is fear of time. And the fear of time is, deeply down, fear of unlived moments, of an unlived life.
So what to do?
Live more, and live more intensely. Live dangerously. It is your life. Don’t sacrifice it for any sort of foolishness that has been taught to you. It is your life: Live it! Don’t sacrifice it for words, theories, countries or politics. Don’t sacrifice it for anybody. Live it! Don’t think that it is courageous to die.
The only courage is to live life totally; there is no other courage.
Dying is very simple and easy. You can go and jump off a cliff, you can hang yourself – it is such an easy thing.
Don’t sacrifice yourself. You are here for yourself and for nobody else.
Then live. And live in total freedom so intensely that every moment is transformed into eternity. If you live a moment intensely it is transformed into eternity. If you live a moment intensely you move into the vertical, you drop out of the horizontal.
If you have been in love, deeply in love, time disappears. When you are with your beloved or your lover or your friend suddenly there is no time. You are moving in depth. If you have loved music, if you have a musical heart, you know time stops. If you have a sense of beauty, aesthetic sensibility and sensitiveness – look at a rose and time disappears. Look at the moon and where is time? The clock immediately stops. The hands go on moving but time stops. If you have loved anything deeply you know that you transcend time. The secret has been revealed to you many times. Life itself reveals it to you.
Life would like you to enjoy. Life would like you to celebrate. Life would like you to participate so deeply that there is no repentance for the past, that you don’t remember the past because every moment you go more and more deep. Every moment life becomes more and more beautiful, more orgasmic, a peak experience. By and by, when you become attuned to the peak, that becomes your abode.
That’s how an enlightened man lives, he lives totally and moment to moment. Somebody asked a Zen master, “Since enlightenment what have you been doing?”
He said, “I carry water from the well, I cut wood in the forest, when I feel hungry I eat, and when I feel sleepy I sleep – that’s all.”
But remember well, when a man who has come to a deep understanding of his own being cuts wood, he simply cuts wood; there is nobody else there. In fact the cutter is not there; only the cutting of the wood, the chopping. The chopper is not there because the chopper is the past. When he eats he simply eats.
Another great Zen master has said, “When sitting, sit; when walking, walk. Above all, don’t wobble.“
Time is a problem because you have not been living rightly. It is symbolic, it is symptomatic. If you live rightly the problem of time disappears; the fear of time disappears. So, what to do?
Each moment, whatsoever you are doing, do it totally. Simple things: taking a bath, take it totally. Forget the whole world! Sitting, sit; walking, walk. Above all don’t wobble. Sit under the shower and let the whole existence fall on you. Be merged with those beautiful drops of water falling on you. Small things: cleaning the house, preparing food, washing clothes or going for a morning walk, do them totally. Then there is no need for any meditation.
Once you have learnt, made your whole life a meditation, forget all about meditations: let the life be the only law, let the life be the only meditation. Then time disappears, and remember when time disappears, death disappears. Then you are not afraid of death. In fact you wait for it.
Just think of the phenomenon: when you wait for death how can death exist?
This waiting is not suicidal, this waiting is not pathological. You lived your life. If you have lived your life death becomes the very peak of it all. Death is the climax of life, the pinnacle, the crescendo.
You lived all the small waves of eating, drinking, sleeping, walking and making love – small waves and great waves you lived. Then comes the greatest wave: you die. You have to live that too in its totality. Then one is ready to die. That very readiness is the death of death itself.
That’s how people have come to know that nothing dies. Death is impotent if you are ready to live it; death is very powerful if you are afraid.
Unlived life gives power to death. A totally lived life takes all power from death. Death is not.
The body is a flux, like a river – continuously changing and moving. It has nothing of the eternal in it. Each moment the body is changing. In fact the body is dying every moment. It is not that after seventy years suddenly one day you die; the body dies every day. Death continues for seventy years; it is a process. Death is not an event, it is a long process. By and by, by and by, the body comes to a point where it cannot hold itself together: it disintegrates.
Then another type of person is the idealist – one who is identified with the mind, with ideas, ideologies and ideals. He lives in a very ephemeral world – not in any way better than the materialist does. Of course it is more ego fulfilling because he can condemn the materialist. He talks about God and he talks about the soul; he talks about religion and great things. He talks about the other world – but that is all mere talk. He lives in the mind: continuously thinking and brooding, playing with ideas and words. He creates utopias of the mind – great and beautiful dreams – but he is also wasting the opportunity because the opportunity is here and now and he always thinks of somewhere else.
The word utopia is beautiful. It means “that which never comes.” He thinks of something which never comes and which cannot come. He lives somewhere else. He exists here and lives somewhere else. He lives in a dichotomy, in a dualism. With great tension he exists.
Yes, death is the greatest orgasm but people go on missing it because of fear. The same happens with sexual orgasm. Many people go on missing it. They cannot have any orgasm because of the fear. They cannot move totally in it. Remember this, people who are afraid of death will be afraid of sex also.
Once you know what death is you will receive it with great celebration. You will welcome it. It is the fulfillment of your whole life’s effort. It is the fruition of your whole life’s effort. The journey ends. One comes back home.
In death you don’t die.
Just, the energy that was given to you through the body and through the mind is released and goes back to the world. You return home.
Why am I so afraid of being old? Show me how I can get rid of it.
Life, if rightly lived, if really lived, is never afraid of death.
If you have lived your life, you will welcome death. It will come like a rest, like a great sleep. If you have peaked, climaxed in your life, then death is a beautiful rest, a benediction. But if you have not lived, then of course death creates fear. If you have not lived, then certainly death is going to take time from your hands, all future opportunities to live. In the past you have not lived, and there is going to be no future: fear arises. Fear arises not because of death but because of unlived life.
And because of the fear of death, old age also gives fear, because that is the first step of death. Otherwise old age is also beautiful. It is a ripening of your being, maturity, growth. If you live moment to moment, to all the challenges that life gives, and you use all the opportunities that life opens, and if you dare to adventure into the unknown to which life calls and invites you then old age is a maturity. Otherwise old age is a disease.
Unfortunately many people simply age, they become old, without any maturity corresponding to it. Then old age is a burden. You have aged in the body, but your consciousness has remained juvenile. You have aged in your body, but you have not matured in your inner life. The inner light is missing, and death is coming close every day; of course you will tremble and you will be afraid and there will arise great anguish in you.
Those who live rightly, they accept old age with a deep welcome, because old age simply says that now they are coming to flower, that they are coming to a fruition, that now they will be able to share whatsoever they have attained.“
Ordinarily old age is ugly because it is simply a disease. Your organism has not matured, has only become more and more ill, weakened, impotent. Otherwise old age is the most beautiful time of life. All the foolishness of childhood gone, all the fever and passion of young age gone . . . a serenity arises, a silence, a meditation, a samadhi.
in the East we have never thought that childhood or youth is the peak. The peak waits for the very end.
And if life flows rightly, by and by you reach higher and higher peaks. Death is the ultimate peak that life attains, the crescendo.
But why are we missing life? Why are we aging and not maturing? Somewhere something has gone wrong, somewhere you have been put on a wrong track – somewhere you have agreed to be put on a wrong track. That agreement has to be broken; that contract has to be burned. You have to come to an understanding that up to now you have lived in a wrong way – you have compromised, not lived, really.
When you were small children you compromised. You sold your being. For nothing. What you have gained is simply nothing, just rubbish. For small things you have lost your soul. You have agreed to be somebody else other than yourself; that is where you missed your path. The mother wanted you to become somebody, the father wanted you to become somebody, the society wanted you to become somebody; and you agreed. By and by you decided not to be yourself. And since then you have been pretending to be somebody else.
You cannot mature because that somebody else cannot mature. It is false. If I wear a mask, the mask cannot mature. It is dead. My face can mature, but not my mask. And only your mask goes on aging. Behind the mask, hiding, you are not growing. You can grow only if you accept yourself – that you are going to be yourself, nobody else.
The rosebush has agreed to become an elephant; the elephant has agreed to become a rosebush. The eagle is worried, almost consulting a psychiatrist, because she wants to become the dog; and the dog is hospitalized because he wants to fly like an eagle. This is what has happened to humanity. The greatest calamity is to agree to be somebody else: you can never mature.
You can never mature like somebody else. You can only mature like you. The “shoulds” have to be dropped, and you have to drop too much concern about what people say. What is their opinion? Who are they? You are here to be yourself. You are not here to fulfill somebody else’s expectations; and everybody is trying that. The father may be dead, and you are trying to fulfill a promise you have given to him. And he was trying to fulfill a promise to his own father, and so on and so forth. The foolishness goes to the very beginning.
Try to understand, and take courage – and take your life in your own hands. Suddenly you will see an upsurge of energy. The moment you decide, “I am going to be myself and nobody else. Whatsoever the cost, but I am going to be myself,” that very moment you will see a great change. You will feel vital. You will feel energy streaming in you, pulsating.
I am not going to give you any consolation. I am not going to say to you, “The soul is eternal. Don’t be worried, you never die. Only the body dies.” I know that is true, but that truth one has to earn the hard way. You cannot learn by somebody else’s assertion and statement about it. It is not a statement; it is an experience. I know it is so, but it is absolutely meaningless for you. You have not known what life is. How can you know what eternity is? You have not been able even to live in time. How can you be able to live in eternity?
So if you ask me what to do, I will suggest the basic thing. And it is always a question of basics. Never be bothered by secondary things, because you can change them, but nothing will change. Change the basic.
For example, what is secondary. “Why am I so afraid of being old? Show me how I can get rid of it.” The very question is out of fear. You want to “get rid of it,” not to understand, so of course you are going to become a victim of somebody or some ideology which can help you to get rid of it. I cannot help you to get rid of it. In fact that is the problem. I would like you to understand and change your life. It is not a question of getting rid of the problem; it is a question of getting rid of your mask, of your false persona – the way you have been trying to be and which is not a true way. You are not authentic. You are not sincere towards yourself; you have been betraying your being.
So if you ask – there are priests and philosophers and demagogues – if you go and ask them how to get rid of it, they will say, “The soul never ages. Don’t be worried. Just remember that you are the soul. It is the body; you are not the body.” They have consoled you. Maybe for a moment you feel good, but this is not going to help, this is not going to change you. Again tomorrow, out of the influence of the priest, you will be in the same boat.
No, I am not going to give you a method, a theory to get rid of it. It is symptomatic. It is good that it goes on indicating to you that you are living a false life. That’s why the fear is there. Just take the hint, and don’t try to change the symptom; rather try to change the basic cause.
Close your eyes any moment: you will hear the voice of your father, your mother, your peers, teachers, and you will never hear your voice. Many people come to me and they say, “You talk about the inner voice; we never hear it.” There is a crowd. When Jesus says, “Hate your father and mother,” he is not actually saying to hate your father and mother. He is saying hate the father and the mother which have become consciences within you. Hate, because that is the most ugly agreement you have made – a suicidal contract. Hate, destroy those voices, so that your voice can be freed and liberated, so that you can feel who you are and what you want to be.
In fact nobody can lead you to the right path, because all leading is going to be wrong. No leader can be the right leader, because leading as such is wrong. Whomsoever you allow to lead will do some harm to you because he will start doing something, forcing something, giving you a structure; and you have to live an unstructured life, a life free of all structure and character, free of all frames, references, contacts – free in this moment from the past.
So all guides are misguides, and when they disappear, and you have believed in them for so long, suddenly you feel empty, surrounded by emptiness and all paths gone. Where to go?
This period is a revolutionary period in the life of a being. One has to pass through it with courage. If you can remain in it, unafraid, soon you will start hearing your voice which has been repressed so long. Soon you will start learning its language, because you have forgotten the very language. You know only the language that has been taught to you. And this language, the inner language, is not verbal. It is of feelings. And all societies are against feelings; because a feeling is such an alive thing, it is dangerous. A thought is dead; it is not dangerous. So every society has forced you into the head, pushed you from all over your body into the head.
Convictions can’t help much, because conviction means somebody else silencing your doubts and repressing your doubts; somebody else becoming an authority for you. Maybe logically he is more argumentative, maybe he has a greater, more rational mind and he can convince you that there is no death, and you may be silenced and your doubts may be silenced. But even the doubts that have been silenced will come back again, sooner or later, because they have not disappeared – they have only been repressed by logical arguments.
Convictions don’t help much; doubts persist as an undercurrent. One is a convinced Christian, another is a convinced Hindu. And I have seen all kinds of people – they are all full of doubts, all of them: Christians, Hindus and Mohammedans. In fact the more full of doubt a person is, the more stubborn he is. The more he tries to believe because those doubts are painful. He says, “I strongly believe in the Gita, in the Koran, in the Bible. I am a staunch Catholic.
Why do you need to be a staunch Catholic? For what? You must be suffering from great doubts. If you don’t have any doubts you don’t have any beliefs either.“
Doubts are the diseases and beliefs are the medicines, but all beliefs are allopathic medicines – they repress and they are all poisons. All beliefs are poisonous. Yes, for the time being they can give you a feeling that now there is no problem, but soon the doubts will assert themselves; they will wait for the right time. They will explode with great urgency one day. They will erupt like a volcano; they will take revenge. Because you have repressed them they have gathered too much energy. One day, in some weak moment when you are off guard, they will take revenge. Your so-called saints are all suffering from great doubts.
Your own experience will be a real transformation; then doubts can never come back again. And when you have known, you will be surprised that all the poets who have been telling you – that death is sleep, deep sleep, eternal sleep – have been telling you lies. Consoling lies, beautiful lies, helpful lies, but lies are lies, and the help can only be momentary.
It is like when you are too worried, too tense and you take to alcohol. Yes, for a few hours you will forget all your worries and all your tensions, but the alcohol cannot take your worries away forever; it cannot solve them. And while you are drowned in alcohol those worries are growing, becoming stronger; you are giving them time to grow. When you are back the next morning with a hangover and a headache added to the worries, you will be surprised; they are bigger than when you had left them.
Then it becomes a pattern of life: become again and again intoxicated so you can forget – but again and again you have to face your life. This is not an intelligent way to live.
What is the point of wasting time? You have one day to live: live as intensely as possible, live as totally as possible.
And the fear of having to leave all this beauty, this friendship and love.” If you are totally here now, who cares about tomorrow? Tomorrow will take care of itself. Jesus is right when he prays to God, “Lord, give me my daily bread.” He is not even asking for tomorrow, just today is enough unto itself.
You have to learn that each moment has a completion.
The fear of having to leave it all comes only because you are not completely living in the moment; otherwise there is no time, and there is no mind, and there is no space
There are two ways of living. One is the way of the buffalo – it lives horizontally, in a single line. The other way is of a buddha. He lives vertically, in height and in depth. Then each moment can become an eternity.
Don’t waste your time in trivia, but live, sing, dance, love as totally and overflowingly as you are capable of. No fears will interfere and you will not be worried what will happen tomorrow. Today is enough unto itself. Lived, it is so full; it leaves no space to think about anything else.
One day it has to be faced. Don’t be foolish; don’t postpone it, because if you postpone it to the very end it will be too late. It is not certain when the last day will happen. It can happen today, it can happen tomorrow: it can happen any moment. Death is very unpredictable. We live in death so any moment it can happen. Face it and encounter it, and that knot in the stomach is the right place to encounter it. That is the very door from where you enter into life and from where you go out of life.
death is also a beginning. Each end is always a beginning, because nothing ever ends totally, nothing can ever end. Everything continues, only forms change.
And these are the greater polar opposites, death and life. If you can contain both, you will become capable of containing God because God is both. His one face is life, his other face is death.
This is something beautiful – don’t make a problem out of it. Meditate over it, make it a meditation, and you will be benefited immensely.
„But if you are ready to jump there is no anguish. If you accept and welcome it and there is no complaint – rather, you are happy and celebrating that the moment has come, and now I can jump out of this body which is a limitation, can jump out of this body which is a confinement, can jump out of this ego which has always been a suffering – if you can welcome death then there is no need to become unconscious. If you can become accepting, welcoming – what Buddhists call tathata, accepting it and not only accepting . . . Because the word, accept, is not very good, deep down some non-acceptance is hidden in it – no, if you welcome death, if it is such a celebration, an ecstasy, if it is a benediction, then you need not become unconscious.
If it is a benediction you will become perfectly conscious in that moment. Remember these two things: if you reject, if you say no, you will become totally unconscious; if you accept, welcome, and say yes with your full heart, you will become perfectly conscious.
Yes to death makes you perfectly conscious; no to death makes you perfectly unconscious – and these are the two ways of dying.
Ordinarily, during times of suffering, we try to forget pain. If a man is in trouble he will drink alcohol. Someone is in pain and he will go and sit in a movie theater. Somebody is miserable and he will try to forget his misery with prayers and devotional songs. These are all different ways and means to forget pain.
Someone drinks; we can say this is one tactic. Someone goes and watches a movie; this is another. A person goes to a concert; this is a third way of forgetting pain. Somebody goes to the temple and drowns himself in prayers and hymns; this is a fourth strategy. There can be a thousand and one strategies – they can be religious, non-religious or secular. That’s not a big question. Underneath all this the basic thing is that man wants to forget his misery. He is into forgetting misery.
A person who is out to forget misery can never wake up to misery. How can we become aware of something we tend to forget? Only with an attitude of remembering can we become aware of something. Hence, only by remembering pain can we become aware of it.
So whenever you are in misery, take it as an opportunity. Be totally aware of it, and you will have a wonderful experience. When you become fully aware of your suffering, when you look at it face to face, not escaping the pain, you will have a glimpse of your separateness from it.
Man exaggerates his suffering. He magnifies his misery, which is never actually that much. The reason behind this is the same – identification with the body. Misery is like the flame of a lamp but we experience it as the dispersed light of the lamp. Misery is like the flame, limited to a very small section of the body, but we feel it like the very extended light of the lamp, covering a much larger area. Close your eyes and try to locate the pain from inside.
A recent visit to the doctor confronts me with the immediacy of my death. I’ve been told that I have two years to live, at the most. How can I respond through celebration, as you suggest?
Death is always there. You may be unaware of it but it is always confronting you with immediacy. You cannot be certain of the next moment. But we go on living and nobody believes that he is going to die; it is always the other who dies.
Each of your birthdays is an effort to forget that it is not your birthday, it is your death day; you have died one year more. But with flowers and candles and cakes one forgets the immediacy of death. It is always with you. Birth is the beginning of death.
So this news from the doctor in fact should not make you serious; on the contrary it should make you more alert and more aware, because you are a rare person for whom death is a certainty and you cannot deceive yourself anymore. Many who are not in your situation will be dying before you – but their death will be coming without their knowing. And to know is always better than not to know. Something can be done when you know a fact is going to happen.
You have been told that within two years you are going to die. This immediacy of death should wake you up. Now there is no more time for you to fool around and no time for you to deceive yourself. Death is just there waiting for you, and you are fortunate that you know it. Knowing of your death can become a transformation.“
There are millions of people who are playing cards, watching football matches – not at all aware of what they are doing. If you ask them, they say they are killing time. Great! Time is killing you, and you remain with the idea that you are killing time. How can you kill time? You have never even seen it. Your swords cannot cut it, even your nuclear weapons are unable to touch it. How are you going to kill time? But time is killing you every moment.
Nothing dies in reality, it only changes forms. The disease can destroy your body but it is going to be destroyed anyway; there is not much problem. It is better that you know you cannot hope to survive; with the doctor’s diagnosis, your hope has also died. Now there is no cure – you have to face the fact. No help from the outside is available; you have to depend on your inside. You are left alone.
In fact everybody has always been alone.
From birth to death, the whole journey is alone.
So many different kinds of therapies to choose from; so many emotions within just one day. I am left feeling utterly confused and bewildered. What to do? How to find some clarity?
Confusion is a great opportunity.
The problem with people who are not confused is great – they think they know, and they know not. The people who believe that they have clarity are really in great trouble; their clarity is very superficial. In fact they know nothing of clarity; their clarity is very superficial. In fact they know nothing of clarity; what they call clarity is just stupidity. Idiots are very very clear – clear in the sense that they do not have the intelligence to feel confusion. To feel confusion needs great intelligence.
Only the intelligent ones feel confusion; otherwise the mediocre go on moving in life, smiling, laughing, accumulating money, struggling for more power and fame. If you see them you will feel a little jealous; they look so confident, they even look happy. You are just standing there, confused about what to do, what not to do, what is right and what is wrong. But this has always been so; the mediocre remains certain. It is only for the more intelligent to feel confusion and chaos.
It is the most beautiful moment in one’s life when there is neither confusion nor certainty. One simply is, a mirror reflecting that which is, with no direction, going nowhere, with no idea of doing something and with no future . . . just utterly in the moment, tremendously in the moment.
When there is no mind there can be no future, there can be no program for the future. Then this moment is all, all in all; this moment is your whole existence. The whole existence starts converging on this moment, and the moment becomes tremendously significant. It has depth, it has height; it has mystery and it has intensity. It has fire, it has immediacy. It grips you, it possesses you and it transforms you.
But I cannot give you certainty; certainty is given by ideology. Certainty is nothing but patching up your confusion. You are confused: somebody says, “Don’t be worried,” and says it very authoritatively, convinces you with arguments, with scriptures, and patches up your confusion, covers it with a beautiful blanket – with the Bible, with the Koran, with the Gita. You feel good but it is temporary because the confusion is boiling within. You have not got rid of it; it has only been repressed.
That’s why people cling to beliefs, churches, scriptures, doctrines and systems of thought. Why do people invest so much in systems of thought? Why should somebody be a Christian or a Hindu? Why should somebody be a communist? For what? There is a reason, a great reason too. Everybody is confused, and so somebody is needed to supply you with certainty. The intelligent person hesitates, ponders and wavers. The unintelligent never wavers and never hesitates. Where the wise will whisper, the fool simply declares from the housetops.
Lao Tzu says, “I may be the only muddle-headed man in the world. Everybody seems to be so certain, except me.” He is right. He has such tremendous intelligence that he cannot be certain about anything.
I cannot promise you certainty if you drop the mind. I can promise you only one thing, that you will be clear. There will be clarity, transparency and you will be able to see things as they are. You will be neither confused nor certain. Certainty and confusion are two sides of the same coin.
Existence is simply there; there is nothing to choose between. And remember, when there is nothing to choose between, you will become undivided. When there is something to choose between, it divides you too. Division is a double-edged sword: it divides reality outside, it divides you inside. If you choose, you choose division, you choose to be split and you choose schizophrenia. If you don’t choose, if you know there is nothing good and nothing bad, you choose sanity.
Not choosing anything is choosing sanity, not choosing is to be sane, because now there is no division outside; how can you be divided inside? The inside and the outside go together. You become indivisible, you become an individual. This is the process of individuation. Nothing is good, nothing is bad. When this dawns in your consciousness, suddenly you are together; all fragments have disappeared into one unity. You are crystallized and you are centered.
My doctors, my friends and my family are giving all kinds of different advice about what to do, what to eat, what not to eat: I don’t know how to decide what to do. Whom to follow?
Listen, but don’t follow. Listen well, but follow your own insight, don’t follow others’ advice. Listen certainly, very meditatively; try to understand what they want to convey to you. They may really be well-wishers but if you start following blindly you will never attain to your own intelligence. You will remain dependent on crutches; you will always look up to others to tell you what to do, what not to do. You will always need leaders – which is a very unhealthy state, to need leaders.
Listen, because people have great experiences, and if they are sharing, willing to share, it will be foolish on your part not to listen. Sharing their experience may give you great insight – it will help you to become more aware – but don’t follow.
People follow literally and then they become just blind. When others are giving you all that you need, what is the need to have your own eyes? And when others are chewing for you, what is the need to chew on your own? Slowly, slowly you become more and more weak, more and more impoverished, more and more starved.
A man who had recently opened a shop had a large notice overhead that read “Fresh Fish Sold Here.” Along came a friend and said, “Why have you got ‘Here’ on the board?” So he cut out the word ‘Here.’
Then another friend came along and said, “‘Sold’? Of course it is sold. You are not giving it away, are you?” So out came the word ‘Sold.’
A third came along and said, “‘Fresh Fish’? It has to be fresh. Who will buy stale fish from you? Cut out the word ‘Fresh.’
The shopkeeper obliged. Now only the word “Fish” remained on the board when a fourth man arrived and said, “‘Fish’? Fancy having that up! You can smell it a mile away.” The shopkeeper erased this last word on the board.
A fifth man arrived and said, “What’s the idea of hanging a blank board over the shop?” The shopkeeper removed the board.
A sixth man came on the scene and said, “You have opened such a big shop. Can’t you hang a board on it with a notice saying, ‘Fresh Fish Sold Here’?“
Now if you go on listening to people you will become more and more confused; that’s how you have become confused. Your confusion is this: that you have been listening to many kinds of people and they are all giving different advice. And I am not saying that they are not well-wishers; they are well-wishers, but not very conscious well-wishers; otherwise they would not give you advice. They would give you an insight, not advice. They would not tell you what to do and what not to do. They would help you to become more aware so that you can see yourself what has to be done and what has not to be done.
The real friend is one who does not advise you but helps you to become more alert, more aware and more conscious of life – its problems, its challenges, its mysteries – and helps you to go on your own voyage, gives you courage to experiment, gives you courage to seek and search, gives you the courage to commit many mistakes . . . because one who is not ready to commit mistakes will never learn anything at all.
The real friends help you to sharpen your intelligence. They don’t give you fixed advice, because fixed advice is of no use. What is true today may not be true tomorrow, and what is right in one situation may be wrong in another. Situations are changing all the time, so what you need is not a fixed pattern of living but a way of seeing, so wherever you are, in whatsoever situation you find yourself, you know how to behave spontaneously and how to depend on your own being.
Question: I keep asking: Why me? There is just so much anger about what is happening to me. How can I deal with my feelings? I’ve tried watching or occupying myself with the practicalities of each day, but nothing helps.
Live each emotion that you feel. It is you.
Hateful, ugly, unworthy – whatever it is, actually be in it. First give the emotions a chance to come totally up into the conscious. Right now, by your effort of watchfulness you are repressing them in the unconscious. Then you get involved in your day-to-day work and you force them back again. That is not the way to get rid of them.
Let them come out – live them, suffer them. It will be difficult and tedious but immensely rewarding. Once you have lived them, suffered them and accepted them – that this is you, that you have not made yourself in this way so you need not condemn yourself, that this is the way you have found yourself . . . Once they are lived consciously, without any repression, you will be surprised that they are disappearing on their own. Their force on you is becoming less; their grip on your neck is no longer that tight. And when they are going away there may be a time when you can start watching.
Once everything comes into the conscious mind it disperses, and when only the shadow is there, that is the time to become aware. Right now it will create schizophrenia; then it will create enlightenment.
Question: I am a fighter. I don’t know anything except fighting and even worse I love fighting. I love to stand in the face of the strongest storm and laugh. I don’t like to lie in the sun and melt.
There is no problem in it. If you feel you are a fighter, if you enjoy fighting, not only that, if you are proud of being a fighter – then relax. Fight totally! Don’t fight your fighting nature. That will be a let-go for you.
It is perfectly beautiful to stand before the strongest storm and laugh. Don’t feel guilty. Just try to understand one thing: when I say let-go, I don’t mean you have to change anything. I simply mean, whatever you feel you are, just allow it its totality.
Be a fighter with your whole being, and in this totality you will find the melting of the heart. That will be the reward of your being total. You do not need to do anything for it; rewards come on their own. Just be total in anything that you feel you love, which you feel proud of – just be total in it. Don’t create a split. Don’t be half-and-half; don’t be partial. If you are total, one day – standing against the strongest storm, laughing – you will suddenly feel your heart melting in the sun. That will come to you as a reward.
Man unnecessarily creates problems. I want you to understand that there are no problems in life except those you create. Just try to see: whatsoever feels good for you is good. Then go the whole way. Even if the whole world is against it, it doesn’t matter. And whether you have gone total and whole will be decided by the reward.
If you start feeling at one point a sudden melting then you know that you have not cheated yourself, that you have been sincere and true. That now is really the point where you can be proud.
Question: I express my anger as totally I know how, yet it still continues as an undercurrent in all my thoughts.
You know only two ways to deal with anger: expression or repression. And the real way to deal with it is neither. It is not expression, because if you express anger you create anger in the other; then it becomes a chain. Then the other expresses it, then again you are provoked. Then where is it going to end? And the more you express, the more it becomes a habit, a mechanical habit. The more you express it, the more you are practicing it! It will be difficult for you to get out of it.
Out of this fear, repression arose: don’t express, because it brings great misery to you and to others – and to no avail. It makes you ugly, it creates ugly situations in life, and then you have to pay for all that. And, slowly slowly, it becomes such a habit that it becomes your second nature. Out of the fear of expression, repression arose. But if you repress, you are accumulating the poison. It is bound to explode.
The third approach, the approach of all the enlightened people of the world, is neither to express nor repress, but watch. When anger arises, sit silently, let the anger surround you in your inner world, let the cloud surround you, be a silent watcher. See: “This is anger.”
Buddha has said to his disciples: When anger arises, listen to it, listen to its message. And remember again and again, going on telling yourself: “Anger, anger . . .” Keep alert and don’t fall asleep. Keep alert that anger is surrounding you. You are not it! You are the watcher of it. And that is where the key is.
Slowly slowly, watching, you become so separate from it that it cannot affect you. You become so detached from it and so aloof and so cool and so far away, and the distance is such that it doesn’t seem to matter at all. In fact, you will start laughing at all the ridiculous things that you have been doing in the past because of this anger. It is not you. It is there outside you; it is surrounding you. But the moment you are unidentified from it you will not pour your energy into it.
Remember, we pour our energy into anger; then only does it become vital. It has no energy of its own; it depends on our cooperation. In watching, the cooperation is broken; you are no longer supporting it. It will be there for a few moments, a few minutes, and then it will be gone. Finding no roots in you, finding you unavailable, seeing that you are far away, a watcher on the hills, it will dissipate and it will disappear. And that disappearance is beautiful. That disappearance is a great experience.
Seeing the anger disappear, great serenity arises: the silence that follows the storm. You will be surprised that each time anger arises and if you can watch, you will fall into such tranquillity as you have not known before. You will fall into such deep meditation. When the anger disappears you will see yourself fresher, younger and more innocent than you have ever known yourself. Then you will be thankful even to anger; you will not be angry at it – because it has given you a beautiful new space to live in, a new utterly fresh experience to go through. You have used it; you have made a stepping-stone out of it.
Question: I am overwhelmed so often with incredible sadness about leaving this life. What can I do?
Sadness is sad because you dislike it. The sadness is sad because you would not like to be in it. The sadness is sad because you reject it. Even sadness becomes a flowering of tremendous beauty, of silence and of depth, if you like it.
Nothing is wrong. That’s how it should be, to be able to like everything that happens, even sadness. Even death has to be loved; only then will you transcend death. If you can accept death, if you can love and welcome it, now death cannot kill you; you have transcended it.
When sadness comes, accept it. Listen to its song. It has something to give to you. It has a gift that no happiness can give to you, only sadness can give it.
Happiness is always shallow; sadness, always deep. Happiness is like a wave; sadness is like the innermost depth of an ocean. In sadness you remain with yourself, left alone. In happiness you start moving with people and you start sharing. In sadness you close your eyes and you delve deep within yourself.
Sadness has a song . . . a very deep phenomenon is sadness.
Accept it. Enjoy it. Taste it without any rejection, and you will see that it brings many gifts to you which no happiness can ever bring.
If you can accept sadness it is no longer sadness; you have brought a new quality to it. You will grow through it. Now it will not be a stone, a rock on the path blocking the way; it will become a step.
And remember always: a person who has not known deep sadness is a poor person. He will never have an inner richness. A person who has lived always happy, smiling, shallow, has not entered into the innermost temple of his being. He has missed the innermost shrine.
Remain capable of moving with all the polarities. When sadness comes, be really sad. Don’t try to escape from it – allow it, cooperate with it. Let it dissolve in you and you be dissolved in it. Become one with it. Be really sad: no resistance, no conflict and no struggle. When happiness comes, be happy: dance and be ecstatic. When happiness comes, don’t try to cling to it. Don’t say that it should remain always and always; that is the way to miss it. When sadness comes, don’t say, “Don’t come to me,” or, “If you have come, please go soon.” That is the way to miss it.
Don’t reject sadness and don’t cling to happiness.
Soon you will understand that happiness and sadness are two aspects of the same coin. Then you will see that happiness also has a sadness in it, and sadness also has a happiness in it. Then your inner being is enriched. Then you can enjoy everything: the morning and the evening also, the sunlight and the dark night also, the day and the night, the summer and the winter, life and death – you can enjoy all.
Question: There are so many mixed up, contradictory thoughts and feelings these days. It’s like being on a roller coaster and I never know how I will feel from one moment to the next.
Watch your thoughts, watch your emotions, and just watching them you will come to realize a new factor – the watcher. That realization is the beginning of an inner revolution: you are the watcher, not the watched. You are not the mind, not the body, but something hidden deep inside you: the watcher.
The watcher goes on watching every up and down in life. Now there is no need to get identified. When you are down you need not be sad, because the watcher is only a watcher. When you are up you need not become egoistic; you are just the watcher. Slowly, slowly all turmoil around you starts settling.
Your identification with things that you are not is the problem.
Your disidentification is meditation.
Disidentify with everything until only the pure watcher remains. Remain settled in the watcher, whatever you are doing, wherever you are going. You will be a new man with a freshness, with a life that you had never known before, with something eternal in your eyes, something of the immortal existence in your every gesture.
Question: The more people are around me, supporting me through my illness, the more alone I feel – and that is so painful. What can I do?
Confronting oneself in aloneness is fearful and it is painful, and one has to suffer it. Nothing should be done to avoid it, nothing should be done to divert the mind and nothing should be done to escape from it. One has to suffer it and go through it. This suffering and this pain is just a good sign that you are near a new birth, because every birth is preceded by pain. It cannot be avoided and it should not be avoided because it is part of your growth.
But why is this pain there? This should be understood because understanding will help you to go through it, and if you go through it knowingly you will come out of it more easily and sooner.
Why is there pain when you are alone? The first thing is that your ego gets ill. Your ego can exist only with others. It has grown in relationship, it cannot exist alone. So if the situation is one in which it can exist no more, it feels suffocated; it feels just on the verge of death. This is the deepest suffering. You feel just as if you are dying. But it is not you who is dying, only the ego which you have taken to be yourself, with which you have become identified. It cannot exist because it has been given to you by others. It is a contribution. When you leave others you cannot carry it with you.
So in aloneness all that you know about yourself will fall; by and by it will disappear. You can prolong your ego for a certain period – and that too you will have to do through imagination – but you cannot prolong it for long. Without society you are uprooted; the soil is not there from where to get food. This is the basic pain. You are no longer sure who you are: you are just a dispersing personality, a dissolving personality. But this is good, because unless this false you disappears the real cannot emerge. Unless you are completely washed and become clean again the real cannot emerge.
This false you is occupying the throne. It must be dethroned. By living in solitude all that is false can go. And all that is given by society is false. Really, all that is given is false; all that is born with you is real. All that is you by yourself, not contributed by someone else, is real, authentic. But the false must go and the false is a great investment. You have invested so much in it; you have been looking after it so much; all your hopes hang on it. So when it starts dissolving you will feel fearful, afraid and trembling: “What are you doing to yourself? You are destroying your whole life, the whole structure.
In the process fear will be there, but this fear is basic, necessary and inevitable – one has to pass through it. You should understand it but don’t try to avoid it, don’t try to escape from it because every escape will bring you back again. You will move back into the personality.„You should understand it but don’t try to avoid it, don’t try to escape from it because every escape will bring you back again. You will move back into the personality.
Those who go into deep silence and solitude, they always ask me, “There will be fear, so what to do?” I tell them not to do anything, just to live the fear. If trembling comes, tremble. Why prevent it? If an inner fear is there and you are shaking with it, “„shake with it. Don’t do anything. Allow it to happen. It will go by itself. If you avoid it – and you can avoid it.“
There will be a shaking and a trembling; it will be just like an earthquake. The whole soul will be disturbed by it. But let it be. Don’t do anything. That is my advice. Don’t even chant. Don’t try to do anything with it because all that you can do will again be suppression. Just by allowing it to be, by letting it be, it will leave you – and when it has left, you will be altogether a different man.
The cyclone has gone and you will now be centered, centered as you never were before. And once you know the art of letting things be, you will know one of the master keys which opens all the inner doors. Then whatsoever the case is, let it be; don’t avoid it.
But the secret is allowing it to be – howsoever fearful and painful, howsoever apparently dangerous and deathlike. Many moments will come when you will feel as if you will go mad if you don’t do something and involuntarily you will start to do something. You may know that nothing can be done, but you will not be in control and you will start to do something.
It is just as if you are moving through a dark street in the night, at midnight, and you feel fear because there is no one around and the night is dark and the street is unknown – so you start whistling. What can whistling do? You know it can do nothing. Then you start singing a song. You know nothing can be done by singing a song – the darkness cannot be dispelled, you will remain alone – but still it diverts the mind. If you start whistling, just by whistling you gain confidence and you forget the darkness. Your mind moves into whistling and you start feeling good.
Nothing has happened. The street is the same, the darkness is the same, the danger, if there is any, is there, but now you feel more protected. All is the same, but now you are doing something. You can start chanting a name, a mantra: that will be a sort of whistling. It will give you strength but that strength is dangerous, that strength will again become a problem, because that strength is going to be your old ego. You are reviving it.
Remain a witness and allow whatsoever happens to happen.
Fear has to be faced to go beyond it.
Anguish has to be faced to transcend it. And the more authentic the encounter, the more looking at it face to face, the more looking at things as they are, the sooner the happening will be there.
It takes time only because your authenticity is not intense. So you may take three days, three months or three lives – it depends on the intensity. Really, three minutes can also do, three seconds can also do. But then you will have to pass through a tremendous hell with such intensity that you may not be able to bear it, to tolerate it. If one can face whatsoever is hidden in oneself, it passes, and when it has gone you are different because all that has left you was part of you before and now it is no longer a part.
So don’t ask what to do. There is no need to do anything. Non-doing, witnessing, effortlessly facing whatsoever is, not even making a slight effort, just allowing it to be . . . Remain passive and let it pass. It always passes. When you do something, that is the undoing because then you interfere.
And who will interfere? Who is afraid? The same fear that is the disease will interfere. The same ego that has to be left behind will interfere. I told you that the ego is part of the society. You left the society but you don’t want to leave the part that society has given to you. It is rooted in society; it cannot live without society. So either you have to leave it or you have to create a new society in which it can live. To be solitary means not to create an alternative society. Just move out of society, and then whatsoever society has given you will leave you. You will have to drop it. It will be painful because you are so adjusted to it, everything is so arranged. It has become such a comfort to be adjusted, where everything is convenient. When you change and move alone, you are leaving all comforts, all conveniences, all that society can give – and when society gives something to you, it also takes something from you: your liberty, your soul.
So it is an exchange – and when you are trying to get to your soul in its purity you have to stop the bargaining. It will be painful, but if you can pass through it, the highest bliss is just near. Society is not as painful as loneliness. Society is tranquilizing, society is convenient and comfortable but it gives you a sort of sleep. If you move out of it inconvenience is bound to be there. All types of inconveniences will be there. Those inconveniences have to be suffered with the understanding that they are part of solitude and part of regaining yourself.
You will come out of it new, with a new glory and dignity, a new purity and innocence.
Question: „I believe thinking positively can play a part in getting better. So I have the attitude that I am not dying of cancer. If I think about the chance of my dying it feels that that is like inviting death. It feels more healthy to concentrate right now on living.
Equilibrium is when you don’t choose, when you see the fact as it is. Life is not an either/or question. There is nothing to choose, it is altogether. By your choice nothing is changed. By your choice you only get into a kind of ignorance.
That which you choose is a part and that which you are not choosing is also a part of reality. The unchosen part of reality will remain hanging around you, waiting to be accepted. It cannot disappear; there is no way for it to disappear. If you love life too much and you don’t want to see the fact of death . . . death is there hanging around like a shadow.
Zen says: See both – they are one piece, they are together. Seeing them together, without any choice, without any prejudice, you transcend them. Seeing them together you are no longer identified with life and no longer identified with death. When you are not identified you are free, you are liberated.
We choose a small part and claim that this is the whole. We choose life; we take life out of its basic context – death – and we say, “This is me. I am life.” Now you are getting into trouble. You will be encaged in this identification. How will you manage death then? It is there, it is happening every moment and it is going to take you unawares one day.
Once identification is dropped, once you don’t get identified with anything, you simply remain a witness – not saying “I am this” or “I am that.” You simply remain a witness. You see life as passing, you see death as passing, you see sex as passing, and you see frustration, joy, success, and failure . . . You go on seeing; you remain a pure seer. You don’t get hooked into anything; you don’t claim “I am this.”
Without claiming, who are you? Without confining and defining yourself, without giving a limitation to yourself, if you can remain flowing, just seeing, there is liberation. There is great liberation.
Unidentified one is free. Identified one is encaged.
When you can see thoroughly, when you can see transparently and you don’t choose, you are something transcendental – the witness. That witness is never born and never dies.
Death and life come into that witness’s vision but that witness is eternal. It was there before you were born and it will be there when you are gone. You have been coming into the world millions of times and you may yet be coming – and still you have never come. The world appears in you just like a reflection appears in a mirror.
This mirrorlike quality is what is meant by witnessing. That’s why the mirror remains clean of all impressions. It goes on „eflecting but no impressions are collected on it. This is the state of awareness. This is what meditation is all about.
Watch, see, be alert but don’t choose.
In life you get attached, you collect dust. Death takes all your attachments and all your dust away. If you can see the point you will feel tremendously grateful to death.
Death is a great friend; it unburdens you. It unburdens you of all that you have accumulated. Once this unburdening is allowed voluntarily, death becomes samadhi. If you don’t allow it voluntarily, then death is not a samadhi, it is a pain. Now see the point. The same thing can be utter pain and utter joy. It depends on your interpretation – how you look at things, how you penetrate a certain experience and how deep you go into it.
If you are a clinger and very possessive, then death will be very painful and will be a great anguish. You will suffer. You will not suffer because of death; you will suffer because of your clinging, because of your possessiveness, because of your attachments, because of your greed and all that. But if you are not a clinger, if you are not very possessive, if you are not greedy, if you are not egoistic, if you are not aggressive, suddenly death’s quality has changed. It comes like a fresh breeze of existence. It comes and cleanses you. It gives you a great rest much needed. It purifies you. It takes you into the eternal source from where you will rise again. If you go voluntarily into it you will rise in a better form because you have learned something from the last form. If you don’t go voluntarily then too death will throw you into the furnace and will burn you but forcibly, and you will come back again into the same form because you have not learned anything.
Death brings a great lesson, far greater than life. And death brings a very intense possibility to understand because life is spread long range; death comes in a very, very potential way in a very short time. In a single moment it shakes you. If you are not alert you will miss that moment. The moment is very tiny. If you are alert, then that very moment becomes a door into the eternal.
Question: I’m trying to befriend this fear that’s constantly with me: is this the right way to go about it?
One has not to make friends with darkness, death or fear. One has to get rid of them. One has to simply say good-bye forever.
This fear is your attachment; friendship will make it even deeper. Don’t think that by becoming friendly with fear you will become ready to go inwards. Even the friendly fear will prevent it; in fact, it will prevent it more so. It will prevent you in a friendly way; it will advise you, “Don’t do such a thing. There is nothing inward. You will fall into nothingness and returning from that nothingness is impossible. Beware of falling into your inwardness. Cling to things.”
Fear has to be understood – you don’t have to make friends – and it disappears.
What are you afraid of? When you were born you were born naked. You did not bring any bank balance either – but you were not afraid. You come into the world utterly nude but entering like an emperor. Even an emperor cannot enter into the world the way a child enters. The same is true of entering inwards. It is a second childbirth; you again become a child – the same innocence and the same nudity and the same non-possessiveness. What do you have to be afraid of?
In life you cannot be afraid of birth. It has happened; now nothing can be done about it. You cannot be afraid of life; it is already happening. You cannot be afraid of death; whatever you do it is going to happen. So what is the fear?
I have always been asked even by very learned people, “Do you never get concerned what will happen after death?”
I have always wondered that these people are learned. I have asked them, “One day I was not born and there was no worry. I have never for a single moment thought that when I was not born what kind of trouble, what kind of anxiety or what kind of anguish I had to face. I simply was not! So the same will be the case: when you die, you die!”
Confucius was asked by his most significant disciple, Mencius, “What will happen after death?”
Confucius said, “Don’t waste time. When you are in your grave, lie down and think over it, but why bother now?“
Fear of what will happen when you die is unnecessary. Whatever will happen will happen – and anyway you cannot do anything beforehand. You don’t know, so there is no question of doing some homework, getting ready for the kind of questions you will be asked or the kind of people you will meet, learning their manners and their language. We don’t know anything. There is no need to worry; don’t waste time.
But it is fear, fear that something is going to happen after death – and you will be so alone. Even if you call from your grave nobody is going to listen. People close the grave completely just out of fear. If you leave some window open and dead people start looking from there, they will make anybody afraid!
There is no question of fear, just a little intelligence is needed – not friendliness with fear but intelligence: the adventurer’s heart, the courage of those who go into the unknown. They are the blessed ones because they find the meaning and the significance of life. Others only vegetate; only they live.
Just a little sense of humor, a little laughter, a childlike innocence – and what have you got to lose? What is the fear? We don’t have anything. We have come without anything, we will go without anything. Before it happens, just a little adventure inwards to see who is this fellow hiding behind the clothes, inside the skeleton? Who is this fellow who is born, becomes young, falls in love and one day dies and nobody knows where he goes?
Just a little curiosity to inquire into one’s own being. It is very natural; there is no question of fear.
Question: When the moment comes, the leaf lets go its tender hold and greets its dying with inner grace. Is it then that the way is open for life to embrace its own before the leaf touches down?
Yes, that’s the secret of both life and death, the secret of secrets: how to allow existence to pass through you totally unhindered, unobstructed; how to be in a state of absolute non-resistance. Buddha calls it tathata – suchness.
You say, “When that moment comes the leaf lets go its tender hold and greets its dying with inner grace.”
That’s how you have to learn to die.
And your hold has to be tender; otherwise it will be difficult to let go. Your hold has to be almost not a hold at all. Your hold cannot be a clinging. Only those people cling that don’t understand this polar game of existence, and their clinging destroys all. They have to die, but their death becomes graceless. They have to die, as everybody else, but their death becomes agony.
The word agony comes from agon – agon means struggle. Agony means struggle. They die fighting. The whole fight is an exercise in futility: they are not going to win but still they go on trying.
Millions of people have tried and failed; still we are such fools, we go on repeating the same pattern. We still hope that “Maybe I am the exception, maybe I can manage somehow.”
Nobody has been able to manage, not because they have not tried enough, not because they have not tried strongly, but because it is not possible in the very nature of things. They have done all that can be done, nothing has been left undone but death is bound to happen. In fact it has already happened in your very birth. To be born is one pole; the other pole is hidden in it.
Let your hold be tender, so tender that it can be dropped at any moment and there will be no struggle in dropping it, not even a moment’s delay – because even a moment’s delay is enough to miss the point, to miss the grace of it.
My work consists of teaching you how to live and how to die, how to be joyous and how to be sad, how to enjoy your youth and how to enjoy your old age, how to enjoy your health and how to enjoy your illness. If I teach you only how to enjoy your health, your joy and your life, and the other part is neglected, then I am teaching you something which is going to create a division in you, a split in you.
I teach you the totality of existence.
Don’t possess, don’t hold anything and don’t cling.
Let things come and pass.
Allow things to pass through you, and you remain always vulnerable, available. Then there is great beauty, great grace and great ecstasy. Your sadness will also bring a depth to you, as much as your joy. Your death will bring great gifts to you, as many as life itself. Then a man knows that this whole existence is his: nights and days, summers and winters – all are his.
In remaining vulnerable, open and relaxed you become a master.
That’s a strange phenomenon and very paradoxical: in remaining surrendered to existence you become victorious. These moments will be coming to you again and again. My whole effort is to bring more and more of such moments, such penetrating moments, for you. Don’t behave stupidly, don’t go on repeating old strategies, old patterns of your mind. Learn new ways of being.
The greatest thing to learn is not to hold onto anything: to your love, to your joy, to your body or to your health. Enjoy everything – your health, your body, your love, your woman or your man – but don’t cling. Keep your hands open; don’t become a fist. If you become a fist you become closed – closed to the winds and the rains and the sun and the moon, closed to existence itself – that is the ugliest way to live. It is creating a grave around yourself. Then your existence is windowless. You go on suffocating inside and you are suffocating because you think you are creating safety and security for yourself.
A king was very afraid of death, as everyone is – and the more you have, the more afraid you are, of course. A poor man is not so afraid of death. What has he got to lose? What has life given to him? He remains unconcerned.
That’s why in poor countries you will see again and again a great indifference towards death, poverty and starvation. The reason is that people have lived in such poverty for so long that now they are not so worried about death. Death comes to them as a relief – a relief from all the miseries and anxieties, a relief from starvation, suffering and poverty.
People coming from richer countries think, “Why are they so indifferent to death?” The reason is simple: there is nothing to cling to. Their life has not given anything to them. Their life is so poor that death can’t take anything away from them; it can’t make them poorer than they already are. But the more you have, the more you become afraid of death. The richer the society, the more fear of death.
The more safe you are, the more dead you are. And this is not a beautiful death – the graceful death of the leaf, of the rose petal falling towards the ground and moving back to the source. It is an ugly death, man’s invention. A natural death is beautiful; man has made it ugly. Man has made everything ugly; whatsoever man touches become ugly. If he touches gold it turns into dust.
Let this understanding penetrate as deeply as possible. Let this become your very core and your insight. Yes, it is so. Don’t possess, don’t hold tight. Remain relaxed, remain non-possessive. If something is available, enjoy it. When it disappears, let it disappear with gratitude – gratitude for all that it has done for you, with no grudge and with no complaint. And you will know the greatest joys of both life and death, of both light and darkness, of both being and non-being.
Question: It feels like I have lived through all my feelings now and there is just emptiness.
Emptiness turns into fullness if you accept it, if you welcome it and if you receive it with reverence. If you don’t receive it – if you are a little bit frightened, scared – it remains empty, it remains negative.
To turn the negative into positive is the whole alchemy of turning the baser metal into gold.
Emptiness is a baser metal. In itself it is not of much value; it is just empty. But if you welcome it with great love and respect, if you embrace it, suddenly the quality of it changes. Through your acceptance it becomes a positive emptiness. Then it is no longer empty: it is full of itself. It has a kind of fullness, overflowing – and that’s what the divine is.
So you have to go into it again and again. And many times it will be coming. It will hang around you, it will knock at your doors, so receive it; it is a guest. Love it! There is nothing more valuable than it is. If you can transform it into fullness, then there is nothing more to be done. But people go on missing. Sometimes it comes – they miss because they become afraid, they become antagonistic to it. They start holding themselves and controlling themselves.
Remember, control has to be avoided now. Control creates conflict. You and the emptiness function as enemies, and then there is conflict. In that conflict much energy is dissipated, unnecessarily . . . and it is very valuable energy, very precious energy.
It is a great opportunity knocking on your door. If you become afraid – you close and lock the door and escape inside somewhere and hide under a bed – you will miss it. It might not knock again. It might knock again after many years or many lives – one never knows. You are just very close to something that can prove a transformation. You can miss, and the way to miss is to remain in fear. In fear one starts controlling; in control one becomes antagonistic. It has to be loved.
Emptiness has to become your beloved.
You have to lose yourself in it and it has to lose itself in you.
Let there be a deep orgasm with this emptiness, let it be a love affair. Soon you will see that the emptiness is no longer empty: it is full! It is the fullest experience that is possible to human consciousness.
Accepting Pain in Suchness
First try to understand the word suchness. Buddha depends on that word very much. In Buddha’s own language it is tathata – suchness. The whole Buddhist meditation consists of living in this word, living with this word, so deeply that the word disappears and you become the suchness.
For example, you are ill. The attitude of suchness is: accept it – and say to yourself, “Such is the way of the body,” or, “Such are things.” Don’t create a fight, don’t start struggling.
Once you accept, once you don’t complain and once you don’t fight, the energy has become one within. The rift is bridged. And so much energy is released because now there is no conflict; the release of energy itself becomes a healing force.
Something is wrong in the body: relax and accept it, and simply say inside – not only in words but feel it deeply – that such is the nature of things. A body is a compound, so many things combined in it. The body is born, it is prone to death. It is a mechanism and it is complex; there is every possibility of something or other going wrong.
Accept it and don’t be identified. When you accept you remain above it, you remain beyond it. When you fight you come to the same level. Acceptance is transcendence. When you accept, you are on a hill; the body is left behind. You say, “Yes, such is the nature. Things born will have to die, and if things born have to die they will be ill sometimes. Nothing to be worried about too much” – as if it is not happening to you, just happening in the world of the things.
This is the beauty, that when you are not fighting, you transcend.
You are no longer on the same level.
This transcendence becomes a healing force. Suddenly the body starts changing.
The world of things is a flux; nothing is permanent there. Don’t expect it! If you expect permanency in the world where everything is impermanent, you will create worry. Nothing can be forever in this world; all that belongs to this world is momentary. This is the nature of things, suchness.
If you accept it grudgingly, then you will be continuously in pain and suffering. If you accept it without any complaint, not in helplessness but in understanding, it becomes suchness. Then you are no longer worried and then there is no problem. The problem was arising not because of the fact but because you couldn’t accept it the way it was happening. You wanted it to follow you, you have to follow life. Grudgingly or happily – that’s your choice. If you follow grudgingly you will be in suffering. If you follow happily you become a buddha. Your life becomes an ecstasy.
Become the Pain
Suffering means resistance. You must resist something, only then can you suffer. Try it. It will be difficult for you to be crucified, but there are daily crucifixions, small. They will do.
You have a pain in the leg or in the head you have a headache. You may not have observed the mechanism of it. You have a headache and you constantly struggle and resist. You don’t want it. You are against it, you divide yourself: you are somewhere standing within the head and the headache is there. You and the headache are separate, and you insist that it should not be so. This is the real problem.
Try once not to fight. Flow with the headache and become the headache. Say, “This is the case. This is how my head is at this moment, and at this moment nothing is possible. It may go in the future but in this moment headache is there.” Don’t resist. Allow it to happen and become one with it. Don’t make yourself separate but flow into it. Then there will be a sudden upsurge of a new type of happiness you have not known.
When there is no one to resist, even a headache is not painful. The fight creates the pain. The pain means always fighting against the pain – which is the real pain.
"I am pain; I am in pain; I am aware of the pain" – these are three different, very different states. The awareness transcends the pain: you are different from it, and there is a deep separation. Really there has never been any relationship; the relationship begins to appear only because of the nearness, because of the intimate nearness of your consciousness and all that happens around.
Consciousness is so near when you are in pain – it is just there by the side, very near. It has to be, otherwise the pain cannot be cured. It has to be just near to feel it, to know it and to be aware about it. But because of this nearness you become identified and one with it. Again this is a safety measure, this is a security measure and a natural security. When there is pain you must be near; when there is pain your consciousness must go rushing towards the pain – to feel it and to do something about it. But because of this necessity the other phenomenon happens: so near, you become one; so near, you begin to feel that “this is me – this pain, this pleasure.” Because of nearness you become identified and one with it. Again this is a safety measure, this is a security measure and a natural security. When there is pain you must be near; when there is pain your consciousness must go rushing towards the pain – to feel it and to do something about it. But because of this necessity the other phenomenon happens: so near, you become one; so near, you begin to feel that “this is me – this pain, this pleasure.” Because of nearness there is identification: you become anger or you become love; you become pain or you become happiness.
You are not what you have been thinking, feeling, imagining and projecting: what you are is simply the fact of being aware. The pain is there; a moment later it may not be there – but you will be. Happiness has come and it will go; it has been and it will not be – but you will be. The body is young, then the body becomes old. All else comes and goes – guests come and go – but the host remains the same. Remember the host. Constantly remember the host.
Be centered in the host, remain in your host-ness. Then there is a separation, then there is a gap, an interval. The bridge is broken and the moment this bridge is broken, the phenomenon of renunciation happens. Then you are in it and not of it. Then you are there in the guest and still a host. You need not escape from the guest, there is no need.
Remain where you are, but don’t be centered in the guest. Be centered in yourself, remember the host.
Taking Note Twice
Buddha taught his disciples that when you have a headache simply say twice “Headache, headache.” Take note but don’t evaluate. Don’t say, “Why? Why has this headache happened to me? It should not happen to me.”
Let this key be very deeply understood: If you can witness your headache without taking any antagonistic attitude, without avoiding it, without escaping from it; if you can just be there, meditatively there - “Headache, headache” – if you can simply see it, the headache will go in its time. I am not saying that it will go miraculously, that just by your seeing, it will go. It will go in its time. But it will not be absorbed by your system, it will not poison your system. It will be there, you will take note of it, and it will be gone. It will be released.
Stop the Senses
Take any experience . . . You have a wound – it is painful. You have a headache or any pain in the body: anything will do as an object.
What is to be done? Close your eyes and think that you are blind and you cannot see. Close your ears and think that you cannot hear. All of the five senses, just close them. How can you close them? It is easy. Stop breathing for a single moment: all your senses will be closed. Suddenly you are removed – far away.
Become stone-like and closed to the world. When you are closed to the world, really, you are closed to your own body also because your body is not part of you; it is part of the world. When you are closed completely to the world, you are closed to your own body also.
You are lying on your bed; you feel the cold sheets – become dead. Suddenly the sheets will go away, further and further away, and then they will disappear. Your bed will disappear; your bedroom will disappear; the whole world will disappear. You are closed, dead, a stone, like a Leibnizian monad with no window outside – no window. You cannot move. Then, when you cannot move, you are thrown back to yourself, you are centered in yourself. Then, for the first time you can look from your center.“
Whatsoever you do consciously is lived through and is no longer a hangover. Whatever you live unconsciously becomes a hangover, because you never live it totally – something remains incomplete. When something is incomplete it has to be carried: it waits to be completed.
You were a child, and somebody broke your toy: you were crying and your mother consoled you and diverted your mind somewhere. She gave you some sweets, talked about something else, told you a story and diverted you. You were going to cry and weep, and you forgot. That has remained incomplete. It is there, and any day that somebody snatches a toy from you – it can be any toy; it may be a girlfriend and somebody snatches her – you start weeping and crying. You can find the child there, incomplete. It may be a post: you are mayor of the town and somebody snatches the post – a toy – and you are crying and weeping again.
Find out . . . regress into the past and move through it again, because there is no other way now. The past is there no longer, so if something has remained hanging around the only way is to relive it in the mind, to move backwards.
Every night make it a point to go backwards for one hour, fully alert, as if you are living the whole thing again. Many things will bubble up and many things will call your attention. So don’t be in a hurry and don’t pay only half your attention to anything and then move on because that will again create incompleteness. Whatsoever comes, give total attention to it. Live it again. And when I say live it again I mean live it again – not just remember, because when you remember a thing you are a detached observer; that won’t help. Relive it!
You are a child again. Don’t look as if you are standing apart and looking at a child as his toy is being snatched. No! Be the child. Not outside the child, inside the child – be again the child. Relive the moment: somebody snatches the toy, somebody destroys it and you start crying – and cry! Your mother is trying to console you. Go through the whole thing again but now don’t be diverted by anything. Let the whole process be completed. When it is completed, suddenly you will feel your heart is anything and then move on because that will again create incompleteness. Whatsoever comes, give total attention to it. Live it again. And when I say live it again I mean live it again – not just remember, because when you remember a thing you are a detached observer; that won’t help. Relive it!“
You wanted to say something to your father; now he is dead, now there is no way to tell him. Or you wanted to ask his forgiveness for a certain thing you did which he didn’t like, but your ego came in and you couldn’t ask his forgiveness; now he is dead, now nothing can be done. What to do? – and it is there! It will go on and on and destroy all your relationships.
If you are conscious, you can watch. Go back. Now your father is no more, but for the eyes of the memory he is still there. Close your eyes; again be the child who has committed something, done something against the father, who wants to be forgiven but cannot gather courage. Now you can gather courage! You can say whatsoever you wanted to say and you can touch his feet again or you can be angry and hit him – but be finished. Let the whole process be completed.
Move backwards. Every night for one hour before you go to sleep, move into the past and relive . . . Many memories by and by will be unearthed. With many, you will be surprised that you were not aware that these things were there – and with such vitality and freshness, as if they had just happened! You will be a child again, a young man, again a lover: many things will come. Move slowly, so everything is completed.
Your mountain will become smaller and smaller – the load is the mountain – and the smaller it becomes, the freer you will feel. A certain quality of freedom will come to you, and a freshness. Inside you will feel you have touched a source of life.
You will be always vital. Even others will feel that when you walk your step has changed; it has a quality of dance. When you touch, your touch has changed. It is not a dead hand, it has become alive again. Now life is flowing because the blocks have disappeared. Now there is no anger in the hand; love can flow easily, unpoisoned and in its purity. You will become more sensitive, vulnerable and open.
If you have come to terms with the past suddenly you will be here and now in the present, because then there is no need to move there again and again.
Less and less memories will come as the time moves. There will be gaps – you would like to relive something but nothing is coming – and those gaps are beautiful. Then a day will come when you will not be able to move backwards because everything is complete. When you cannot move backwards, only then do you move forwards. Be finished with the past. As you become freer from the past, the mountain starts disappearing. And then you will attain unison: you will become, by and by, one.
In the night before you go to sleep, do this fifteen-minute meditation. It is a death meditation.
Lie down and relax your body. Just feel like dying and that you cannot move your body because you are dead. Just create the feeling that you are disappearing from the body. Do it for ten or fifteen minutes and you will start feeling it within a week. Meditating that way, fall asleep. Don’t break it. Let the meditation turn into sleep and if sleep overcomes you, go into it.
In the morning, the moment you feel you are awake – don’t open your eyes – do the life meditation. Feel that you are becoming more wholly alive, that life is coming back and the whole body is full of vitality and energy. Start moving, swaying in the bed with eyes closed. Just feel that life is flowing in you. Feel that the body has a great flowing energy – just the opposite of the death meditation. So do the death meditation in the night before falling asleep and the life meditation just before getting up.
With the life meditation you can take deep breaths. Just feel full of energy . . . life entering with breathing. Feel full and very happy, alive. Then after fifteen minutes, get up.
These two – the life and death meditation – are going to help you tremendously.
Keep your eyes closed now and relax completely. You do not have to do anything. There is no necessity to do anything. Before you were, things were as they are and they will be the same even after you die.
Now feel that whatever is happening is happening. Feel the “suchness” of it. It is so: it can only be this way. There is no other way possible so why resist? By suchness is meant no resistance. There is no expectation that anything be other than what is. The grass is green, the sky is blue, the waves of the ocean roar, birds sing, crows are crowing . . . There is no resistance from you because life is such. Suddenly a transformation takes place. What was normally considered to be a disturbance now seems to be soothing. You are not against anything; you are happy with everything as it is.“
So the first thing you had to do was to float rather than swim, in the ocean of existence. For one who is ready to float, the river itself takes him to the ocean. If we do not resist, life itself takes us to what is beyond life.
The last thing you had to experience was “suchness.” Only an acceptance of both the flowers and the thorns can bring you peace.
Peace, after all, is the fruit of total acceptance. Peace will come only to him who is ready to accept even the absence of peace.
Leave the body alone as if it is floating on the river. Let the river of life take you anywhere it wants to and float upon it just like a dry leaf.
Now feel the sound of the birds, the sun’s rays, the waves of the ocean, and just be a witness to them – receptive and yet aware and watchful. The body is relaxed, breathing is silent and you are in “suchness”; you are just a witness to all this.
Gradually you will feel a transformation within, and then suddenly something will become silent inside. The mind has become silent and empty. Feel this: be a witness to it, and experience it. The river has taken away your floating body, the pyre had burnt it, and you have been a witness to it. In this nothingness, a blissfulness enters which we call divinity.
People go to burn their relatives’ bodies but they never watch. They start talking of other things or they discuss and argue about death. They do many things. They talk about many things and gossip but they never watch. It should be made a meditation. No talking should be allowed there because it is a rare experience to see someone you loved being burned. You are bound to feel that you are also burning there. If you are seeing your mother being burned, or your father, or your wife, or your husband, you are bound to see yourself also there in the flames.
If you can transform a death into a moment of celebration, you have helped your friend, your mother, your father, your brother, your wife or your husband. You have given them the greatest gift that is possible in existence.
After birth everybody is on his deathbed. There is no other way. All beds are deathbeds, because after birth only one thing is certain and that is death.
Somebody dies today, somebody tomorrow and somebody the day after tomorrow: what is the difference basically? Time cannot make much difference. Time can only create an illusion of life but the life that ends in death is not and cannot be the real life. It must be a dream.
Let their death become a pointer to you so that you don’t go on wasting your life. The same is going to happen to you.
All over the world, whenever you pay respect to a dead man you become silent, you remain silent for two minutes – without knowing why. This tradition has been continued all over the world. Why silence? The tradition is meaningful. You may not know why, you may not be aware and your silence may be filled with inner chattering, or you know why, you may not be aware and your silence may be filled with inner chattering, or you may do it just like a ritual – that is up to you. But the secret is there. This is not the moment to talk about [death], this is the moment to be with it.
Question: I’ve just heard that my father has cancer, and that he has not yet been told that he may not have long to live. Do you think it’s better for a person to know, or not?
Psychologists have come to feel – and medical people feel the same too – that man lives up to seventy years not because there is some boundary to his life but because for thousands of years it has been said that man’s life consists of seventy years. This is autohypnosis: three score and ten, the biblical idea. From the days of the Bible it has been repeated that man lives three score and ten; seventy years is the law. So by the time one is fifty, one starts thinking that death is coming close. By the time one is sixty, one feels “Now I am just on the verge”; by the time one is seventy, one is ready. This is a repetition of an idea. Continuously repeated for thousands of years it has become a great force – it is an autohypnosis – and man dies. Modern research shows that there is no need for man to die at seventy, in fact there is no limit to his life. He can live one hundred and fifty years or two hundred years or even more once this autohypnosis is broken.
So it is better to tell him the truth. That might break his pattern of life and might change his style of life.
I have heard about one man who was going to die; the doctors gave him a limit of six months. He was a very rich man but a very miserly one and he had never lived. He was always thinking to make love to this woman, to purchase that car, but he would never do it; he would continue in his old Ford. He was really a miser: about each single cent he would think a thousand and one times. But now six months hence he was going to die, so he thought, “What am I to do?”
He ordered all the beautiful clothes he could order – all custommade. He purchased all the beautiful cars that were available – not one, but all. And he started falling in love with any woman he could find. He’d always wanted to have a world trip so he went on a world trip. He took everything that he wanted to and he started enjoying himself.
He forgot about life because after six months he was going to die . . . and he had enough money. After six months when he came back from his world tour, his cancer had disappeared.
He said, “I have not done anything – it is you! During these six months I have lived for the first time.”
That living for the first time destroyed his stress – he relaxed. He went to the Himalayas, he went to Switzerland; he visited all the beautiful places. Now there was no point in denying himself; he indulged like anything. Death was coming. Maybe it would come in six months; if he indulged too much it might come in three months, so what? Let it come, but let him have his day! He uncoiled – his energies started flowing, his blocks disappeared . .
In the West people are doing absolute nonsensical things about dying. Firstly, they won’t say to a person that he is dying. That is absolutely foolish because then he remains continually worried about this life, because he thinks he is going to live and everybody is pretending that he is going to live. So just find a silent moment when nobody is there, and release the news to him. It may be shocking but it is good, because once a person knows he is going to die, immediately his interest in this world is lost – immediately.
Just think of it. Once you know that you are going to die within days, immediately this world – the money, the bank, the business, this and that – is useless. Now everything is no more than a dream and you are already awakening. Once you say to a man that he is going to die within a certain limit, and it is certain, the man is already dead in a way and he starts thinking about the future. Then meditation is possible.
If you tell him that he is going to live and that everything is okay and doctors and the hospitals and relatives are pretending and smiling, you are deceiving the man and he will go on clinging to things that are useless, futile and rubbish. Once he knows he is going to die he will drop that rubbish of his own accord. Immediately his whole vision is transformed. He is no longer here: he has started to look to the future, because when one is going on a journey one starts the preparation.
If you have to leave tomorrow you start packing your suits; you are no longer worried about this room in the hotel. In fact you are no longer here; you are just organizing your suitcases and things and you are thinking about the journey. The same happens to a person when you tell him that he is going to die, that death is certain and cannot be avoided and he should not go on fooling around; now the decisive moment has come and he has already wasted enough life . . .
Immediately the man turns his back on the world and starts peeking into the darkness of the future.
Tell her that if she can watch this breath going in and going out, she will become aware that she is not this body and she is not this breath either. She is the one who is watching, and that watcher never dies; it is immortal.
The moment we know our witness we are immortals.
So if in these last days you can help her to watch, that will be the greatest gift that you can give to her before she leaves because then she can leave in perfect silence, in absolute cool and collectedness – and that is the real way to die.
There are people who don’t know how to live and there are only a few people who know how to die. That is the greatest art because that is the culmination of life.
If you miss death you have missed your whole life. You will be thrown back into the womb again because you will have to learn and go through the whole process again. You failed, so you have to go through the same class – unless you pass. The only way to pass is to die so centered, so alert and so peaceful that there is no fear ever. This cannot be managed just by becoming brave, no.
This cannot be managed, there is no way to manage it. Unless you know that there is something in you that is deathless, it is not possible to manage it. And that deathlessness is always there; that is your witnessing consciousness.“
This is the purpose: the whole of life is an opportunity to distract you and an opportunity to remain centered and not to be distracted. Life is a great challenge to not be disturbed. If you are disturbed, you are a failure. If you remain undisturbed, you have won and you are victorious. The final test is death.
So just go and help him to be silent. Put music on – classical music will be of immense help – and tell him just to listen to the music. Tell him just to watch his breath. Tell him to relax and not to fight with death, because death too is divine.
The Western mind does not know how to relax. It knows perfectly well how to fight; it is a warrior and it goes on fighting to the very end. Even against death it goes on fighting. When there is no possibility of winning, even then the old habit persists. Tell him to relax. Tell him to allow death to possess him. Tell him to invite death; tell him to think of death not as a foe but as a friend.
Be as happy as you can be by his side; that is the only way to say good-bye to somebody who is dying. People do just the opposite: around the dying man they become very serious, sad, in despair. They create an atmosphere of darkness. The man needs a little light. The man is going on a long journey – he needs people to give him a good-bye in celebration. But people make it very heavy. They think they are being friendly and sympathetic, but they are making his journey more difficult.
Seeing their sadness he becomes sadder. He starts clinging more to life and starts fighting desperately against death, thinking that everybody is so sad that death must be something very bad. Neither the people who are around know what death is nor does he himself know. This is not a good way to say good-bye.
Let there be music, let there be light and let there be laughter. Sing songs, be loving and help him feel that he is moving into another kind of life – death is only a door. Only old garments are being discarded and he will have better garments. If he can go laughing, then you really helped him. Be by his side and help in any way you can.
Death, when it is around, or when one feels that it is around, is a great opportunity to be loving.
When we think the other person is going to live we are miserly in love, because we can love tomorrow or the day after tomorrow; and the mind always postpones. The mind is afraid of love because love is too much and the mind cannot control it. Love overwhelms it, love creates a chaos and the mind is always trying to create some order. So the mind goes on postponing love.
But when one starts feeling death around – and death is always around; anybody can die any moment . . . But when it is felt that somebody is seriously ill – and the person may not die, but when we start feeling the shadow of death – then there is no way to postpone. Love has to happen right now because we cannot think even of the next moment. Next moment she may be gone so there is no future.
When there is no future the mind cannot go on controlling you. The mind can control only through the future, through postponing. It says, “Tomorrow. Wait – let me do my things right now; tomorrow you can do other things. There is tomorrow so why are you in such a hurry?” But when there is no tomorrow and suddenly you feel the curtain falling, then the mind cannot deceive you.
These moments can become of immense revelation.
So be loving! All that we have is love.
Everything else is immaterial because everything else is on the outside; only love comes from the inside. Everything else – we can give money and things and presents . . . we have not brought them with us; we have collected them here. We come naked but we come full of love. We come empty of everything else but we come full of love, overflowing. So when we give our love, then only do we give. That’s the gift, the real gift, and that can be given only when death is standing there. So never miss the opportunity.
And the man who never postpones love becomes love, and to become love is to know the divine.
Death is a great opportunity. It throws you back into your love source. So be around her and shower your love energy. If she dies, she dies in a great loving space; if she survives, she survives as a new being. Both ways it is perfectly good. Death doesn’t matter – all that matters is love.
Relax about your mother; it is good if she dies. Sometimes life is good, sometimes death is good. Nothing is good in itself; it depends. So help her to leave. Every night, just help her to leave.
Particularly a person who has been ill for thirty-five years, who has not lived, naturally clings to life more. This is the paradox: ordinarily we think a person who has been ill for thirty-five years and paralyzed for fourteen years should desire to die, but this is not right reasoning. The desire to die happens naturally only when one has lived his whole life, when one has lived so deeply that the fruit is ripe to fall. But she has not lived.
The most important thing in life is to learn that you are not the body. That will give you such freedom from pain and from suffering. Not that suffering will disappear, not that there will not be any pain or cancer. They will be there but you will not be identified with them. You will be just a watcher. And if you can watch your own body as if it is somebody else’s body, you have attained something of tremendous importance. Your life has not been in vain. You have learned the lesson, the greatest lesson that is possible for any human being.
My own approach is that meditation should be a compulsory thing for every student and for every retired person. There should be universities and colleges available to teach meditation. Every hospital should have a section especially for those who are going to die. Before they die they must be able to learn meditation. Then millions of people can die with laughter on their faces, with joy. Then death is simply freedom, freedom from the cage you have been calling your body.
You are not the body. That’s what your sister understood at the last moment. She must have smiled at her own misunderstanding and she must have smiled that she resisted death. She must have smiled that she was not willing to learn meditation. Her smile contains many strains, and I can understand that you have been puzzled.
Do not forget it. Her smile might become a tremendously meaningful experience for you. She has given you a gift, an invaluable gift. She could not say a single word, there was not enough time, but her smile has said everything.
This is the way a meditator should die – with joy, playfulness, not taking things seriously. Life is a play and death has to be a greater play.
Energy flows in the same way water flows – downward. It cannot flow upwards. So remember it, that in both ways energy can be exchanged. If the person is certainly of an evil character it is better to avoid him. You will not be able to help him; on the contrary, he may help you – give you some of his deviltry and sow some seeds in your heart and in your being. It is better to avoid him. But if the person is a good person that has not done any harm to anybody . . . The basic thing is that if you love the person, if you have a feeling for the person, then you can pour your energy into him. This is the time and the last time; you won’t have another opportunity to give him a gift.
Love is beautiful. If you love your mother you love her, but it cannot be a duty. If it is a duty it is better not to love because duty is not going to satisfy her. And if you are doing your duty because she is your mother and she has given birth to you, what can you do, you have to take care, when she is ill you have to sit by her side . . . Then all the time, if it is a duty, your mind is against her. You are feeling suffocated; you are feeling burdened and in bondage. You would like to rebel and revolt. If this mother dies you may not say so to anybody but you will feel relief.
Question: How to be, what to do with my feelings when my beloved dies?
Death has occurred, your beloved is dead. Don’t move in thinking. Don’t bring in the Upanishads and the Gita and the Bible. Don’t ask the Christs and Buddhas. Leave them alone. Death is there: face it, encounter it. Be with this situation totally. Don’t think about it. What can you think? You can only repeat old rubbish. The death is such a new phenomenon; it is so unknown, that your knowledge is not going to help in any way. So put aside your mind. Be in a deep meditation with death.
Don’t do anything, because what can you do which can be of any help? You don’t know. So be in ignorance. Don’t bring in false knowledge, borrowed knowledge. Death is there; you be with it. Face death with total presence. Don’t move in thinking because then you are escaping from the situation, you are becoming absent from here. Don’t think. Be present with the death.
Sadness will be there, sorrow will be there, a heavy burden will be on you – let it be there. It is a part – a part of life and a part of maturity, and part of the ultimate realization. Remain with it, totally present. This will be meditation and you will come to a deep understanding of death. Then death itself becomes eternal life.
But don’t bring in the mind and knowledge. Remain with death; then death will reveal itself to you, then you will know what death is. You will move into the inner mansions of it. Then death will take you to the very center of life – because death is the very center of life. It is not against life, it is the very process of life but the mind brings in the contradiction that life and death are opposites. Then you go on thinking, and because the root is false, the opposition is false, you can never come to any conclusion which can be true and real.
Whenever there is a lived problem, be with the problem without your mind – that’s what I mean by meditation – and just being there with the problem will solve it. And if you have really been there, death will not occur to you again because then you know what death is.
We never do this – never with love, never with death, never with anything that is authentic, real. We always move in thoughts, and thoughts are the falsifiers. They are borrowed, not your own. They cannot liberate you. Only the truth that is your own can become your liberation.
Question: Death seems so senseless and depressing. After all these years of working on myself and trying to understand what life is all about, I just don’t get it. Now a very close friend is in a coma and the doctors say she is going to die. And I don’t know whether to be angry with her, angry with the doctors, or angry with myself.
The only problem is that you go on expecting too much from yourself. Why can’t one simply be as one is? If you do not understand, you do not understand. Why this constant effort to make something, become something or be something which you are not?
The only understanding there is, is this: that one accepts oneself as one is. What else can you do? This whole effort in the name of growth is nothing but an ego trip. You will get frustrated again and again and in every crisis you will come to a point where you feel that nothing has happened. But why should anything happen in the first place?
The expectation that something has to happen is creating the whole trouble. Why should it happen? And what is the point of expecting it? You will go on trying to make it happen and planning how to; then you will be tense. And when it does not happen, you will create a false pretension that it has happened, because one cannot live in continuous misery. To hide that misery, one creates a mask of understanding. But again and again this mask is to be broken. Whenever a real problem arises, again you will see that you are standing naked and the mask is not functioning.
So what I am insisting is: accept the situation you find that you are in. There is no way out of it. That’s what understanding is – accepting the way you are. Not that you grow. Suddenly you see that there is no need for anything. Then all these situations can be helpful; they bring you back down to reality.
A crisis is a blessing; it brings you back to earth again and again. Otherwise you start moving in your fantasy.
Question: No, there is no need to say anything. If others are saying that, maybe they are right; maybe they are feeling that way. But there is no need for you to feel that way too. You are not like them. And there is no need for them to feel like you, so don’t think that they are pretending. They may be right. It is not a problem for them, it is a problem for you.
Just one thing has to be understood, that this is the way you are and that you don’t understand. Accept this non-understanding. You are fighting with it; that’s why you feel depressed. Feeling that you are ignorant, non-understanding, stupid and idiotic – accept it! Why should you want to be some kind of sage or something like that? Then the problem disappears, because it is created by a deep non-acceptance. Somehow you go on rejecting yourself in subtle ways.
It is not a question of what you say about your friend – that is not the point at all. Everything you say about everybody is basically about you, and every situation is your situation. Whether she is in a beautiful space or not is not a problem for you; you have nothing to do with that. And how can you decide whether she is in a beautiful space or not? Only one thing is certain – that whatsoever space you are in, you go on creating trouble for yourself.
Stop fighting with yourself. Just see that it is pointless. If you don’t understand, you don’t. What can be done? Accept it and then the problem disappears.
That is the point where growth starts: through acceptance, not struggle. It is not an effort to become something. It is a relaxation into whatever you are. Then you will not feel depressed; you may feel helpless but not depressed. And helplessness is a beautiful feeling, because all prayer arises out of helplessness. Helplessness is a beautiful feeling because it is a non-ego state. You will feel helpless and that you cannot do anything. Somebody is dying: you loved the person and you cannot do anything. Tremendously helpless, impotent – yet this is beautiful. You understand that the whole ego is nonsense; it is of no use, you cannot make anything out of it. You cannot even help a person who is dying, so what else can you do?
It becomes depression if you think in terms of the ego. Then you would like to become strong, more understanding and more powerful so that next time anybody is in trouble and you feel they are hurt, you can help him. That’s what you are doing. Then you feel depressed that you have not grown yet.
If you feel helpless, simply bow down in that deep helplessness. You sit by the side of your friend and pray: “I am helpless and nothing can be done.” In that helplessness you will see not only yourself as helpless but also that the whole of humanity is helpless. In that helplessness you will see that all egos are false.
Suddenly the ego becomes absolutely irrelevant. And in that humbleness, you disappear. Something else arises – a prayer. Nothing more can be done. Whenever somebody is in trouble, you pray, that’s all.
But people like to do something rather than pray, because prayer means helplessnes.
Question: I’ve always prayed but now I don’t know who is there to pray to.
Your prayer must be a trick to gain something. You pray for some end. You pray and then you check whether it is working or not. Then it is not prayer; it is again a method. If everything else fails, you pray to God and you think that now prayer should do something. And when it does nothing either, you become even more depressed. You don’t know whom to pray to, what to say and what not to say.
That is not the point – prayer is an end in itself. It is just a cry of humbleness, a deep cry of helplessness. Not that you pray to somebody – there may be nobody – but you simply feel helpless like a child. The child starts calling for the mommy or the daddy. They may not be anywhere, they may not exist but that is not the point. The child starts crying and that crying is cleansing.
It is not that your friend is going to be helped. My whole point is totally different: you are going to be helped. And not as an end result of it, but just by praying you will feel cleansed. You will again feel settled and undisturbed. You will be able to accept more and you will become more open. Even death becomes okay.
People pray – that too is a technique for them, part of their egoistic effort. I’m not talking about that kind of prayer, but the prayer that arises out of a situation where you feel you cannot do anything. Not that something will happen out of it, but you will be transformed. You will not feel that something is lacking. You will feel a fulfillment. You will feel a certain new calmness that has never been there.
So don’t get depressed about it, because that is not going to do anything. If you can enjoy it, you enjoy it and there is no problem. But if you are depressed it will not be of any use; it is just a sheer wastage. Death should not be wasted that way. This crisis will be coming again and again, because nobody is going to be here forever. So learn from it. It is a great discipline to watch death.
And the day she dies – she will die some day – make it a celebration. First be purified by her death. In fact, in her death try to learn how to die. In her death let your death also happen. Make it an opportunity to see what death is, so you have some taste of it and some flavor of it. And when she dies, all of you should make it a celebration – dance, sing and be ecstatic.
Death should be welcomed: it is one of the greatest events in life.
There are only three great events in life: birth, love and death. Birth has already happened – you cannot do anything about it. Love is very exceptional: it happens to very few people and you cannot know anything about it. Death happens to all, and you cannot avoid it. That is the only certainty. So accept it, rejoice in it, delight in it.
But before she dies, she is giving you an opportunity to be cleansed and pure and meditative. So when she leaves the body, you can delight in that phenomenon.
Question: My life has become so empty since my wife passed over three years ago. If life and death are two compartments, is there some way to communicate with the people who have gone beyond – some astral way, some subtle communication?
Everybody has to come to that point sooner or later. One has to see that all is empty, that all was a beautiful dream – the wife and the husband and all the traveling – a beautiful dream, but it has to end. No dream can continue forever.
One has to understand this emptiness that inevitably comes.
The sooner it comes, the better, because only this emptiness will take you inwards.
The real search starts only when one begins feeling that life is meaningless. If there is meaning, who bothers? If there is a kind of contentment and things are going and flowing perfectly well and one is succeeding in life and life is full of occupation and ambition, who bothers about truth and God? Only this emptiness makes man seek and search for truth – truth that will abide even beyond death.
This has been a great experience you have passed through, but you are still hankering. And that’s why you are trying to find out “Is there some way to communicate with the people who have gone beyond – some astral way, some subtle communication? Is it possible?” That means you are still trying to somehow avoid this emptiness. This cannot be avoided and should not be avoided. One has to go into it rather than avoiding it.
Now, you can get into things like astral travels and ESP and parapsychology; there is a lot of rubbish. You can fill yourself with that and you can again create a little comfort. You can go to mediums and you can have little talks with your wife, but these will be just games. When the real wife could not last, it is absolutely meaningless to base your life again on these games; I call them games.
The moment has come when you have to look into your inner self, and then the going of the wife will not be felt as a curse – it will be felt as a blessing, because if she was there you would have still remained in the same way. Maybe this is a god-sent opportunity. It can become a breakthrough.
If you start moving into this emptiness, this will become meditation. Meditation is nothing but entering into emptiness. If you can enter the very core of your being, all problems will be solved and there will be no more hankering for your wife or for anybody. One simply comes to know one’s eternity. And in that eternity everybody becomes eternal.
You will not find your wife as a separate entity again, because the separate entity exists only with the body and the brain system. Your wife is there but it is as if you break a bulb: the light is still there but you cannot see it because the medium through which it was becoming manifest is no longer there. The body is burned and the brain cells gone. Now it is pure consciousness. The wave has disappeared into the ocean.
Rather than thinking of that wave and dreaming about it and going into memories and nostalgia, which is wasting time because your death will be coming soon . . . before that you have to prepare.
Question: Death has no fear for me now.
The fear is still there. And when your death comes you will feel afraid. You are consoling yourself; you don’t know. You believe that there is no death – you want to believe that, but this is not your knowing. This is a consolation. We live in consolations. We don’t want to believe that the wife has simply died and there is nothing left, mm? That is too much to bear – it will shake us too much. Just the idea that she is, that the soul is eternal . . . And I am not saying that those ideas are wrong. I am simply saying that those ideas are just ideas for you; they are not yet your experiences. If they are not your experiences, when death comes you will be shaken, because ideas cannot be of any help . . .
Until you experience them – only then are they valid. Otherwise everybody believes but everybody cries and weeps when somebody dies. Everybody knows, everybody thinks that he knows, but very rarely does a man come to know. Because to know is arduous, to know needs a persistent effort to enter into your own being, which is a dark journey and one in which one is all alone. The deeper you go, the more alone you become, because nobody can go with you. Not even the master can go with the disciple. At the ultimate stage you are left alone – pure consciousness. But then you have known, and with that knowing, life becomes a play, a drama. Whether life remains or goes makes no difference; it is immaterial.
But that has not happened. That you can manage to happen, but if you go on believing in these consolations it will not happen. These consolations are dangerous and these consolations are what so-called saints go on giving to people; these are make-believes.
Belief is not knowledge; that has to be absolutely understood. Belief is not knowledge. Belief is just belief – borrowed. And yes, it consoles; it keeps one moving. Otherwise life will become so much anguish that one may start thinking of committing suicide or one may go mad; it may be unbearable. These beliefs are like buffers: they protect you. From the too harsh facts of life they protect, they surround you.
Question: A sort of escapism?
A sort of escapism. But the truth is there. The truth is aflame in everybody’s being and the entry is possible; everybody is capable of going into it. One just has to take the decision and have the courage; one has to start working a little bit.
If you can just give one or two hours every day for meditations, soon you will not need beliefs. And when one knows that one is standing on solid ground, then there is no fear of death, because there is no death. How can there be fear when there is no death?
Question: My twelve-month-old child died recently: I can’t understand why her life was taken.
Life is very precarious and accidental: any moment anybody can go. So don’t be worried about why it happened; there is no why. All the answers that can be given to your “Why?” will be nothing but consolations to somehow rationalize a thing that is mysterious but which by rationalizing we help to console ourselves. I am not interested in consoling anybody because it is a dangerous game, this consolation. It keeps you hidden behind buffers.
The truth is that the child was alive and suddenly is alive no more. This should make you understand the dream-like quality of life. Life is made of the stuff called dreams. We may see a beautiful dream but it can be broken by any small thing – just a noise and the dream disappears. It may have been a sweet dream and one feels hurt and one wants to close one’s eyes and to continue dreaming, but now nothing can be done.
Rather than finding explanations and consolations, always look at the naked truth. It is sad, it hurts and it is painful: see it, that it is so, but don’t try to somehow whitewash it. All explanations and all philosophies are nothing but efforts to whitewash things that are not white, which are very dark and mysterious.
When such moments come they are of tremendous significance, because in those moments awakening is possible. When your child dies it is such a shock: you can awaken in such a shock, rather than crying and wasting the opportunity. After a few days the shock will be a shock no more; time heals everything. After a few years you will forget all about it. By the end of your life it might look as if you had seen it in some movie or read about it in a novel. In time it will have faded and faded so far away that only an echo . . .
Catch hold of it right now. This is the moment when it can help you to be alert and awake. Don’t miss the opportunity; all consolations are ways of missing opportunities.
Never ask why. Life is without any why and death is without any why. The why cannot be answered and need not be answered. Life is not a problem that can be solved nor is death. Life and death are both parts of one mystery, which knows no answer. The question mark is ultimate.
So all that can be done in such situations is that one should awaken, because these shocks can become a breakthrough. Thinking stops. The shock is such that the mind goes into a blur. Nothing seems to be meaningful; all seems to be lost. One feels an utter stranger, an outsider . . . uprooted. These are tremendously significant moments; these are the moments when you can enter into a new dimension. And death is one of the greatest doors that opens into the divine. When somebody dies who is as close as a child is to a mother, it is almost the death of yourself . . . as if you have died. A part of you has died.
Just see that life is a dream and that everything will disappear sooner or later: dust unto dust. Nothing abides here. We cannot make our home here. It is a caravanserai, an overnight’s stay, and in the morning we go. But there is one thing which is constantly there and permanently there – that is your watching, your witnessing. Everything else disappears, everything else comes and goes; only witnessing remains.
Witness this whole thing. Just be a witness and don’t become identified. Don’t be a mother; otherwise you are identified. Just be a witness, a silent watcher. That watching will help you tremendously. It is the only key that opens the door of mysteries.
Not that it solves anything but it makes you capable of living the mysterious and of living it totally.
Question: Since the death of her grandmother, my daughter is asking me about dying. She wants to know where everything goes when it dies.
That’s very good . . . All children are interested in death; it is one of the natural curiosities. But rather than answering them . . . because all answers will be false. So never answer. Just say that you don’t know; that we will die and we will see. And let that be a tacit understanding about all those things for which you don’t know the answers.
When a child asks anything that you don’t know, accept your ignorance. Never feel that acceptance of ignorance can be harmful; it never is. Parents always think that to accept that we don’t know will be harmful; our image will fall down before the child. But in fact just the opposite is the case. Sooner or later the child is going to find that you never knew and still you answered and you answered as if you knew. And the day it is recognized, the child will feel that you have been cheating, and then all respect disappears. Sooner or later the child is bound to find that the parents are as ignorant as anybody else, as powerless as anybody else is, as groping in the dark as anybody else, but they pretended and that pretension is very destructive. So whenever there is something you don’t know, say, “I don’t know. I’m searching and seeking.”
Death is one of those things about which nothing can be said except one thing – that we go back home, we go to the same place from where we have come. We don’t know either. We come from some unknown source and we go back to that unknown source.
Death is the completion of the circle.
But both ends – the beginning and the end – are hidden in mystery.
It is just as if a bird enters into a room from one window, flutters there for a few seconds and escapes from another window outside. We know only when the bird is inside the room. We don’t know from where it comes; we don’t know where it has gone. All that we know is that small time, that interval, when the bird was inside the room. We saw the bird entering from one window and escaping from another window; we don’t know from where or to where.
This is the state of the whole of life. We see a child is born; the bird has entered – from where nobody knows. Then one day a person is dead; the bird has flown. And life is just between birth and death . . . a small passage.
Make the child aware of the mystery. Rather than giving the answer it is better to make the child aware of the mysterious that’s all around, so the child starts feeling more awe and more wonder. Rather than giving a pat answer it is better to create an inquiry. Help the child to be more curious, help the child to be more inquiring. Rather than giving the answer, make the child ask more questions. If the child’s heart becomes inquiring, that’s enough; that’s all parents can do for the child. Then the child will seek his or her own answers in his or her own way.
Never give answers. That has been one of the most dangerous things that man has practiced down the ages and the greatest calamity. We are very arrogant when we give answers; we lose all humbleness. We forget that life remains unknown – something “x.” We live it and yet it remains unknown; we are in it and yet it remains unknown. Its unknowability is something that seems to be fundamental. We have known many things but the unknowability remains the same – untouched. Man has progressed in knowledge much, much is known every day; thousands of research papers go on being added to human knowledge, thousands of books go on being added. But still the fundamental remains the same.
Before the fundamental we are humble and helpless. So help her to feel the mystery more and more.
The Zen master Bassui wrote the following letter to one of his disciples who was about to die:
The essence of your mind is not born, so it will never die. It is not an existence, which is perishable. It is not an emptiness, which is a mere void. It has neither colour nor form. It enjoys no pleasures and suffers no pains.
I know you are very ill. Like a good zen student, you are facing that sickness squarely. You may not know exactly who is suffering, but question yourself: what is the essence of this mind? Think only of this. You will need no more. Covet nothing. Your end which is endless is as a snowflake dissolving in pure air.“
A man who is afraid of death clings to life too much; but the irony is that even if he clings too much to life, he is not able to see what life is. His clinging to life becomes a barrier to understanding life too. He cannot understand death, he cannot understand life; he remains in a deep misunderstanding, in a great ignorance.
So this is one of the most fundamental things to see: that death is not the enemy. Death cannot be the enemy. In fact, the enemy exists not. The whole existence is one. All is friendly. All is yours, it belongs to you and you belong to it. You are not strangers here.
Existence has given birth to you; existence has mothered you. So when you die, you simply go back to the original source to rest and to be born again.
Death is like a rest. Life is activity: death is rest. And without rest activity is not possible. Life is like the day and death is like the night. And without the night, the day cannot exist on its own. It is night that prepares you for the day, it is night that rejuvenates you, gives you energy back. You move in your deep sleep to the very point where death will lead you.
Every night you go into death – it is a small death – hence in the morning you feel so alive. Unfortunate are those people who don’t die every night. In the morning they are more tired than they were when they went to bed. They were dreaming, they were still clinging to life in their dreams. They didn’t go in a let-go. They didn’t allow death to take possession of them and mend many things and give rest, relaxation, new energy. These are the unfortunate people. The fortunate people are those who go into a tremendously deep sleep, a dreamless sleep. In the morning they are again alive, ready to face life in its manifold forms, full of joy, full of response, ready to take any challenge that life proposes.
Death is like the night. Life is yang and death is yin. Life is male, death is female. Life is aggression, ambition – a great effort to conquer many things. And death is relaxation from all aggression – an inward journey. One relaxes into oneself. Zen people call it „the asylum of rest’.
Life is an adventure; you go away from yourself, you go farther and farther away. The farther away you are, the more miserable you become. You go in search of happiness, but the more you search for happiness, the farther you are from it. And you can see it in your own life. This is not a philosophy, this is a simple statement of fact. Everybody goes in search of happiness. But the farther away you go, the more miserable you become.
Life is a search for happiness – but brings misery. One day you are fed up and tired and bored. That adventure no longer appeals. You relax into yourself, you come back. The closer you come to yourself, the more happy you become. The more you forget about happiness, the more happy you become. The day you stop seeking and searching for happiness, you are happy.
Life is a promise for happiness, but only a promise. It never fulfills. Death fulfills it. Hence, I repeat: death is not the enemy. Death is your home where you come after many many journeys – tired, frustrated, exhausted – to seek shelter, to seek rest, to gain again the lost vitality. One thing.
Second thing: life and death are not so much apart as we think. You think life happened the day you were born, and death will happen the day you die. So there is a seventy or eighty or one hundred years’ gap. It is not so. Birthing and dying go on together your whole life. The moment you start breathing you start dying too. Each moment there is life and there is death – two wheels of the same cart. They go together. They are simultaneous. You cannot put them so far apart – seventy years is too much distance. You cannot put them so far apart – they are there every moment. Every moment something is being born in you and something is dying.
Dying and living are together. In seventy years’ time you are finished with this dying and living. You are tired of the game. You would like to go home. You have played with sand castles. You have argued, fought for your sand castles: This is mine and that is thine, and enough is enough! Evening has come and the sun is setting and you want to come home. After seventy years you slip into deep rest. But dying and living continue together. To see it in that light will bring great insight to you. Each moment both are there.
So there is no need to be afraid. It is not that death is going to happen somewhere in the future. The future creates problems: It is going to happen somewhere in the future – how to protect yourself? How to create Great China Walls against it? What arrangements should be made so it doesn’t happen to you, or at least so it can be postponed a little more?
But it is already happening! It is not a question in the future. It has been happening since you have been here. You cannot postpone it, you cannot do anything about it! There is no way to do anything about it. It is the very process of life – dying is part of the very process of life.
For example, it comes very clearly apparent and pronounced when you make love. Naturally, because love gives you the feeling of life. But have you watched? After each love act you become depressed. Relaxed, silent, but a kind of frustration is also there. At the peak of your love you are at the peak of life, and then suddenly you fall into death. Each love act brings life to a peak, and, naturally, gives you a glimpse into the abyss of death that is surrounding it. The valley of death is very clear when the peak of life is very high.
Out of this experience, two types of culture have arisen in the world. One is sex-against, and one is death-against.
The sex-against culture emphasizes more the frustration that follows the sex act. It is more concerned with the valley. It says, “Look, nothing is achieved, only frustration. That was all illusion; that peak, that orgasm, was just illusory, momentary. See what really comes in the end – just frustration. Again you are flat on the ground. So it was a kind of illusion that you have created, but this is reality.”
After each sex act, everybody „starts thinking of how to become celibate, how to drop this whole miserable wheel, how to get out of this vicious wheel. The idea of celibacy and Brahmacharya has arisen because of that second part. It is there! People who are sex-against see only it. People who are death-against don’t see it. People who are death-against, they simply see the peak, they don’t look into the valley. Once the peak is there, they close their eyes and go into sleep. They don’t think about the valley. The valley is there, but they have chosen only the peak.
But see, there is a corollary to it. If you only see the peak then you will be very much afraid of death, because you will not have any experience of it. Then death will remain unknown forever. Only when you are dying, then you will come across it. Then it will be too much and too new, and too unfamiliar and unknown, and it will shock you very much.
So the people who are death-against and only see the peak of life, the orgasmic peak of the sex act, will avoid the valley, they will not look into it. Then ultimately, one day, that valley is there. They are very afraid. Hence, in the West, where sex has become more free and people are less sex-against, they are more death against. They are fighting against death. Somehow death has to be destroyed.
In the East, people are sex-against. They look only into the valley. They don’t look at the peak; they say the peak is just illusory. Because they look into the valley, they have become more and more death-prone, ready to die. In fact, waiting to die; in fact, hoping to die, desiring to die, dreaming to die. In the East the greatest ideal is how to die so utterly that you are never born again. That is the ultimate death.
In the West the idea is how to create a situation where you don’t die at all; you go on living – on and on and on. Both attitudes are lopsided. Both attitudes create a kind of imbalance in you, and that imbalance is the misery of man.
A real man, an authentic man, will face all; he will not choose. He will not say, “I will see only the valley and I will be oblivious of the peak,” or “I will only see the peak and I will remain oblivious of the valley.” He will see both as they are. He will not choose.
Not to choose is Zen. To be choiceless is Zen: to see things as they are in their totality – good and bad, heaven and hell, life and death, day and night, summer and winter – to see them as they are. Zen is not an either/or philosophy. It does not give you a choice because it says, “If you choose, you will always be afraid of the one that you have not chosen.”
See into it: if you choose something, you will remain constantly trapped with that which you have not chosen, because the notchosen is the rejected, the not-chosen is the repressed. The notchosen is a hankering to take revenge. The not-chosen is getting ready – some day, in a weaker moment, it will explode with a vengeance.
Both kinds of people remain fear-oriented; and both kinds of people remain in a fighting state, continuously conflicting. They never come to a calm tranquillity, an equilibrium. Equilibrium is when you don’t choose, when you see the fact as it is. Life is not an either/or question, there is nothing to choose. It is all together. By your choice, nothing is changed. By your choice, only you get into a kind of ignorance. That which you choose is part, and that which you are not choosing is also part of reality. The unchosen part of reality will remain hanging around you, waiting to be accepted. It cannot disappear, there is no way for it to disappear. If you love life too much and you don’t want to see the fact of death . . . death is there hanging around like a shadow.
Zen says: See both – they are one piece, they are together. Seeing them together, without any choice, without any prejudice, you transcend them. Seeing them together, you are no more identified with life and no more identified with death. When you are not identified, you are free, you are liberated.
Identification is what imprisonment is. Let this be understood perfectly, because that is the root cause of all our misery, slavery.
Identification – this word is very significant. It means you get identified with a part. You become one with one part of life, that part you start thinking of as if it is the whole. Nothing is wrong with the part as such, but the part is the part; it is not the whole. When you start thinking of the part as the whole, partiality arises. When you start claiming for the part as if it is the whole, you are becoming blind to the whole. Now you will be in conflict with reality.
And you cannot win against reality, remember it. You cannot win against reality. It is impossible. It does not happen, it cannot happen. You can win only with reality, never against reality. Victory is with reality. That’s why all the great masters have put so much emphasis on surrender. Surrender means to be with reality. Then victory is certain – because reality IS going to win. It is always the reality that wins. If you are with it, you will be a winner; if you are against it, you are going to be a loser. And we are all losers, we have been fighting.
We choose a small part and claim that this is the whole. We choose life, we take life out of its basic context – death – and we say, “This is me. I am life.” Now you are getting into trouble. You will be encaged in this identification. How will you manage death then? – and it is there, and it is happening every moment, and it is going to take you unawares one day.
You get identified with the body, “I am the body,” then there is trouble. You get identified with the mind, “I am the mind,” then there is trouble. Getting identified is getting into trouble. Identification is the very stuff ignorance is made of. Once identification is dropped, once you don’t get identified with anything, you simply remain a witness – not saying, “This I am” or “That I am.” You simply remain a witness. You see life as passing, you see death as passing, you see sex as passing, you see frustration, joy, success, failure. You go on seeing; you remain a pure seer. You don’t get hooked with anything; you don’t claim “I am this.” Without claiming, who are you? Without confining and defining yourself, without giving a limitation to yourself, if you can remain flowing, just seeing, there is liberation. There is great liberation.
Unidentified one is free. Identified, one is encaged.
Zen says: Don’t be identified with anything whatsoever. And then, naturally, transcendence happens. You see misery coming and you remain a watcher. You see misery arising, engulfing you, surrounding you like great dark smoke, but you remain a watcher. You see it, you don’t judge. You don’t say, “This is me,” or “This is not me.” You don’t say anything at all, you remain nonjudgemental. You simply see this is the fact, that there is misery.
Then as it had come one day, one day it starts disappearing. Clouds had gathered and now they are disappearing, and there is great sunshine and happiness. You don’t get identified with that either. You just see that sunshine has come back, clouds have disappeared. You don’t say, “This is me,” you don’t say, “This is not me.” You don’t make any statement at all about yourself. You simply go on watching.
Many times it will happen – misery will come, happiness will come – many times you will succeed, many times you will fail. Many times you will be depressed, and many times you will feel very high. Watching all this duality, by and by you will see that you are beyond all these dual pairs of things.
And so is a pair – life and death. And so is a pair – mind and body. And so is a pair – the world and nirvana. All are dual pairs. When you can see thoroughly, when you can see transparently, and you don’t choose, you are something transcendental – the witness. That witness is never born and never dies.
This is the very essential core of all religions. It is not a question of practice, it is not a question of learning concepts, dogmas. It is not a question of reciting sutras. It is a question of insight! And this insight is available to you. There is no need to go to anybody for this insight. You have been carrying it all along. From the very beginning it has been so.
Try sometimes and you will be surprised! The same thing that has been disturbing you in the past no more disturbs. Somebody insults you – you simply watch, you don’t get identified with it. You don’t say, “He has insulted me.” How can he insult you? You don’t know yourself who you are, how can he know who you are? He cannot insult you. He may have been insulting some image that he carries of you, but that is not you. He may be having some idea about you, and that idea he is insulting. How can he insult you? He cannot see you at all.
If you remain alert and watchful, you will be surprised – the insult came and went and nothing happened inside you, nothing was stirred, The calmness was radiant. No vibration, no wave, not even a ripple arose in you. And you will be tremendously blissful knowing this mirrorlike quality. Then you are becoming integrated.
Then somebody comes and praises you. Try it again. Be watchful. Don’t think he is praising you. He may be praising somebody he thinks you are. He may be praising you for some ulterior motives of his own. That is none of your business. You simply see the fact that “this man is praising me.” But remain a mirror. Don’t swallow it! Don’t cling to it! If you swallow it you will be in difficulty. Then ego arises – with identification, ego.
And then you start expecting that everybody should praise you like this man. Nobody’s going to praise you like that. Then there is hurt and misery. And tomorrow this man may not praise you again. His motive may have been fulfilled. Or tomorrow he may start thinking that he was wrong, or tomorrow he may take revenge. Whenever somebody praises you, some day he is going to insult you too – because he has to take revenge, he has to put things right.
An imbalance arises. When somebody is praising you, he is not feeling really very good; it hurts him to praise you. He has to show you that you are higher than him – that hurts. He may not show it right now, but he will keep the hurt, the wound, inside. And some day if the opportunity arises he will show you who you are; he will put you in your right place. And then you will be very much hurt. This man has been praising you so much, and now he hurts you. But he has not done anything. It is you – you started clinging to the idea that he had put in your mind.
And death brings a great lesson, far greater than life. And death brings a very intense possibility to understand, because life is spread long range – death comes in a very very potential way in a very short time. In a single moment it shakes you. If you are not alert you will miss that moment, the moment is very tiny. If you are alert, then that very moment becomes a door into the divine.
Death, too, is then a game, something to be played with. Then you are not afraid. There is nothing to be afraid of. Then you are not even serious. Look at the non-seriousness of the whole thing.
In you there are two worlds: the world of birth and death, and the world that is transcendental. Yes, the body can be very ill, and yet there may be no illness in you – if you don’t get attached to illness, if you don’t get identified with illness, if you don’t start thinking “I am ill.” It is only a kind of hypnosis. It has to be learned through many, many doors.
When you feel hungry, what do you say? You say, “I am hungry.” You are not – the body is hungry, the organism is hungry. You are just a watcher, you are just seeing that the body is hungry. Then you eat and you feel satisfied, and you say, “Now I am satisfied, fully satisfied.” You are not satisfied, because you were not hungry in the first place! First you had seen hunger in the body, now you feel satisfaction in the body – but you are just a witness. First your mirror was reflecting the hungry man standing in front of you, and now your mirror reflects the satisfied man standing before you – but the mirror was never hungry and the mirror is not satisfied either.
One day you are healthy, another day you are ill – the mirror reflects! One day you are young, another day you are old. One day you are loved, another day you are hated. One day appreciated, another day condemned. The mirror goes on reflecting. The function of the mirror is just to reflect whatsoever is the case. But each time you get identified.
Stop this identifying yourself with things that are standing in front of you, and suddenly you will see you have never been ill and never been hungry and never been born, and never are you going to die. You are the very source of eternity. You are eternal.“
Ordinarily when you write to somebody who is about to die, you write some consolatory things – you think he will need consolation. And all your consolations are false; all your consolations are lies.
But when a Zen master writes a letter to somebody who is dying and who has been a disciple to him, he simply states the truth. In fact, when somebody is dying it is time to state the truth, because there may be no more time. At least let him hear the truth before he leaves the world, let him be made alert to what the true fact is. No need to console, because consolations don’t help.
Consolations are like lullabies. Yes, good, they make people feel comfortable. They are like tranquillizers. They don’t transform you, they only lull you, they only make you dull. They really make you confused, and the reality remains as it is. Your consolations don’t change it, they cannot change it. Consolations are toys given to children.
The Zen master Bassui writes to one of his disciples who is about to die: now this is a great moment. Death is a great moment. It should be used to its total capacity. Death is such a great opportunity, such a creative possibility, that one can be enlightened through it. If you have missed life, okay, but don’t miss death. Use the door to look into the divine.
That’s why children are so thrilled by small things – because every small thing is almost psychedelic to them. They have no barriers, their eyes are clean, the mirror is clear. It reflects the reality as it is.
This mirrorlike quality has nothing to do with anybody, nobody has given it to you. It is you, your authentic being. This is the real Man of No Title. The mirror is going to learn many things, is going to be conditioned in many ways – all that will be non-essential.
He means it is not an ‘existent’. It has not come into existence, so it cannot go out of it. It is the very existence itself.
You have been here always! and you will be here always. You cannot go anywhere, remember it. So don’t be afraid of going anywhere. There is no way to go and there is nowhere to go and there is nobody to go! Everything simply is. All has been here forever and will be forever. This now contains the whole eternity – the whole past and the whole future. The whole existence converges on this moment, herenow. In the cry of this cuckoo are all the cries of all the cuckoos – past and future. In the listening of you is all the listening of all the people – past and future. In the saying is all the saying of all those who had anything to say in the past and those who will ever have any-thing to say in the future. All is . . . Nothing goes out of existence. Forms change, certainly; clothes change, certainly; names change, certainly. But this is not your essential being. You go on changing your houses, you go on changing your bodies, you go on changing your minds – but the essential, the mirrorlike quality, the real Man of No Title remains the same. It cannot change. It has no parts that can be changed, it is imperishable.“
So the master says, “Don’t think that I am saying this essential you is just an empty void, no.” First it is full of the furniture – the thoughts, the memories, the desires, identifications: I am the body, I am the mind, I am Hindu, I am Christian, this and that. It is full of the furniture, garbage. Then one day when you throw this garbage away and you simply remain a choiceless awareness, you can start thinking, or at least misunderstanding, that now it is just a void, there is nothing. In fact, for the first time the mind has full freedom to be itself – it will bloom. This consciousness will bloom into a lotus.
This is freedom, this is liberation. Liberated of all junk, liberated of all that is alien, liberated of all that is foreign – the guests have gone, the host is free. When the guests are there the host is not so free. You know it. When guests come you are not so free. The host becomes imprisoned in his own household. He does not have such free movement as he used to. He has to take care of the guests. They may be sleeping; you cannot play your loudspeaker, your radio, your TV, very loudly; you cannot play the music the way you like; you have to keep your children quiet – the guest is there. You have to adjust to the guest.
When a guest is there, the host becomes secondary and the guest becomes primary. That’s what has happened. Too much full of thoughts and desires, the guests have become very important and the host has become almost secondary, or forgotten – even forgotten. And the guests have stayed too long. They don’t go. They have become permanent members, and host is almost thrown out of his own house.
So when suddenly guests go, you may feel it is just an empty void. It is not. Buddhism, Zen, both have been very much misunderstood because they talk of shunyata – emptiness. Shunyata, emptiness, is God for Buddha. But the word creates trouble. People think “Emptiness? Looks very negative.” It is not, it is simply an indication that now you are just yourself, empty of all else, empty of the other. Now you are just in tune with your being, just yourself, just your essential Buddhahood is left. It is not empty, it is full. It is perfect – because it is the source of all.
“It is not an emptiness, which is a mere void. It has neither colour nor form. It enjoys no pleasures and suffers no pains.
You think you suffer! You have never suffered! You think you enjoy, you have never enjoyed. You have always been just a witness. Suffering has happened, but you have never suffered. Joy has come, but you have never enjoyed. They have been passing phases, climates that come and go, clouds that surround the moon and disappear. But you! – you remain in yourself, undisturbed, undistracted.
There is a Zen saying:
I am moving all day and not moving at all. I am like the moon underneath the waves that ever go rolling.
The waves go on rolling. I am moving all day and not moving at all.” Yes, great movement is happening all around, but at your very center – the center of the cyclone – nothing ever moves. No pain, no pleasure, no happiness, no unhappiness, no heaven, no hell – you neither gain anything nor do you lose anything. It is always the same! It is absolutely the same. The taste there remains the same. It is eternal.
So when you see yourself affected by things happening around you, it is only the reflection of you in the things that seems affected. You, the real moon in the sky, remain the same. But you have forgotten completely who you are. You have completely forgotten that you are beyond all the things that happen. That nothing happens in your innermost core, that it is always the same.
„I know you are very ill,” writes the master. “Like a good zen student, you are facing that sickness squarely.”
To face sickness squarely means to go on seeing that you are not it – that’s what it means, to face it squarely, to go on seeing that “I am not it.”
“You may not know exactly who is suffering, but question yourself . . .”
Question yourself: Who is suffering? Who is dying? Who has become old? Question, go on questioning, and by and by you will see, “The one who is suffering is not me, the one who has become old is not me, the one who is going to die is not me.” And remember, this has not to be supplied; this answer has not to be supplied by your memory – because you know it, you have heard it, you have read in the Upanishads, you have heard great masters talking about it. You are not to supply it through the memory, you have just to question. Go on hammering the question inside, “Who is suffering?” Next time you have a headache, ask “Who is suffering?” Next time your legs are getting numb, inquire “Who is getting numb?”
And don’t be in a hurry to answer it, because that answer will be false. You can be very wise, you can say, “Yes, I am the soul and this is the body. “But this will be bogus.” Let the answer come of its own accord. It should not come from the memory, it should come from your being. It should come as an insight; it should not be verbal. It should come as a realization, as a satori, as a glimpse.
Can you feel the difference? When something comes as a memory, you are repeating like a parrot. I have been telling you that you are not your headache. Tomorrow you can try it – and you sit silently and you question, “Who is suffering?” And from the memory comes the answer: “You are not suffering, you are the transcendental soul, you are the witness.” Watch it, this is all from the memory. It is of no value at all. Throw it away!
Let there come an insight, a realization, a sudden clarity, a transparency – that you see it: “I am not suffering.” Remember it: seeing is the thing. It is not an answer to be fetched from the memory. It is an insight to be fetched from your deepest core of being. You have to throw the net of questioning. And if you go on throwing the net, and if you are not satisfied by your bogus memory, sooner or later you will catch the fish and that fish makes you free. It liberates. Truth liberates.
“. . . Question yourself: what is the essence of this mind?”
First question: Who is suffering? so that you can see that the suffering is happening around you but not in you. It is closely, very closely happening, but still not at the center. It is happening on the periphery, not at the center. The center is unaffected.
So the first thing is: see where suffering is. Get disidentified from suffering. This question will help you, like a sword, to cut the identification.
Then the next question to ask is: What is the essence of this mind? Who is this who is not suffering?
First inquire: Who is suffering? so the old identity with the body and the illness and the mind is broken, and then you have come to have a look at your innermost core. Now ask: What is this essential mind?
“Think only of this.”
And this message is to a dying man, remember. The master is saying, “While you are dying, think only of this. Before death, solve one thing: that you are not suffering. And then when you are entering into death, go on questioning, ‘Who is this who is not suffering?”’ “Who am I?” as Raman Maharshi used to say: “Who am I?”
Think only of this while death happens, because death will take everything away. If only this question can be carried into death, if this inquiry can be carried while you are dying, you can attain to samadhi, you can attain to the great fruit of enlightenment.
“Think only of this. You will need no more.”
The master is right, exactly so it is. You will not need anything more if you can do only two things: disidentification from life and all that life has accumulated around you; and the second, the inquiry – “Who am I?”
“You will need no more. Covet nothing.”
Don’t even think of enlightenment. Don’t even desire Buddhahood. Don’t even think of nirvana. Covet nothing! because once you start coveting, you lose your essential mind, you lose your contact with the cosmic mind. Desire . . . and you have fallen. It is through desire that the original fall happens. So don’t desire anything.
He knows his disciple perfectly well. He will not desire money, he will not desire prestige and power, he will not desire another birth, he will not desire another life – that is not the point at all. That is finished with the first question: Get disidentified.
But there is a possibility he may desire Buddhahood. He may start thinking of being born into the highest plane of existence as a Buddha, as an enlightened soul. But then the desire has happened, the desire has entered. Again he has fallen from the original mind. The original mind is intact only when you are not desiring. The moment you desire, you have moved away. You are no more in it, you are again trapped into new journeys, you have gone astray.
“Think only of this: what is the essence of this mind? You will need no more. Covet nothing. Your end which is endless is as a snowflake dissolving in the pure air.”
There is nothing to be worried about. You will disappear like a snowflake in pure air. You are not going to die, you are only going to disappear. Yes, you will not be found in the individual form. The form will disappear into the formless – the snowflake into the pure air. But you will be there and more so. When the river disappears into the ocean, it is not dying – it is becoming the ocean, it is spreading, it is becoming bigger, huge, enormous, infinite.
Death, if you cling to life, will look like death. If you don’t cling to life, death will look like a transformation, a freedom. You are freed from the imprisonment of form, you become formless. Then there is great joy. A man who can die like a snowflake disappearing in the pure air is blessed. There is great ecstasy, great silence and peace, utter joy. There is celebration in the very heart of your being.
Life has to be used, death has to be used. Everything has to be used to come to this essential mind, because this essential mind is satchidananda – it is truth, it is consciousness, it is bliss.
Life is a paradox. Anything that is true to life is going to be a great paradox. Yes, life has to be lived, and death to be died.
Living, penetrate into the deepest core of life. Dying, penetrate again to the deepest core of death. And the deepest core is the same – it is the essential mind.
‘Life’ is not a noun, remember; neither is ‘death’ a noun. ‘Life’ and ‘death’ are both verbs. ‘Existence’ is a verb, it is not a noun. Life is a process, death is a process. And who is being processed? Who is moving in this cart of two wheels? Who is the pilgrim? Who is this that goes on traveling through many forms? That essential mind, that no-mind, that mirrorlike quality, that witnessing has to be found in all the ways and through all the possibilities. Every move in life has to be devoted to that inquiry, to that search, only then does one come home. And without coming home you will remain discontented. You can have much money, you can have much power, but you will remain powerless, and you will remain a beggar.
The day you come to this originality of your being, to this Man of no Title, this ancientmost, the Eternal One, that day you become an emperor. That day all is benediction. That day nothing is missing. And that day you will have a good laugh too, because you will see that day that nothing was ever missing – just you got entangled into reflections. You got entangled with guests and you lost track of the host. Be the host!