Chapter 9: Dead with dignity



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LIFE is an opportunity. You can use it, you can misuse it, or you can simply waste it. It depends on you. Except you, nobody is going to be responsible. Responsibility is of the individual.

Once you realize this then you start becoming alert, aware. Then you start living in a totally different way. Then, in fact, for the first time you become alive.

Otherwise, people live in a sort of dream -- half-asleep, half-awake... just somewhere in between consciousness and unconsciousness. That life is not really a life. You exist -- but you don't live.

Existence is given to you. Existence is a gift. Life has to be earned. When existence turns upon itself, it becomes life. Existence has been given by the whole; you have not done anything for it. It is simply there, a given fact. When existence becomes life... the moment you start existing in a conscious way, immediately existence becomes life.

Existence lived consciously is life.

Life is a great challenge, an adventure into the unknown, an adventure into oneself, and adventure into that which is. If you live an unconscious life, if you simply exist, you will always remain afraid of death. Death will always be just somewhere near the comer, hanging around you. Only life goes beyond death.

Existence comes, disappears. It is given to you, taken away. It is a wave in the ocean... arises, falls back, disappears.

But life is eternal. Once you have it, you have it forever. Life knows no death. Life is not afraid of death. Once you know what life is, death disappears.

If you are still afraid of death, know well -- you have not known life yet.

Death exists only in the ignorance -- in the ignorance of what life is. One goes on living. One goes on moving from one moment to another, from one action to another, completely unaware what one is doing, why one is doing, why one is drifting from this point to that point.

If you become a little meditative, many times in a day you will catch hold of yourself completely drifting unconscious.

The whole effort of religion is to make you aware of your existence.

Existence plus awareness is life eternal -- what Jesus calls life in abundance, what Jesus calls the kingdom of god.

That kingdom of god is within you. You have already the seed within you. You just have to allow it to sprout. You have to allow it to come in the sunlit world of the sky, to become free, to move in freedom, to move higher and higher, to touch the very infinity. It is possible to soar high -- but the basic thing is awareness.

Shortly before Carl Jung died, he said in an interview, 'We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger and we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man.'

One fallacy continues and that fallacy is that because you are, you think you know who you are. You feel that you are, but you don't know who you are. Just a confused feeling, a mixed feeling, a shadowy feeling that you are, is not enough. It should become crystal-clear. It should become an unwavering light within you. Only then one knows what man is.

In sanskrit, for 'man' we have the word 'purusha'. That word is tremendously beautiful. It is difficult to translate it because it has three meanings. It can be pronounced with three different emphases. The word is purusha. It can be pronounced as pur u sha. Then it means 'the dawn in the city... he who is filled with light'.

It can be pronounced as puru sha. Then it means 'filled with wisdom and eternal happiness... a citizen of heaven'.

It can be pronounced as pu rusha. Then it means 'whose passions are purified and who has become deathless'.

There are many possibilities within you, layer upon layer. The first layer is of the body. If you get identified with the body, you are getting identified with the temporal, the momentary. Then there is bound to be fear of death.

The body is a flux, like a river -- continuously changing, 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. It disintegrates.

If you are identified with the body, of course the fear will be constantly there that death is approaching. You can live, but you can live only in fear. And what type of life is possible when one's foundations are constantly shaking? and one is sitting on a volcano and death is possible any moment? And only one thing is certain -- that death is coming -- and everything else is uncertain.

How can one live? How can one celebrate? How can one dance and sing and be? Impossible. The death won't allow it. The death is too much and too close.

Then there is a second layer within you: that of the mind -- which is even more temporal and more fleeting than the body. Mind is also continuously disintegrating.

Mind is the inner part of the body and the body is the outer part of the mind. These are not two things. Mind and body is not a right expression. The right expression is mind-body. You are psychosomatic. Not that the body exists and the mind exists. The body is the gross mind, and the mind is the subtle body... aspects of the same coin -- one outer, the second inner.

So there are people who are identified with the body. These are the materialists. They cannot live. Desperately they try, of course, but they cannot live. A materialist only pretends that he is living; he cannot live. His life cannot be very deep; it can only be superficial, shallow -- because he is trying to live through the body which is continuously dying.

He is living in a house which is on fire. He is trying to rest in a house which is on fire. How can you rest? How can you love?

The materialist can have only sex, cannot love. Because sex is temporal; love is something of the eternal. He can make hit-and-run contacts with people but he cannot relate. He is constantly running, because he is identified with the body. The body is never at rest; it is a continuous movement.

At the most he can have sex -- a temporal, a momentary thing; nothing deeper, nothing of the soul, nothing of the innermost core. Beings remain far away; bodies meet and mingle and separate again.

The materialist is the most idiotic person, because he is trying to live through death. That is the stupidity.

Then another type of person is the idealist -- one who is identified with the mind, with ideas, ideologies, ideals. He lives in a very ephemeral world -- not in any way better than the materialist. Of course, more ego-fulfilling, because he can condemn the materialist.

He talks about god, 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, brooding, playing with ideas and words. He creates utopias of the mind, great 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, 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. The politicians, the revolutionaries, the so-called theologians, the priests, they all live a life identified with the mind.

And real life is beyond both body and mind. You are in the body, you are in the mind, but you are neither. The body is your outer shell, the mind is your inner shell, but you are beyond both.

This insight is the beginning of real life. How to start this insight? That's what meditation is all about. Start witnessing. Walking on the street, become a witness. Watch the body walking... and you, from the innermost core, are just watching, witnessing, observing.

Suddenly you will have a sense of freedom. Suddenly you will see that the body is walking, you are not walking.

Sometimes the body is healthy, sometimes the body is ill. Watch, just watch, and suddenly you will have a sense of a totally different quality of being. You are not the body. The body is ill, of course, but you are not ill. The body is healthy, but it has nothing to do with you.

You are a witness, a watcher on the hills... far beyond. Of course, tethered to the body, but not identified with the body; rooted in the body, but always beyond and transcending.

The first meditation is to separate yourself from the body. And by and by, when you become more acute in your observation of the body, start observing the thoughts that continuously go on within your mind. But first watch the body, because it is gross, can be observed more easily, will not need much awareness. Once you become attuned, then start watching the mind.

Whatsoever can be watched becomes separate from you. Whatsoever you can witness, you are not it. You are the witnessing consciousness. The witnessed is the object; you are the subjectivity.

The body, and the mind also, remain far away when you become a witness. Suddenly you are there -- with no body and no mind... a pure consciousness, just simple sheer purity, an innocence, a mirror.

In this innocence, for the first time you know who you are. In this purity, for the first time existence becomes life. For the first time you are. Before it, you were simply asleep, dreaming; now you are.

And when you are, then there is no death. Then you know that you will be witnessing your death also. One who has become capable of witnessing life has become capable of witnessing death. Because death is not the end of life; it is the very culmination of it. It is the very pinnacle of it. Life comes to its peak in death. Because you are afraid, you miss. Otherwise death is the greatest orgasm there is.

You have known the small orgasm of sex. In sex also, a small, a little death happens. Some life-energy is released from your body -- you feel orgasmic, unburdened, relaxed, Just think of death. The whole energy that you have is released. Death is the greatest orgasm.

In sexual orgasm just a small, minute part of your energy is relaxed. Then too you feel so beautiful. Then too you feel so relaxed and you fall in deep sleep, all tensions dissolved. You become a harmony. Think of death as the whole life released. From every pore of your body, the whole life released back to the whole. It is the greatest orgasm there is. 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.

You can watch this happening in this country. This country has remained afraid of sex, and this country is very much afraid of death also. You cannot find more cowards anywhere. You cannot find more cowardly people anywhere. What has happened? Those people who are afraid of death will become afraid of sex also, because a small death happens in sex. Those people who become afraid of sex, cling too much to life. They become miserly. Misers miss sexual orgasms and then they miss the great orgasm, the fulfillment of the whole life.

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.

But in death you don't die. Just the energy that was given to you through the body and through the mind is released, goes back to the world. You return back home.

If you don't die rightly, you will be born again. Now let me explain it to you. If you don't die rightly, if you don't achieve the total orgasm that death is, you will be born again, because you missed and you have to be given another opportunity.

God is very patient with you. He goes on giving you more opportunities. He has compassion. If you have missed this life, he will give you another. If you have failed this time, for another session you will be sent back to the world. Unless you fulfill the goal, you will be sent back again and again. That is the meaning of the theory of rebirth.

The christian god is a little miserly. He gives only one life. That creates much tension. Just one life? No time even to err, no time to go astray. That creates very deep inner tension. In the East we have created the concept of a more compassionate god who goes on giving. You have missed this one? Take another.

And in a way it is very sensible. There is no god personified as such who gives life to you. It is in fact you. Have you watched sometimes? In the night you go to sleep. Just watch. When you fall asleep, when you are falling asleep, just watch the last thought, the last desire, the last fragment in your mind. And then when in the morning you feel awake, don't open the eyes; just again watch. The last fragment will be the first fragment again.

If you were thinking of money when you were falling asleep, exactly the same thought will be the first thought in the morning. You will be thinking of money again -- because that thought remained in your mind, waited for you to come back to it. If you were thinking of sex, in the morning you will be thinking of sex. Whatsoever.... If you were thinking of god and you prayed and that was your last thing in the night, first thing in the morning you will find a prayer arising in you.

The last thought in the night is the first thought in the morning. The last thought of this life will be the first thought of another life. The last thought when you are dying this time will become the first seed of your next life.

But when a buddha dies, a man who has attained, he simply dies with no thought. He enjoys the orgasm. It is so fulfilling, it is so totally fulfilling that there is no need to come back. He disappears into the cosmos. There is no need to be embodied again.

In the East we have been watching the death experience of people. How you die reflects your whole life, how you lived. If I can see just your death, I can write your whole biography -- because in that one moment your whole life becomes condensed. In that one moment, like a lightning, you show everything.

A miserly person will die with clenched fists -- still holding and clinging, still trying not to die, still trying not to relax. A loving person will die with open fists -- sharing... even sharing his death as he shared his life. You can see everything written on the face -- whether this man has lived his life fully alert, aware. If he has, then on his face there will be a light shining; around his body there will be an aura. You come close to him and you will feel silent -- not sad, but silent. It even happens that if a person has died blissfully in a total orgasm you will feel suddenly happy near him.

It happened in my childhood. A very saintly person in my village died. I had a certain attachment towards him. He was a priest in a small temple, a very poor man, and whenever I would pass -- and I used to pass at least twice a day; when going to the school near the temple, I would pass -- he would call me and he would always give me some fruit, some sweet.

When he died, I was the only child who went to see him. The whole town gathered. Suddenly I could not believe what happened -- I started laughing. My father was there; he tried to stop me because he felt embarrassed. A death is not a time to laugh. He tried to shut me up. He told me again and again, 'You keep quiet!'

But I have never felt that urge again. Since then I have never felt it; never before had I ever felt it -- to laugh so loudly, as if something beautiful has happened.

And I could not hold myself. I laughed loudly, everybody was angry, I was sent back, and my father told me, 'Never again are you to be allowed in any serious situation! Because of you, even I was feeling very embarrassed. Why were you laughing? What was happening there? What is there in death to laugh about? Everybody was crying and weeping and you were laughing.'

And I told him, 'Something happened. That old man released something and it was tremendously beautiful. He died an orgasmic death.' Not exactly these words, but I told him that I felt he was very happy dying, very blissful dying, and I wanted to participate in his laughter. He was laughing, his energy was laughing.

I was thought mad. How can a man die laughing? Since then I have been watching many deaths, but I have not seen that type of death again.

When you die, you release your energy and with that energy your whole life's experience. Whatsoever you have been -- sad, happy, loving, angry, passionate, compassionate -- whatsoever you have been, that energy carries the vibrations of your whole life. Whenever a saint is dying, just being near him is a great gift; just to be showered with his energy is a great inspiration. You will be put in a totally different dimension. You will be drugged by his energy, you will feel drunk.

Death can be a total fulfillment, but that is possible only if life has been lived.

"An absent-minded scientist suddenly decided one day that he was being neglectful of his family, so that evening he went home, kissed his wife and children, shaved, showered and changed before dinner and exerted himself to tell several amusing stories during the meal.

When it was over, he whistled as he cleared the table and insisted on washing and drying all the dishes by himself. When he had tidied everything up, he went into the living room to find his wife in tears.

'Everything has gone wrong today,' she sobbed.'The hoover broke down, Georgie threw a baseball through our bedroom window, Polly fell down and tore her best dress, and now you come home so drunk you don't know what you are doing."'

Nobody knows what he is doing. No intoxicant is needed. You are simply absent-minded. You are simply unconscious -- as if you go on creating your own unconsciousness within yourself. As if you continuously create some alcoholic beverage in your blood, in your bloodstream. You go on creating some drugs within you. And it is exactly so.

Unless you try hard to become aware, to clench yourself away from the drunkenness that you find yourself in, you will not be able to see what is exactly happening.

Ordinarily, whatsoever you do, you do like an automaton. You drive a car; no need to be aware of it. You simply drive the car like a mechanism. You have learned the trick. You go on singing or smoking and talking and thinking a thousand and one thoughts and the body goes on driving the car.

You eat: you eat like an automaton. You walk: you walk like an automaton. The body has learned the trick; it goes on performing. Your attention is not needed.

Your attention is needed only when there is some accident. If something goes wrong, then your attention is needed. Otherwise you can go on playing with your thoughts and you can go on moving anywhere you like. You need not be there in your action; to be present is not needed.

For example, if some new sound starts in the engine, then suddenly you become aware. Otherwise, if the car goes on humming as usual, you go on driving. You go on typing if everything is going okay. The mind is almost like a computer: once trained, fed rightly, informed, it goes on functioning on its own.

The more efficient you become in your life, the more unconscious you become.

Children are more conscious. They have to be, because they don't know anything. Remember when for the first time you started writing? Then each word was so slow, and you had to write it with such attention. Look at a small child writing. His whole body is engaged, his whole mind is engaged. He becomes just his eyes. And it may be nothing; he may be writing just a small word.

A few children write me letters. They write 'love', but I know how much effort they must have put in it. They must have thought and brooded, and they are writing just a small letter -- love. Of course, I u v -- but they have put their whole attention in it. It carries much more meaning than when you write 'love', because you simply write as a habit. You may not even be aware of what you are writing.

I know one man who is a very cultured man, very mannerly. I was sitting in his room once when he became angry, and he became so angry with his servant that he said, 'Go to hell, please!'

Then I asked him, 'What do you mean by "please"?'

He said, 'Just old habit.'

You may be writing 'love'; that may be just old habit You may not be at all aware of what you are saying. Do you exactly mean it? Because to utter the word 'love' is to utter something sacred, something tremendously significant. But the way you write it or you use it... mm?

I know people who say, 'I love my car. I love my house.' Or, 'I love icecream.' Now, those people are profaning a sacred word. When they say to a woman, 'I love you,' it doesn't mean much. They say the same thing to icecream. It has nothing of their heart, their awareness, their being in it.

A child is more aware. Watch a child -- full of energy, fresh, aware, open, alert. But we teach him something else. The society does not want awareness. Awareness is dangerous for this so-called society, because the society is ill and this society has investments in unconsciousness.

If people are aware, then what will happen to the industry which goes on producing cigarettes? What-will happen to the industry which goes on producing alcohol? What will happen to the industry which goes on exploiting people's sexuality and their sexual desire? What will happen to the politicians? What will happen to the priests? They all exist because you are unconscious. They all can exploit you because you are unconscious.

If a society becomes more alert, that society will live a rebellion; it will live in revolution. Not that it will make a revolution, because the whole thing of making a revolution is nonsense. Revolution is not a thing that you can do and be finished with. Revolution is a way of life; it is a process. You cannot do it and be finished with it. You live so awarely that you live in rebellion.

Awareness is not good for this society. This society exists on unawareness.

I have heard a story:

A small germ-cell, a germ-cell of cancer, met another germ-cell of cancer in the bloodstream of a body where both were swimming. The first one asked the other, 'You don't look good. Are you ill or something?'

He said, 'It seems I have caught penicillin."'

You never catch penicillin. You catch 'flu, you catch other diseases. But think of the germ-cells -- they catch penicillin.

This society is ill. Awareness will kill it. This society cannot exist with many people alert and aware. They will be dangerous to it. Immediately it catches hold of children and closes their minds, makes them unaware, drugs them -- and that drugging this society calls schooling, education.

Go to a small school for small children, a kindergarten school. Watch through the window. Children are very alive. From their consciousness nothing is excluded; everything is included. A bird starts singing; of course, they look out of the window. The teacher becomes angry. He says 'Be attentive! Pay attention to me!'

Now, how is a child supposed to pay attention? What will he do? He pretends. He looks at the teacher, strains his head, strains his eyes, pretends that he is paying attention. And the teacher is happy. His ego feels enhanced. All the children are paying attention to him. From everywhere all eyes are looking at him. Small children are being corrupted because of this man's ego.

Again and again their focus will become wider. Again and again the bird will call, a dog will bark, somebody will talk on the street, a car will pass. A thousand and one things are happening, the world is vast, and a child is alive. But the teacher wants him to be attentive.

The teacher is happy when all the children are paying attention to him. He may be talking simply nonsense. He may be teaching history -- which is simply stupidity, better to be dropped forever. What is the need of knowing that some time a madman like Alexander existed? or Adolf Hitler? Better to forget. Nightmares. But pay attention to these nightmares.

I was reading one story:

"Jones stopped his large and expensive car on the country road and gazed about in confusion. He noticed a young farmhand leaning on a fence nearby and called out, 'Hey, you! How far to New York?'

The farmhand thought about it and said, 'Don't know.'

'Well then, what is the best way to get there?'

Again the farmhand thought and said, 'Don't know.' Well look, where is the nearest gas-station where I can pick up a map?'

The farmhand thought a little longer, but said again, 'Don't know.'

The man in the car said with contempt, 'You don't know much, do you?'

The farmhand said, 'I'm not lost."'

The children are not lost, and we go on teaching them. And all our teaching is going to become a barrier to life, because life needs a wide mind, open from all sides. And teaching asks for a narrow mind -- concentration, attention, not awareness.

Awareness is a mind flowing in all directions simultaneously. You listen to me. You listen to this truck passing by in the street also. You listen to the birds. Nothing is excluded and nothing is a distraction. All things exist together. I go on speaking; the birds are not disturbed. The birds go on singing; why should I be disturbed?

And if you can listen, just aware, they both become part of one harmony.

But the whole of teaching depends on concentration. Concentration means poisoning the child. Concentration means narrowing his being. Just a small slit will be open and everything else will be closed. Just a small hole, which you call concentration, will be open, and this vast sky will be closed... all doors and windows closed. Just sit near the keyhole and go on looking through the keyhole -- that's what concentration is.

But the teacher feels beautiful, the teacher feels wonderful. All are looking at him, everybody is paying attention to him. All the children pretend -- because how to pay attention to something which is not naturally attractive?

When a dog barks outside, the dog doesn't say, 'Pay attention to me.' It simply barks and the child wants to go and see what is happening. It is more attractive than the teacher. When a bird starts singing, its single note repeating, it is more attractive than the teacher. It doesn't say, it doesn't advertise, it doesn't force anybody. You are free to pay attention or not to pay. But the child wants to pay. Life is tremendously beautiful... and this teacher is standing there.

And by and by the teacher will force the child, because we are playing such ugly games. We are playing such ugly games, we will use all coercion. Just think. A small child is sitting for six hours; forced to sit on a bench, a hard bench, not allowed to fidget. Ask the psychologists what they say. They say a child who fidgets more is more intelligent. And a child who sits there as if dumb, deaf, is almost stupid.

Energy fidgets, energy is alive. A really alive child cannot sit silently for long. He is alive; he is not dead. He would like to jump and run and do millions of things. He is overflowing. And we force him to sit.

What happens? He is almost paralysed by the time he comes out of the university. For twenty years continuously forced to concentrate.... And to that concentration the whole society gives so much significance. Then there are examinations. If he fails, he is condemned. If he succeeds, he is appreciated. Now we are playing the ego game. We are teaching him how to be egoistic. We are teaching him an ugly competition -- to be inimical with everybody else. And we are teaching him that the only value in this society is to be more efficient, not to be aware.

Now comes the point to be understood. If you want to be more efficient, less awareness is good, because a mechanism is more efficient than a man. A mechanism simply repeats. It never errs, it never goes wrong. So the mind should become Like a machine: you push the button and here comes the answer. You just push the button and here flows efficiency.

The whole effort of the society is to reduce you to efficient mechanisms. And vast amounts of money are wasted in order to cripple you, to destroy you, to paralyse you. Then suddenly one day you find you are missing everything. You haven't tasted life yet.

You have lived and yet you cannot say that you have lived. You have loved and yet you cannot say that love has happened to you. You have been alive and yet you cannot say what the taste of being alive is, what the fragrance of being alive is.

Whatsoever has been called education up to now, is the greatest calamity that has happened to humanity. And the day this whole structure of education is dropped and a totally new education, based not on efficiency.... Because what does it matter if people are a little less efficient? What does it matter, if they are more alive and a little less efficient? It doesn't matter at all.

Once we base education on awareness then people may not be so efficient in killing, in war; may not be so efficient as clerks, may not be so efficient as government officers -- but it is good. Because if people are inefficient in killing, perfectly good! -- less people will be killed. If the man who dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima was less efficient and had dropped it somewhere in a forest, what would have been wrong? It would have been perfectly good. It would have been fortunate.

If german people were less efficient then Hitler would not have been such a great calamity to mankind. If they had been a little lazy, less disciplined, less skilled, less robot-like, Hitler would have failed. But he had chosen a right country to be born in. These people are always very very clever. They always choose the right countries to be born in. And then he managed to make the whole country a war camp.

Less efficiency is not a problem. More awareness is needed. And when I say less efficient, I don't mean that necessarily it is going to be so. If you try anything... for example, walking. If you walk alert and aware, you will feel that you cannot walk as efficiently as before. If you drive a car with awareness, you will feel that you cannot drive the car as efficiently as before. But this will be just in the beginning. After a few days you will see -- efficiency is coming back, and not at the cost of awareness. When efficiency comes with awareness, it is perfectly good, it is to be welcomed. Otherwise you will live a life almost dead.

It happened once: "One man had been seeing a headshrinker for some months because he thought he was a poodle. One day a friend asked him how the treatment was progressing.

'Well,' said the patient, 'I can't say that I am cured yet. But I have made some progress. My psychiatrist has stopped me from chasing cars."'

At the most, if you continue unconscious and robot-like, these type of changes are possible. You will remain a poodle; at the most you may stop chasing cars.

The whole mechanism of the society tries to make you remain as unconscious as ever. The society just becomes worried once your unconsciousness disturbs its working. Then it tries to help you. If you don't chase cars -- because that will create trouble in the traffic -- if you don't chase cars and inside your mind you continue to dream about yourself as a poodle, perfectly okay; the society is not worried.

The society is not worried about you and your mind. The society is worried only if you create some trouble for the society. Otherwise it is perfectly okay, an innocent thing, if you think you are a poodle. It is not a sin -- just don't chase cars. Once you act out your fantasies then it becomes a crime. If you remain in your fantasies and don't act them out it is perfectly okay; the society is not worried.

This is the difference between sin and crime. Sin is if you think yourself a poodle and you are not a poodle. It is a sin -- because you will miss being a man. If you chase cars it becomes a crime, because you create disturbance in the traffic and the policeman becomes disturbed. Now you have to be treated.

People are almost crazy, but the society is not worried about them... unless a crazy person creates some trouble. Between the crazy people who are in the mad-asylums and you, the difference is not of quality; it is only of quantity, degrees. They may be a hundred and one degrees, you may be ninety-nine degrees. You may be this side, they are that side, but the difference is not vast -- just one or two steps and you can become crazy. But the society tolerates you. Your madness is perfectly accepted if it is private. Once you make it public then the disturbance arises.

Unless you become conscious, you remain mad. You may not think you are mad, nobody will be telling you that you are mad, but you remain mad. Only a buddha is not mad. Only enlightened consciousness is not mad. Unless that is attained, everything is being lost -- and the opportunity is disappearing every moment.

People decide many times to change themselves, but that decision is also part of their unconscious state; it doesn't. help much. Hence the importance of a master, the importance of trusting a master. You are fast asleep; you cannot wake yourself. At the most you can dream that you are awake already. You will need to trust an alarm-clock.

But an alarm-clock is an alarm-clock. It may create some situation to disturb your sleep, but you can be very cunning with it. You can think, you can create a dream that you are sitting in a temple and the temple bells are ringing. Now, the alarm-clock is useless; it cannot help.

You need an alive alarm-clock -- that is what a master is -- who you cannot deceive, who will go on shaking you; who will shake you out of your sleep. Your decisions are not of much value because they are your decisions. You cannot rely on them.

"One man was saying to his friend, 'I have made up my mind; it is time I changed. I am never going to look at another woman. Tonight I am going to confess to my wife and ask her forgiveness.'

The friend said, 'I am glad to hear it. It is high time you did.'

That night his wife was most hurt by his confession and demanded to know who it was who had stolen his affections. Was it that blonde in the post-office?'

'I'm sorry,' he replied gallantly, 'I won't say.'

His wife continued, 'I bet it was that model in the next avenue.' He kept his silence. 'I know who it was -- that brunette at the Green Dragon.'

'Sorry, I can't tell you.'

'Alright,' said his wife angrily. 'If you won't tell me who it was I won't forgive you.'

The following day, going to work, he saw his friend. 'Well,' said the friend expectantly, 'Did she forgive you?'

'No,' came the reply, 'but she gave me three good contacts."' That's how things go on in an unconscious mind. You cannot rely on it.

Now the zen story, one of the most beautiful.


Before we enter into the story, a few things have to be understood. Zen is the only religion in the world which has been creative. All other religions helped people to become uncreative. And that is not good. In fact, an uncreative person can be silent, but cannot be happy. An uncreative person may become very peaceful, but can never be blissful.

All bliss arises out of creativity. Unless you create something, you cannot feel blissful, impossible. Only god can be blissful. And in creating something, you become a little god.

When you create something, you participate with god. When you create something, you allow god to flow through you. In fact, whenever something is created, it is always created by god; you become the instrument, the medium. You are possessed by god.

Whenever a great painting arises, the painter is just instrumental. God paints it.

Whenever a great poetry is made, the poet is not the creator; the poetry flows through him. The poet simply allows it. The poet remains in a let-go. The poet allows himself to be possessed by something greater than him, bigger than him, deeper than him, higher than him.

Zen is the only religion in the world which is creative. And that is something tremendously important.

I would like you also to be creative. Because if you become uncreative.... Of course, you can become more easily silent, because an uncreative person becomes unrelated to the world. An uncreative person is an escapist. He escapes to the Himalayas. He hides in a cave, sits, watches his navel, forgets the whole world.

In a way, good, because he will not do any harm -- but that is the only good. He will not be mischievous, he will not become a politician, he will not become a general, he will not exploit people. He will be out of the way. Good. But the good is very negative, not enough -- more is needed. He will not do bad, but he will not be able to do good.

And when you don't do bad, you feel peaceful, because whenever you do something bad, you become disturbed. He will be silent, but his silence will have the quality of sadness -- isolated, alone. His silence will not be alive; it will be something dead -- the silence of the cemetery, the silence of a corpse; not the silence of a flower, not the silence of the stars. He will miss something. The blissfulness of life he will miss. One needs to be creative also.

Attain to your inner being. Attain to that which is not body, not mind, then start flowing. Whatsoever way your inner being finds easy starts flowing. Any small thing will do. You can become a gardener or a painter or a poet or a shoemaker... or whatsoever it is. Because it is not a question of utility; it is a question of creativity. Create something so your innermost being is expressed, manifested.

Zen masters were either poets or painters or gardeners, and whatsoever they did, they did with a difference. A zen garden is totally different from any other garden in the world. It has to be, because all other gardens are made by unconscious people. A zen garden is made by conscious people. It has a different aura around it.

One zen master was a great gardener. Even the emperor used to learn from him. And the master said, 'You prepare the garden in the palace. After three years I will come to see it If I approve, then you have passed the examination. If I disapprove, then again for three years you will have to make it, again you will have to learn.'

Of course, it was the emperor's palace; thousands of gardeners were working there. The emperor simply ordered them and whatsoever he learned was immediately used in the garden. It became a tremendously beautiful garden.

After three years the master came. He looked around. The emperor became afraid, the emperor started perspiring, because the master was looking very hard. He wouldn't smile. And then he said, 'You failed. Because I don't see even a single dead leaf in the garden. How can life exist without death? And how can so many trees exist without dead leaves? Because there are no dead leaves, the garden is dead.'

And the king had cleaned the whole garden just that morning; not even a single dead leaf was left. And he failed.

The master went out. Outside, there was a heap of dead leaves which had been removed from the garden. He brought all the dead leaves back, threw them on the paths. Winds started playing with the leaves; the garden became alive. The sound of the dead leaves running hither and thither... the garden became alive. And the master said, 'Now, now everything is okay. Life cannot exist without death. You failed. Now three years more discipline will be needed.'

Zen masters created gardens. That type of garden doesn't exist anywhere else, cannot exist anywhere else. The master said to the emperor, 'Your garden is beautiful, but it shows so much of the human mind. God is absent. You have planned it too much. Whenever anything is planned too much, it loses naturalness. Plan it in such a way,' he said, 'that nobody can see the planning. The art is greatest when the art cannot be detected. If you can detect it, then the human signature is there. If you cannot detect it, if a garden looks wild, then something of god exists.'

They have been painters, they have been poets -- small poems, haikus... tremendously beautiful, very indicative. In so few words, only seventeen syllables, a haiku can say as much as a book will find difficult to say.

One haiku of Basho.





An old pond...

Let the picture arise in your mind. An old pond, an ancient pond, everything silent, awaiting...




Finished, the poetry is finished -- but it has said many things. It has almost painted the whole thing. You can hear the plop. You can see the frog. You can see the old pond. You can almost touch it. You can feel it.

Whatsoever zen masters have been doing, small or big, has the quality -- the quality that comes by the touch of an enlightened person.


Yes, they are very compassionate and hence very severe. Because of their compassion they are severe. Unless they are severe they will not be of much help to you.

Just the other night one girl came to see me. She said that she would think about sannyas because she is not yet ready for it. I could see in her that she is ready. Just the head is not ready; the heart is ready -- but the head was trying to boss over.

So I said, 'Okay, you think -- but remember one thing: next time you come and ask for sannyas I will have to think also. And I may reject. This moment I can give you sannyas -- if you take it without thinking. If you think, then I will also have to think. Next time you ask, I may reject.'

It was hard on the poor girl. I could see her face. She said, 'Okay,' but she felt hurt. Then I talked to other sannyasins -- their problems, their meditations -- and then Govinddas was there to play on his instrument and then I told everybody to dance. The girl also danced. That dance helped -- she relaxed from the head to the heart. And after the dance I asked, 'Are you ready now?' She said, 'Yes. Now I feel very open and close to you.'

Now she is a sannyasin. I had to be a little severe. If I had not said that.... It was unkind to say that I would reject her -- I never reject anybody. You can reject me, you can accept me -- I accept you always. I was not going to reject, but I had to say it. That helped. She needed to be hit on the head.

Remember, compassion can be severe. In fact, only compassion can be severe. Otherwise, what is the need? who is worried? who bothers? People come to me and they say, 'Why do you insist for sannyas?' Because I love you and I would like to share something that can be shared only when you have come close to me.



If you can be a witness to your body and mind, you will be able to see before you die -- almost six months before -- that now you are going to die. Six months before, the body starts disintegrating inside. You and the body start loosening, separating, falling apart. It takes almost six months to bring the process to a completion. But exactly three days before, one can say the hour, the minute, the second. Exactly three days before, something clicks inside and one is ready to die.

If you have lived rightly, fully aware, you will be able to know when your death is coming. Right now you are not even aware of life, that it has come. Then you will even be aware of death, the footsteps of death. You will be able to hear the subtle sound coming closer and closer and closer.

Right now you cannot even live, and then you will be able even to die. And it will be a conscious thing. It is not that death will happen to you; you will die consciously. You will surrender to death consciously. You will welcome death consciously. This is the meaning of this story.


This is the way. One should go a little way, a few steps, to meet death. When you know death is coming, go and meet it at the gate. Let death be welcomed.


He must have been a very rare man. He wanted to savour death in its completeness. He would not even like to be buried in the earth in unconsciousness, when he was gone. He would like even that to happen while he is there and watching and witnessing. Standing there being buried with earth....


He couldn't believe what was happening. And he would be caught later on and accused that he murdered the master. He simply ran off.


A man of understanding has dignity even in his death. A man who lives an unconscious life, even in his life has no dignity. An unconscious life is the life of a beggar -- with no dignity and a thousand and one humiliations. A conscious death... even a death, when conscious, has dignity, tremendous dignity and beauty and grace.

I was reading:

"Charles de Talleyrand-Perigord was a french politician, remarkably capable but utterly unprincipled -- as politicians are -- who survived innumerable changes in the government by adroitly betraying his associates in time. A republican during the French Revolution, he served as Napoleon's foreign minister, intrigued with Napoleon's enemies in time to survive the emperor's fall, and then managed to survive the falls of the restored kings as well.

Finally in 1838, having reached the age of eighty-four, it was time for him to die, and King Louis Philippe was at his bedside.

'Oh,' muttered Talleyrand, who was in great pain, 'I suffer the tortures of hell.'

And Louis Philippe, unmoved, said politely, 'Already?"'

A man who has lived an unconscious life suffers hell while he is alive, suffers hell when he dies -- because the hell is created of your unconsciousness, by your unconsciousness, with your unconsciousness. The hell is nothing but the horror that is created by your unconsciousness.

A man who has kindled his lamp of inner being, lives in heaven, dies in heaven, because consciousness is paradise.


Next: Chapter 10: Living in nirvana, Question 1


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