From Darkness to Light 25

TwentyFifth Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Darkness to Light by Osho.
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I know it is certain that one day I am going to die, but I don't feel any fear – why?
It is not something exceptional, it is almost the rule. Nobody is afraid of death; otherwise living will become impossible. There is a natural safety measure, and that is something of a very basic nature to be understood.
You know that it is always the other who dies, never you. It is always somebody else, but never you. That gives an unconscious foundation for the hope that perhaps you are the exception, everybody dies except you.
That’s why you don’t feel fear. Nature does not want you to feel fear of death for the simple reason that if fear of death becomes overwhelming, you will not be able to live. Life can be lived only if somehow you can go on believing that you are going to be here forever. Things will change, people will die, but you will remain outside all this change. And it is based on your experience.
The poet says: “Never ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” But when it tolls for thee, you are not there to hear it, that’s the trouble. I say to you, it always tolls for somebody else, that’s why you can hear it. The poet does not know the deeper realms of human consciousness. In a way he is saying a truth. Yes, it tolls for thee. But you are hearing it….
You can understand the implication, but that implication will not create fear in you. I can say for certain that even the poet who wrote that was not afraid of death. Even he, hearing the bell tolling, would not have thought that it is tolling for him. It is always for somebody else. It is always for the other. So this is one fundamental thing: you are not an exception, you are just the rule.
But I have to go deep into your question. It has many layers you may not be aware of. You say, “It is certain that I am going to die one day.” On what grounds do you say it is certain? Have you seen anything in life as a certainty? Life is a flux, nothing is certain. Everything goes on moving in new directions, unpredictable; you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow.
Talking of certainty is absurd.
A conscious man will never talk about certainty. A life is just a perhaps, it is never a certainty.
I can understand when you say, “I am certain that one day I am going to die.” I know what you mean. But you don’t know what you mean. It is only an inference, not a certainty. You have seen people dying; your grandfather died, your father died, neighbors died, teachers, your professors – people go on dying. You are also one of the members of this dying queue, and the queue is moving. Each time somebody dies you have to move a little closer. You don’t know where you are moving, but one thing is certain: whoever moves, it is when somebody dies. Every step in this queue brings you closer to death. But it is an inference. Have you really seen a man die? You will say yes. Almost everybody has seen somebody die. But I say to you emphatically, you have not seen a single man die. You have seen only a man stopping breathing, his heart stopping beating, his pulse disappearing. Yes, you have seen this. And the medical profession will say that the man is dead. But now even the medical profession is not so certain as it used to be.
There are at least ten bodies in America being preserved because science has become aware that when somebody stops breathing, if his brain cells can be preserved, if his brain can be preserved from dying – and it simply means that the brain has to be provided nourishment, oxygen, or whatsoever is needed – then the body will remain dead but the brain will remain alive. And they hope that within twenty years’ time there will be methods available to bring the body back – to pulsate, to breathe. The heart will start beating again; if the brain has been kept alive, the man will come back to life again.
Of course it will be very difficult for the man who has been dead for twenty years to come back to life. Everything will have changed by that time. His generation will have disappeared from the earth; new kinds of people will be there – new ideas, everything new. I don’t think he will be able to adjust. The very shock is going to kill him again, because what he will see will be absolutely against his beliefs, against his conventional mind which he has been carrying for a century. A century-old mind – it cannot bear the shock.
But that apart, whether it can bear the shock or not…even medical science is no longer certain that what we have always called death, is death. Yes, there are symptoms; the man is no longer capable of doing things he used to do. This is a very negative definition of death. Medical science has not been able to provide a positive definition of death: no breathing, no pulse, no heartbeat – can’t you see it is all negative?
One yogi in India – his name was Brahma Yogi – devoted his whole life to prove that all the symptoms that make the medical profession certain about death are wrong. His work was of tremendous value. He practiced methods very ancient in the East, simple methods, but requiring one thing which has disappeared from the world: patience. The methods are very simple, but…twenty years’, thirty years’ practice – in this world of hurry and blurry, who is going to practice a certain breathing technique for thirty years?
People are speedy. People are not walking, people are running, faster and faster every day; their vehicles are becoming faster and faster every day.
Now in Japan they have trains which can move at four hundred miles per hour. And this cannot be the end – the Japanese scientists say that soon it will be possible to move the train at any speed you want, because four hundred was the barrier, which we have crossed. When a train moves at four hundred miles per hour, it rises one foot above its rails – because of the speed. It is almost in the air, it is an airplane – one foot above the ground.
Now there is no reason why it cannot move one thousand miles per hour. The Japanese say – because Japan is such a small country – “We don’t need that much speed. Four hundred is too much, because in four hundred miles you can move from one end to the other end of Japan, and the train is so speedy it cannot stop in between.” You can’t have so many stops and stations. And if a train moves at one thousand miles an hour then it will have only two stops, the beginning and the terminus.
Speed is one of the great diseases of the modern man, because it has made impossible many things which can happen only in patience.
Love grows in patience, but you are so speedy, only divorce can grow out of it. With your speed, love is non-existential. It needs patience.
There are seasonal flowers; within six weeks they blossom – but within six weeks they are gone too. Their whole life span from seed to death is only twelve weeks at the most. But if you want a tree like the cedars of Lebanon, or the redwoods of California, thousands of years old, reaching hundreds of feet into the sky…. They have a certain pride and a certain personality.
The cedars of Lebanon have a grandeur, just like emperors; everything is just pygmy compared to them – but they take time. Four hundred years, five hundred years is nothing. They can go on growing for two thousand years; at two thousand years they will still be young. They will become old somewhere near four or five thousand years.
Now, you cannot grow these cedars like seasonal flowers. And if you are stubborn and insist that everything has to grow within six weeks’ time, then of course you will have to deny the existence of the cedars of Lebanon.
That’s what has happened to the Eastern methods which have proved totally different conclusions about what indicates death. Brahma Yogi practiced for thirty years a certain method of breathing which makes you capable of stopping the breath, the pulse and the heartbeat for ten minutes. He exhibited what he attained to almost all the great medical centers in the world, the great universities of the world.
In Oxford ten doctors, the topmost, looked in every possible way, and they all certified that the man was dead. But after ten minutes the man was back, and he said, “Now what do you say? You were deciding by symptoms – symptoms may not be there. Life energy is something else. It is not breathing. Yes, it needs breathing, it uses breathing, breathing is its means; but life energy itself is not breathing. It can exist without breathing.”
If it can exist for ten minutes it can exist for ten years. The question is whether life energy can remain separate from breathing, from the heartbeat, the pulse. Brahma Yogi’s effort was to prove that your symptoms of death are simply symptoms of a body which has become incapable of keeping the life energy in itself. It is not a proof of death.
But it is a strange world. The man proved his point in front of all the scientists of the world. But the problem for the scientist is, who is going to be trained for thirty years in a certain breathing technique? Who is going to be ready for that? People want instant coffee, and you are talking about thirty years of a breathing technique!
Brahma Yogi had also trained himself for another miraculous feat. Science says that there are certain poisons that if your tongue even touches them, you will die. There is no way to help you, your death is certain. He practiced for that too – not only touching those certain poisons , he would drink cups of those poisons. He baffled the scientists.
But in Rangoon an accident happened. His practice had made Brahma Yogi capable of containing anything in his stomach for thirty minutes without it mixing with his body in any way; but within thirty minutes it had to be thrown out. In Rangoon University he gave the demonstration of drinking poison, and then he moved to the hotel where he was staying – but you don’t know the traffic in the East; it is simply crazy. It is just a miracle that people go on reaching the places they want to reach. It is a miracle that every day you come back home alive.
The Eastern traffic has difficulties because it contains so many centuries together. Somebody is going on his donkey, somebody on his horse, somebody – in countries like China – sitting on a buffalo…bullock carts, camels, elephants…and added to all this, modern speedy vehicles; buses, trucks, cars. In the East you can find all the models of cars that have ever existed since God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden. That first car you can find in Bombay – still moving!
All the centuries together – and the roads were not made for buses and trucks, they are small, not broad enough. And people have no traditional sense that they have to keep to the right or to the left. People believe in freedom, and many people believe in the middle way; they just move in the middle of the road. And of course all the constitutions of the world say that man has a birthright of freedom to move, movement is man’s birthright. So Eastern traffic is really something worth seeing.
And how people go on managing in it is just a miracle: so many horns honking continuously, and nobody listening – who cares? These idiots go on honking and people go on moving at their own pace….
Brahma Yogi could not reach the hotel in time to throw out the poison; he died. But before dying he had demonstrated, almost all over the world, both these things: the poisons you think can kill man, can kill only if the man is not trained and disciplined in a certain way to keep the poison away from his blood stream; and all the symptoms of death are not at all symptoms of death, they are symptoms only of a body failure. Your deeper life force, elan vital, is eternal.
You say, “I am certain that I am going to die one day.” How can you be certain? You have not seen death yet, you have seen only symptoms, outward symptoms. You have never seen any life dying. You have seen only a dead body stop functioning; it was always dead, it is nothing new for it. It was a mechanism functioning for a certain period, programmed to function for a certain period. When the period is over the mechanism stops.
You wind your watch, and for twenty-four hours it goes on ticking; after twenty-four hours it stops. That does not mean that something has died. But if you believe that there was a life inside the watch which has died, because now the hands are no longer moving, then you are believing in a fallacy.
So the first thing I would like to say to you is, don’t be so certain. Never be certain about anything that you have not experienced. You have not seen anybody really dying. And even if you can see somebody dying then too you cannot be certain – unless you see yourself dying – because these things are so intimate.
You can see two persons loving – that does not help in any way for you to become certain what love is. You can seen two persons hugging each other, kissing each other, looking at each other like lunatics….
This word lunatic I like. It comes from the moon, lunar; a lunatic is one who goes on looking at the moon. Two lovers look at each other like lunatics looking at the moon. Why did it become synonymous with insanity, madness? – because of a certain fact, that the moon has an effect on the human mind: it can drive it mad.
On the full-moon night more people go mad than on any other night. On the full-moon night more people commit suicide than on any other night. On the full-moon night more people murder than on any other night. It is not coincidental; it is just as when, on the full-moon night, the ocean starts stirring, tries to rise toward the moon. Some immense force, some immense magnetism in the moon pulls the ocean.
Man also comes from the ocean. Man’s body still contains ninety percent elements of the ocean. It is very natural that when the ocean gets stirred, your little ponds also get stirred; hence, the word “lunatic” became synonymous with madness.
Literally it means moonstruck. But lovers are moonstruck – just watch two lovers. But don’t start being certain that you know what love is, because in a movie you can see two lovers even more mad, more moonstruck – but they are just acting. They may be really husband and wife, nagging before they act, and nagging after they act; just between the two naggings they have to play at being lovers. And they play it.
You cannot be certain by seeing the symptoms in others’ lives. You can infer, but your inference should be preceded by a perhaps: perhaps these people are in love. But what is love? You can watch the symptoms; they are holding hands, they are saying sweet nothings, telling each other dialogues – great dialogues that they have crammed from movies and novels.
One student was my roommate in the university. He was a simple boy and he was always worried because everybody was saying that somebody was in love with some girl, somebody was in love with some woman teacher but, “Nothing happens to me.” He would tell me, “Nothing happens to me.”
I said, “If you go on sitting in this room nothing is going to happen to you. At least while I am present here nothing is going to happen to you. If you want something to happen then do something!”
He said, “What should I do? Before I get close to a girl I start trembling. I cannot take my hands out of my pants pockets because my hands are trembling. Even my pants start shaking – with no wind, and the pants…. I simply turn away. I try to say something beautiful but nothing comes out, I end up saying something stupid. And I have tried for hours, crammed the whole dialogue – and at the very last moment, something snaps and I am no longer together. And because of this, girls get bored with me, nobody wants to have me as a lover.”
I said, “You do one thing – start writing love letters.
He said, “You are telling me? I have been writing love letters but nobody returns…the answer never comes. I must have written love letters to all the girls in the university, but nobody bothers.”
I said, “You just show me one of your love letters.” I saw his love letter, and I said, “This is a love letter? – or some bureaucratic…. Reference number, subject matter….” I said, “You are the first lover to write such a scientific letter – reference number, subject matter: Love. Who is going to answer you? You are a fool.”
He said, “I have only seen this kind of letter; I thought that this must be the right manner in which to write, so I have been writing like this.”
I told him, “I will write love letters for you. You just choose the girl.”
He said, “Really?”
I said, “You go and you just choose the girl and bring her address and I will write the letter for you.”
He chose a certain girl, a very beautiful girl – she was a Kashmiri girl, and by chance she was in the same department, in the same class as me. I knew her. I said, “That’s perfectly good,” and I started writing love letters for him. Only the signature was his. That too I had to teach him because a lover’s signature should not be businesslike; it should have some art, some beauty.
And the answer came. He was just mad with joy, that the answer has come! Then I went on writing for him, and answers started coming – more and more loving. One day the girl invited him to meet her: “I have not even seen you, but just by your letters I can understand how beautiful a person you must be, what great poetry must be in your heart. You seem to be a born poet, an artist.”
He said, “Now the difficulty has come. You never said to me that I would also have to meet her, you just told me to write letters. And I am enjoying enough, this is enough; I don’t want…. I see the girl from far away, here and there, but that is enough. More than that I don’t want, because I know myself.”
I said, “What do you want? Should I go in place of you? Now gather courage and go and meet her. “I almost had to push him – in fact, to throw him out of the room. And I said, “You go – first you meet the girl and then come back; otherwise I will not allow you into the room. Are you a man or…!”
So almost with tears in his eyes he went to meet his girlfriend. And you can imagine what happened there. She simply threw him out. She said, “You were writing those letters to me?”
He said, “To be true to you, I was not writing them; somebody else was. And before I leave you I want my letters back!”
That was the climax! The girl said, “What are you going to do with the letters?”
He said, “I will send them to somebody else. I cannot write, and the man who used to write them will refuse now. He will say ‘You are useless – what is the point?’“ I will write these same letters again, and this time I will try to be a little stronger; I will start yoga and join the gymnasium. But please give my letters back.”
The girl mentioned to me, by the way, “Something strange happened today. An idiot has been writing letters to me. His letters were so beautiful, so intelligent, I had almost fallen in love with him through the letters. I asked him to meet me; I told him, ‘You go on hiding, remaining anonymous. I am just hankering to meet you.’ The man came – and I have never seen such a lousy fellow! And the last thing that he did was just unimaginable: he asked for his letters back, ‘because,’ he said, ‘these letters I will use for some other girl’!”
You can imitate, you can borrow, you can act; somebody watching you may think this is love. These are only symptoms; they may be true, they may not be true. They may be just acting. They may be just out of habit. They may be just etiquette, mannerism. But you cannot be certain that it is love.
You can be certain only when you are in love, when you experience it; when it suddenly changes the whole climate of your being, when it makes you a totally new man; when you cannot walk because your legs want to dance, when your prose becomes poetry not by any effort; when you are surprised by yourself – you had never thought that you are beautiful, that you are of any worth, that you can be needed by somebody.
One of the greatest needs of man is to be needed. And the moment somebody needs you, your spirits start flying high; you are not unnecessarily here. You are not a burden, somebody needs you. You are here to fulfill somebody’s life, you are here to make somebody complete. But you have to experience it; only then can you be certain.
The same is true about death. You will be surprised; why am I comparing death with love? It is not accidental – they are alike, very much alike. In love there is death; the old dies and the new is born. There is a death and there is eternity; death of something non-essential and the revelation of eternity, which is essential.
The same is true about death. There is something of love in it. The old dies, the old body disappears, and suddenly there is a new freedom, unbounded. You cannot believe that you can be so huge, that stars can move within you.
Love is a tiny death: death is immense love.
Love happens between two small individuals:
Death happens between two universes.
Love makes two individuals one:
Death makes two universes one.
That’s why I have purposely chosen love to be an example.
You say, ‘I am certain….’ Please, don’t be certain. Without experiencing anything, to be certain is stupid. First know, then certainty follows as a shadow, but without knowing…. You have only heard the bell tolling for others; you are not certain, you cannot be.
And you say, “One day I am going to die.” This is very strange; you have not lived yet, how can you die? At least follow the natural course of things; first live. Without being alive, nobody can die. I mean unless you have experienced life in its totality, you will not be able to experience death in its totality either, because death is not separate from life. It is just an episode in your life. And there have been many episodes like that in your life.
Your life is from one eternity – the beginningless beginning – to another eternity, the endless end.
Millions of times the episode of death will happen, but you will be able to experience it only if before it, preceding it, there is the vital experience of life.
It is something like you see in schools: they all have blackboards. Why don’t they have whiteboards? When I entered my first grade that was my first question. The teacher could not believe that such a small boy…and he looked embarrassed because he had no answer.
I said, “Why are all these boards black? Black is the color of the devil, the color of death, the color of mourning. Why? Why can’t you have white boards?”
The teacher looked at me and he said, “But nobody ever asked that before.”
I said, “That has nothing to do with me, whether anybody asked or not. I am asking it, and I want the answer.” And the fool could not give the simple answer, “We have white chalk to write.” That was the simple answer. You can’t write with white chalk on a white board. You can, but it will not be visible to anybody, to you or to anybody else. You have to write on a black board. And white chalk was easily available; it is just white mud, refined – cheap.
Exactly that is the case in life. Your life has to have an intensity, because death is a very momentary, fleeting experience. If you have not lived a life of tremendous depth, intensity – so intense that in one moment the whole eternity becomes joined – you will not be able to detect when death comes and when it goes.
Death comes and it goes so fast that unless you are in the moment, totally present, you will miss it.
You may think of it: it is coming, it is coming, the queue is becoming smaller, smaller…and then suddenly it is gone: you are out of the queue. You will know it before, you will know it after, but you will not know it when it is really with you. It is a very fleeting moment, it is an episode. It has no continuity.
It is not that you can say, “Okay, I have missed today, tomorrow I catch up with the train.” Then tomorrow may come after one life, and you may not remember at all that in the past you had missed. Do you remember how many times you have missed the train in the past? You have missed so many times that you have started living in the waiting room, thinking this is your house.
This is not your house. But you have missed the train so many times that it is natural to believe that this is where you belong – the waiting room, the platform. The train comes but you can never get to the train, you are always late. That has become your pattern of life.
In India, along the superhighways they have billboards saying, “It is better to be late than never.” It is for people who are going beyond the legal speed: It is better to be late than never.
I would like to say to you, it is better to be never than to be late.
You have always been late. And if you say that you know, “I am going to die one day, I am certain;” you are going to miss again, you will be late. Death will have passed by your side and you will not have been able to detect it. You will remain certain in your knowledge. You will be shocked only when you see that it has happened without even making you alert, giving you no warning, not even knocking on your door. It has passed.
Death does not believe in knocking on your doors. It is a very fleeting moment, and it is a momentary thing. Life has a length – death has no length.
So please drop this idea that “I am certain.” Drop this idea that, “I know that death is coming one day.” How do you know? It may come, it may not come. How can you be certain? There is no way. Yes, you see people dying but you are not those people; you may live. This is an inference. What I want to emphasize is, there is an inference, a logical inference.
Aristotle, in his logical treatises, takes the example of his own master’s master. Plato was his master, and Plato’s master was Socrates. So Aristotle takes the example that Socrates is a man – this is a logical syllogism – Socrates is a man, obviously; all men are mortal, obviously; hence, Socrates is mortal…not so obvious.
Socrates is a man, but such a unique man that there can be no other Socrates before or after. Socrates is a man, but you are forgetting that he is a unique man. All men are mortal, yes, as far as we know up to now – except a few fictions like Jesus Christ ascending to heaven, Mohammed ascending to heaven with his horse. Except for a few fictions all men are mortals; up to now it is true.
But Socrates is so unique you cannot put him just as a number in the collectivity of all men. No, I don’t agree with Aristotle.
Although his syllogism is simple – all men are mortal, hence therefore, Socrates is mortal – no, I say no, because Socrates is not a number, Socrates is not just a part of all men. He is an individual, so unique that you cannot predict anything about him according to the rule. Perhaps he is the exception.
Why do you think yourself to be just a number in the crowd? Why can’t you respect yourself as an individual? You say, “I am going to die one day….” Be a little respectful to yourself. I am not saying that you will not die, I am saying at least before dying, don’t die.
Die only once, don’t die every day; otherwise whenever the bell tolls you die again. How many deaths in such a small life! – so many deaths that there is no time left for living. From one death to another death – there is no gap even where you can breathe.
Don’t say that “I am going to die one day.”
First live! And live this very day.
And I promise you that if you can live this very day, death will happen, but not to you, only to your outward imprisonment – your body, the shell in which you are imprisoned.
You are not going to die on any day.
And fortunately there are only seven days.
So I give the guarantee that in these seven days you are not going to die, unless you invent the eighth day, which is very difficult.
It is very strange that around the world all the cultures, all the societies, all the languages, not in connection with each other, all have seven days. And their seven days have all the same meanings. For example in English Monday is the moon’s day, that’s why Monday. In Hindi it is Somvar; som is the Hindi name for moon. Sunday is the day of the sun. In Hindi, it is ravivar, ravi means the sun.
In all the languages there are only seven days, and all the seven days have the same meaning.
In fact, five thousand years ago when days were decided and developed, we knew only seven great planets around the earth. At that time the sun was also considered to be a planet moving round the earth, just like the moon. Earth was the center, and seven were the planets moving round it. So according to those seven planets…now there are eleven. The sun is counted out; otherwise there would be twelve. The sun is not a planet. The moon is a planet, earth itself is a planet, and they all are moving around the sun.
Now things have become different, but even when things become different old traditions continue, old worlds continue. Old words are like old habits, they die hard.
There are only seven days – please live! And I am not a Christian so I don’t even give a holiday.
The Christian God to me seems to be really lousy. Just six days’ work – and not a great work. Just look around the world to see the mess that He has created! And He had some nerve to say “Good.” This world, in which there is even Oregon, and the old fool said, “Good”! Then he went on a weekend holiday, and since then nothing has been heard of Him.
It is very strange – Monday He should have come back to the office. I have always wondered why He didn’t come back to the office on Monday. What happened to the old guy? The only reason I could find was, after making man, He became so disgusted…. That was his last creation on Saturday evening. He must have said, “Good” before that. Once He created man He became so disgusted. He really freaked out. He dropped the whole idea of creating anything anymore. He had created a monster.
And since then nothing has been heard of Him. Either He committed suicide, started taking drugs…. Nothing is known so nothing can be said positively, just inferences – He just felt so guilty, so Catholic, that He hanged himself.
There are only seven days – please live!
Even Sunday is not a holiday – make it an intense day of life.
Live each moment, don’t leave a single moment unlived. Then only will you become capable of knowing death. When death comes you will be in the moment, available, open.
And a man who is open and available to death comes to know in death the most beautiful experience of life – because death is silence, utter silence, abysmal silence.
And you ask me, “I am not afraid of it – why?”
Nobody is afraid of death. I have never come across a person who is afraid of death. People are afraid of having cancer, people are afraid of having AIDS, people are afraid of becoming blind, people are afraid of becoming crippled; people are afraid of all kinds of things that can happen in old age; they are afraid of old age. Nobody is afraid of death. Death is so clean – why should one be afraid of death?
In fact the closer you come to your old age and the closer to death, the more you start hoping that death comes soon. Death is absolute clean, pure. It has never bothered anybody, it has never tortured anybody. And the contrary, it has relieved millions of people from torture, from disease, from concentration camps, from suffering, misery, anguish. Death has been a great friend to the whole of humanity.
That’s why I say to my sannyasins:
When death happens, celebrate!
It is the coming of a great friend.
Death is not the enemy. Death is very compassionate. It is the universe getting rid of all the junk that you have gathered around yourself and freeing you again, making you again fresh, young, giving you another chance to live – this one you have lost again.
Nobody is afraid of death. I have never come across a person who is afraid of death. People are certainly afraid of lying down in strange kinds of beds in the hospitals – legs up, hands down, all kinds of instruments attached to the head and to the chest. People are afraid of all this, but death…have you seen death doing any harm to anybody ever? Why should anybody be afraid? That’s why I said it is not exceptional that you are not afraid. Don’t start patting your own back, that “I’m not afraid of death.” Nobody is.
People are afraid of life, not of death, because life is a problem to be solved. Life has thousands of complexities to be resolved. Life has so many dimensions that you are continuously in a worry…is the dimension you are moving in the right one, or have you left the right one behind?
Whatever you are doing, this question mark never leaves you: is this the kind of thing you really wanted to do, or are you really destined to do this? Everybody is in constant turmoil because of life. People are afraid to live, so people try to live as limitedly as possible. They have made life a limited concern.
They try to create a fence around their life. They don’t want to live in the wilderness of life – that is very fear-creating. They make a nice fence around their house, they make a beautiful British garden inside – everything symmetrical, well-cut, groomed – and they think this is life. This is not life, this is just an effort to avoid life.
Life can only be wild.
It cannot have fences, it cannot be like the British garden. It is not Victorian, everything symmetrical.
A famous story I have always loved…. A great king sent his eldest son – who was going to succeed him as the king – to a master to learn gardening. Masters have used all kinds of methods to teach. Gardening can become meditation, swordsmanship can become meditation, wrestling can become meditation; anything can become meditation, because meditation is a certain quality. You have just to bring that quality to any act and that act becomes meditation.
This master was known as the greatest master of gardening. He taught his disciples gardening, and through gardening, meditation. The prince came to him, and the master said, “You start right now.”
The prince said, “I thought you would say, ‘Come from tomorrow morning.’“
The master said, “Listen carefully: here, tomorrow does not exist; it is either now or never., Start now! Come with me to the garden.”
The prince had never met anybody who behaved like this – but you have to forgive people like me. We don’t know good behavior, we don’t know good manners. And it is good that there are once in a while a few people who don’t know good manners, who don’t know etiquette.
Once I was invited to Hyderabad University in India – and while I was touring in India and speaking to all kinds of audiences, I used to sit on the table. Ordinarily the speaker stands behind the table, between the chair and the table; the microphone is on the table. That’s how it is. But I am not a man of manners or any thing, I would simply step up on the table. And that would be enough shock – people could not believe what I was doing! And I would tell the machine operator to put the mike in front of me. I would sit on the table, and I would simply start speaking.
The vice-chancellor asked me – he was a learned man – “You did not address people as gentlemen and ladies…?”
I said, “Yes, because I didn’t see any gentlemen or any ladies there. It is not my fault. I looked around, you must have watched.” I had looked around to see if there was any gentleman or any lady. “So I thought it was better to leave it unaddressed, I should just start talking to the walls. And walls don’t believe in being gentlemen and ladies, male and female.”
He said, “What are you talking about? This is just good manners – whether they are gentlemen or not is not the point.”
I said, “I cannot do anything just for the sake of good manners.”
The prince was very angry but he could not do anything because this was a different world. This was the world of the master, it was not under his empire. No master’s world is part of anybody’s empire.
Do you think Rajneeshpuram is under America? Forget it. It is my world. If America wants to, it can be part of it. We are not part of anybody.
The master dragged the prince, started showing him how to do things. The prince saw the garden of the master and he said, “But this looks like a wild forest. You call it a garden?”
The master said, “Yes, because we do not disturb any tree’s individuality. We try to help the tree as much as we can to be whatever it can be. But we do not cut, we do not prune. We are not interested in creating symmetries, because in existence there is nothing that indicates symmetries. Existence is asymmetrical.”
For three years the prince had to learn; and of course in his own palace he had one hundred gardeners, so whatsoever he learned, he told the gardeners to follow: – “And prepare the garden, because after three years, one day the master will come just to see the garden. If he is happy, I have passed. If he is not happy, remains serious, I have failed. He is such a man – he won’t even say ‘you have failed’ or ‘you have passed.’ If he smiles, that’s enough, enough of a certificate; you have passed. If he leaves without a smile, that means I have failed; three more years again…!”
So he did everything, and he had as many servants, as many gardeners as he wanted. And he made a really beautiful forest-like garden. But it was made forest-like – it was, after all, man-made – and there is a great difference. The master’s garden was not man-made. The garden was supported by man, nourished by man; it was a friendship with the trees. This was a totally different thing.
Of course the prince’s garden was almost like the master’s garden. And the last finishing touch…. The prince went, before the master was to come, and he saw a few dead leaves in the garden, fallen on the path. He said, “Remove these. Make the garden absolutely clean, young, fresh; no yellow leaves, no dead leaves on the ground.” So all yellow leaves, all dead leaves were removed. And then the master came. He was very serious, and the prince was trembling.
Finally the prince said, “Will you say something? Is my garden in any way satisfactory to you?”
The master said, “My foot! Everywhere I see the signs of man. Where are the dead leaves? In a forest, dead leaves create a music of their own; when the wind blows and the dead leaves start moving, there is a sound. Or when you walk on a path, under your feet the dead leaves cracking, making sound…. Where are the yellow leaves on the trees? – because unless there are yellow leaves the trees are man-made. Where are the old trees? All the trees look young. In existence always there are young trees, there are children, there are old people – all the generations together. Then it is totally different.”
The prince said, “I am sorry. The leaves were there – just now we threw them out.”
The master went out, collected all the old leaves, brought them, and threw them on the garden path. And as the wind blew and the dry leaves started fluttering and making a sound, he smiled. He said, “Now there is something which is not made by you, something which is happening between the dead leaves and the wind. Something existential is there. Only this was missing. Now I can leave smiling.”
People are afraid of life, and they are afraid of life because life is only possible if you are capable of being wild – wild in your love, wild in your song, wild in your dance. This is where fear is.
Who is afraid of death? I have never come across such a person. And almost every person I have come across is afraid of life.
Drop fear of life…. Because either you can be afraid or you can live; it is up to you. And what is there to be afraid of? You can’t lose anything. You have everything to gain.
Drop all fears and jump totally into life.
Then one day death will come as a welcome guest, not your enemy, and you will enjoy death more than you have enjoyed life, because death has its own beauties.
And death is very rare because it happens once in a while – life is everyday.

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