Death Is the Most Misunderstood Phenomenon
“Death is the most misunderstood phenomenon. People have thought of death as the end of life. That is the first, basic misunderstanding.
“Death is not the end, but the beginning of a new life. Yes, it is an end of something that is already dead. It is also a crescendo of what we call life, although very few know what life is. They live, but they live in such ignorance that they never encounter their own life. And it is impossible for these people to know their own death, because death is the ultimate experience of this life, and the beginning experience of another. Death is the door between two lives; one is left behind, one is waiting ahead.
“There is nothing ugly about death; but man, out of his fear, has made even the word, death ugly and unutterable. People don’t like to talk about it. They won’t even listen to the word death.
“The fear has reasons. The fear arises because it is always somebody else who dies. You always see death from the outside, and death is an experience of the innermost being. It is just like watching love from the outside. You may watch for years, but you will not come to know anything of what love is. You may come to know the manifestations of love, but not love itself. We know the same about death. Just the manifestations on the surface – the breathing has stopped, the heart has stopped, the man as he used to talk and walk is no more there: just a corpse is lying there instead of a living body.
“These are only outer symptoms. Death is the transfer of the soul from one body to another body, or in cases when a man is fully awakened, from one body to the body of the whole universe. It is a great journey, but you cannot know it from the outside. From outside, only symptoms are available; and those symptoms have made people afraid.
“Those who have known death from inside lose all fear of death.”
Death Is Not the End of Life
“My sannyasins celebrate death too, because to me death is not the end of life but the very crescendo of life, the very climax. It is the ultimate of life. If you have lived rightly, if you have lived moment to moment totally, if you have squeezed out the whole juice of life, your death will be the ultimate orgasm.
“The sexual orgasm is nothing compared to the orgasm that death brings, but it brings it only to the person who knows the art of being total. The sexual orgasm is a very faint thing compared to the orgasm that death brings.”
Everybody Is Afraid of Death
“Everybody is afraid of death for the simple reason that we have not tasted of life yet. The man who knows what life is, is never afraid of death; he welcomes death. Whenever death comes he hugs death, he embraces death, he welcomes death, he receives death as a guest. To the man who has not known what life is, death is an enemy; and to the man who knows what life is, death is the ultimate crescendo of life.
“But everybody is afraid of death; that too is contagious. Your parents are afraid of death, your neighbors are afraid of death. Small children start getting infected by this constant fear all around. Everybody is afraid of death. People don’t even want to talk about death.
“There have been only two taboos in the world: sex and death. It is very strange why sex and death have been the two taboos not to be talked about, to be avoided. They are deeply connected. Sex represents life because all life arises out of sex, and death represents the end. And both have been taboo – don’t talk about sex and don’t talk about death.”
If Death Disappears There Will Be No Mystery in Life
“The religious man, the mystic, tries to explore the mystery of death. In exploring the mystery of death, he inevitably comes to know what life is, what love is. Those are not his goals. His goal is to penetrate death, because there seems to be nothing more mysterious than death. Love has some mystery because of death, and life also has some mystery because of death.
“If death disappears there will be no mystery in life. That’s why a dead thing has no mystery in it, a corpse has no mystery in it, because it cannot die anymore. You think it has no mystery because life has disappeared? No, it has no mystery because now it cannot die anymore. Death has disappeared, and with death automatically life disappears. Life is only one of the ways of death’s expression.”
There Is Nobody to Die Inside You
“People are not afraid of death, they are afraid of losing their separation, they are afraid of losing their ego. Once you start feeling separate from existence the fear of death arises because then death seems to be dangerous. You will no longer be separate; what will happen to your ego, your personality? And you have cultivated the personality with such care, with such great effort; you have polished it your whole life, and death will come and destroy it.
“If you understand, if you see, if you can feel and experience that you are not separate from existence, that you are one with it, all fear of death disappears because there is nobody to die inside you. In the first place there is nobody at all, existence lives through you.”
Your Death Will Prove How You Have Lived
“The man who has lived his life totally, intensely, passionately, without any fear – without any fear that has been created in you by the priests for centuries and centuries – if a person lives his life without any fear, authentically, spontaneously, death will not create any fear in him, not at all. In fact, death will come as a great rest. Death will come as the ultimate flowering of life. He will be able to enjoy death too; he will be able to celebrate death too.
“And remember, that is the criterion. If a person can enjoy and celebrate his death, that shows he has lived rightly; there is no other criterion. Your death will prove how you have lived.”
Death Is the Culmination of Life
“The greatest mystery in life is not life itself, but death. Death is the culmination of life, the ultimate blossoming of life. In death the whole life is summed up, in death you arrive. Life is a pilgrimage towards death. From the very beginning, death is coming. From the moment of birth, death has started coming towards you, you have started moving towards death.
“And the greatest calamity that has happened to the human mind is that he is against death. Being against death means you will miss the greatest mystery. And being against death also means that you will miss life itself – because they are deeply involved into each other; they are not two. Life is growing, death is the flowering of it. The journey and the goal are not separate; the journey ends in the goal.”
Laughter Is the Zen Attitude towards Death
What is the Zen attitude towards death?
“Laughter. Yes, laughter is the Zen attitude towards death and towards life too, because life and death are not separate. Whatsoever is your attitude towards life will be your attitude towards death, because death comes as the ultimate flowering of life. Life exists for death. Life exists through death. Without death there will be no life at all. Death is not the end but the culmination, the crescendo. Death is not the enemy it is the friend. It makes life possible.”
Death Is a Great Revealer
“Everything returns to its original source, has to return to its original source. If you understand life then you understand death also. Life is a forgetfulness of the original source, and death is again a remembrance. Life is going away from the original source, death is coming back home. Death is not ugly, death is beautiful. But death is beautiful only for those who have lived their life unhindered, uninhibited, unsuppressed. Death is beautiful only for those who have lived their life beautifully, who have not been afraid to live, who have been courageous to live – who loved, who danced, who celebrated.
“Death becomes the ultimate celebration if your life is a celebration. Let me tell you in this way: whatsoever your life is, death reveals only that. If you have been miserable in life, death reveals misery. Death is a great revealer. If you have been happy in your life, death reveals happiness. If you have lived only a life of physical comfort and physical pleasure, then of course death is going to be very uncomfortable and unpleasant because the body has to be left. The body is just a temporary abode, a serai in which we stay for the night and have to leave in the morning. It is not your permanent abode, it is not your home.”
It Can Happen Any Moment
“A man who thinks that death is against life can never be non-violent. It is impossible. A man who thinks that death is the enemy can never be at ease, at home. That is impossible. How can you be at ease when the enemy is waiting for you any moment? It will jump on you and destroy you. How can you be non-tense when death is waiting just around the corner and the shadow of death is always falling on you? It can happen any moment. How can you rest when death is there? How can you relax? The enemy won’t allow you to relax.
“Hence the tension, the anxiety, the anguish of humanity. The more you fight with death, the more anxiety-ridden you will become, you are bound to become. That’s a natural consequence of it.”
Your Inner Existential State Is Death
“As it is, your inner existential state is death. You may try to hide it and you may try to ignore it, but your inner existential state is death. Every moment you are shaken by death; every moment death is resonating within you. Your body is traveling fast toward its death. Each moment brings death a little nearer, and from all around death is watching you. You see an old man and you are reminded of death; you see a demolished house and the memory of death stirs in you; a withered flower is sufficient to bring the fragrance of death; a fountain has run dry – again it is death looking at you. Look anywhere. Death prevails, and you are shaken by it.”
Osho, Nowhere To Go But In, Talk #1
Why Are We Afraid of Death?
“Why do we cling to life and why are we afraid of death? You may not have thought about it. The reason why we cling so much to life and why we are afraid of death is just inconceivable. We cling to life so much because we do not know how to live. We cling to life so much because really we are not alive. And time is passing and death is coming nearer and nearer. And we are afraid that death is coming near and we have not lived yet.
“This is the fear: death will come and we have not lived yet. We are just preparing to live. Nothing is ready; life has not happened. We have not known the ecstasy which life is; we have not known the bliss life is; we have not known anything. We have just been breathing in and out. We have been just existing. Life has been just a hope and death is coming near. And if life has not yet happened and death happens before it, of course, obviously, we will be afraid because we would not like to die.
“Only those persons who have lived, really lived, are ready, welcoming, receptive, thankful to death. Then death is not the enemy. Then death becomes the fulfillment.”
Life Is Rounded on both the Sides by Death
“Birth leads to death, death precedes birth. So if you want to see life as it really is, it is rounded on both the sides by death. Death is the beginning and death is again the end, and life is just the illusion in between. You feel alive between two deaths; the passage joining one death to another you call life. Buddha says this is not life. This life is dukkha – misery. This life is death.
That is why he appears to us who are deeply life-hypnotized, obsessed about being alive in any way, as life-negating. To us, just to be alive seems to be the end. We are so much afraid of death that Buddha appears in love with death, and that looks abnormal. He seems to be suicidal. This is what many have criticized Buddha for.”
Become Aware of Death
“To me, man means awareness of death. I am not saying become afraid of death; that is not awareness. Just be aware of the fact that death is coming nearer and nearer and you have to be prepared for it…
“So the first thing: become aware of death. Think about it, look at it, contemplate it. Do not be afraid, do not escape the fact. It is there and you cannot escape it! It has come into existence with you.
“Your death is born with you; now you cannot escape it. You have hidden it in yourself – become aware of it. The moment you become aware that you are going to die, thatdeath is certain, your total mind will start looking in a different dimension. Then food is a basic need for the body, but not for the being, because even if you get food death will occur. Food cannot protect you from death, food can only postpone. Food can help you to postpone. If you get a good shelter, a good house, it will not protect you from death. it will only help you to die conveniently, comfortably. And death, whether it happens comfortably or uncomfortably, is the same.
“In life you may be poor or rich, but death is the great equalizer. The greatest communism is in death. Howsoever you live, it makes no difference; death happens equally. In life, equality is impossible; in death, inequality is impossible. Become aware of it, contemplate it.”
One Has to Pass through the Door of Death
“Death is more important than life. Life is just the trivial, just the superficial; death is deeper. Through death you grow to the real life, and through life you only reach death and nothing else.
“Whatever we say and mean by life is just a journey toward death. If you can understand that your whole life is just a journey and nothing else, then you are less interested in life and more interested in death. And once someone becomes more interested in death, he can go deep into the very depths of life; otherwise, he is just going to remain on the surface.
“But we are not interested in death at all: rather, we escape the facts, we are continuously escaping the facts. Death is there, and every moment we are dying. Death is not something far away, it is here and now: we are dying. But while we are dying we go on being concerned about life. This concern with life, this over concern with life, is just an escape, just a fear. Death is there, deep inside – growing.
“Change the emphasis, turn your attention around. If you become concerned with death, your life comes to be revealed to you for the first time, because the moment you become at ease with death you have gained a life that cannot die. The moment you have known death, you have known that life which is eternal.
“Death is the door from the superficial life, the so-called life, the trivial. There is a door. If you pass through the door you reach another life – deeper, eternal, without death, deathless. So from so-called life, which is really nothing but dying, one has to pass through the door of death; only then does one achieve a life that is really existential and active – without death in it.”
Osho, Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy, Talk #11
There Is No Bigger Lie Than Death
“The first thing I would like to tell you about death is that there is no bigger lie than death. And yet, death appears to be true. It not only appears to be true but also seems like the cardinal truth of life – it appears as if the whole of life is surrounded by death. Whether we forget about it, or become oblivious to it, everywhere death remains close to us. Death is even closer to us than our own shadow.
“Our lives have been structured on the foundations of our fear of death. The fear of death has created society, the nation, family and friends. The fear of death has caused us to run after money and has made us ambitious of higher positions. And most surprising of all is that our gods and our temples have also been raised out of the fear of death. Afraid of death, there are people who pray on their knees. Afraid of death, there are people who pray to God with folded hands raised toward the sky. And nothing is more false than death. That is why whatever systems of life we have created, through believing death to be true, have all become false.
“But how to know the falsity of death? How can we know there is no death? Until we know that, our fear of death will not go either. Until we know the falsity of death, our lives will remain false. As long as there is fear of death, there cannot be authentic life. As long as we tremble with the fear of death, we cannot summon the capacity to live our lives. One can live only when the shadow of death has disappeared forever. How can a frightened and trembling mind live? And when death seems to be approaching every second, how is it possible to live? How can we live?”
Osho, And Now and Here, Talk #1
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