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Chapter 1: The Great Illusion

If I am separate, then my birth takes place and my death takes place, because separateness both has to be born and has to die also. But if I am not separate, then I was before my birth; only my forms may have been different. I will remain after my death; my form can be any but there is no way to perish. If I am one with the whole, then life is eternal, with no beginnings and no ends, from infinity to infinity. The fear disappears, and then arises celebration in life. How can fearful hearts dance? Death is omnipresent, casting its shadow from all sides, lurking round every corner, following wherever you go.

The sense of separateness gives birth to death. If I am separate, then death is inevitable. If I am one with this vast oneness, death perishes. Or, to put it another way, the moment ego disappears, death disappears. As the will dissolves, there is no death, and the deathless is born. This is why the mystics say that surrender is deathlessness. People search for nectar..

In the West there is the long tradition of the alchemists. In the East - in India, in China - people have been experimenting with metals and chemical formulas, in the hope of finding nectar, something which makes man immortal. But no chemical research will ever lead to nectar, because nectar is not a chemical; neither will it come from mercury, or from gold dust, or from pearls. No, none of these will help, because the very meaning of nectar is something else: it is not the product of a chemical process.

Nectar means surrender. Nectar means the disappearance of death; it is the death of death itself. 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. In this shaken state..

Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, was a great Western thinker. He says that man’s actual state is a trembling; man is shaken every moment. Some time or other just close your eyes and you will find that there is nothing but fear inside. Because of this fear, you may pray to God - but that too will be only an extension of your fear. The masses that kneel in the churches and mosques and temples are not bowing down to any God; they are bowing down out of the fear that exists inside them. God is merely a cover-up for the fear that prevails within; kneeling is just a symptom of the warrior who is losing on the battlefield. Inside is an intense trembling. Death is standing in front of them! Frightened, man kneels and wrings his hands, begging to be saved. And this we have formalized into prayer: we face God afraid, and tell him of the death that is pursuing us; we pray for relief, and beg him to save us from death!

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