Chapter 25: The Bell Always Tolls for Somebody Else
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.