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Chapter 5: Dissolving the Five Afflictions

But man clings to life because man is miserable. You would have thought otherwise: that a miserable man should not cling to life. What is there that life has given to him? Why should he cling? Many times the idea must have come to you, seeing a beggar on the road, in the gutter, blind, suffering from leprosy, without feet, without hands; the idea must have passed through your mind, “Why is this man clinging to life? What is left there now? Why can’t he commit suicide and be finished?”

I remember: in my childhood a beggar with no legs used to come. He was carried in a small cart by the wife. He was blind, the whole body a stinking corpse. You couldn’t come near him. He was suffering from incurable leprosy - almost dead, ninety nine percent dead, only one percent alive but somehow breathing. I used to give him something. One day I asked him, just out of curiosity, “Why are you living - for what? Why can’t you commit suicide and be finished with such a miserable life?” Of course, he became angry. He said, “What are you saying?” He was angry. He wanted to hit me with his staff.

It might appear to you that a miserable man should commit suicide, or at least think about finishing it. But never - a miserable man never thinks about it, he cannot. Misery creates its compensation, misery creates its antidote. Heaven is the antidote - “Tomorrow, everything is going to be all right. It is only a question of a little more patience.”

A beggar always lives in the future. And you are a beggar if you live in the future. That is the criterion to judge whether a man is an emperor or a beggar: it you live in the future you are a beggar; it you live right here, now, you are an emperor.

A man who is blissful lives here and now. He doesn’t bother about the future. The future means nothing; future has no meaning for him. Future in fact is non-existential; this moment is the only existence. But that is possible only for a blissful man. For a miserable man, how can this moment be the only existence? Then it will be too much - unbearable, impossible. He has to create the future. He has to create a dream somewhere, somehow, to compensate for the misery.

The deeper the misery, the more the hope. Hope is a compensation. A miserable man never commits suicide, and a miserable man never comes to religion. A miserable man clings to life. The more happy you are, the more you will be ready to give up life at any moment - any moment, with no clinging. You can put your life out just like worn out clothes; it doesn’t matter at all.

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