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Chapter 7: I Teach Death

No one can experience the whole truth of life without understanding this contradiction correctly. A person who, in his opposition, insists on cutting out the half of it has not yet attained enough intelligence. You can do away with the half, of course, but as soon as that happens the remaining half will die as well - because, unquestionably, the latter half received its life energy from the first half and from nowhere else.

I have heard. Two monks were involved in an ongoing dispute. One believed it is good to have some money on you, that it can be useful in emergencies. His friend, the other monk, used to argue, “Why do we need money? We are renunciates, what do we need money for? Only worldly people keep money.” Both used to put forward arguments in support of their respective views, and it seemed like their arguments were correct.

The great mystery of this universe is that you can present an equal number of arguments in support of any of the opposing bricks used in its creation, and the dispute can never end because both bricks are used equally. Anyone can point out, “Look, the universe is created of my bricks,” while someone else can argue against this, saying, “No, the universe is made of my bricks.”

And life is so vast that very few people evolve enough to see that the whole doorway is made of opposing bricks. The rest merely see the bricks that fall within the range of their view. They say, “You are right, the universe is a creation of sannyas. You are right, brahman is the source of the universe. You are right, the universe is made of atman.” Other people say, “The universe is made of matter, it is made of nothing but dust. Everything will eventually turn into dust - ‘Dust unto dust.’” These people can also show only the bricks that fall within their particular view. In this whole affair neither the theist nor the atheist wins the argument; neither the materialist nor the spiritualist wins. They cannot. Their statements are coming from a dichotomized view of life.

So there was a great dispute between these monks. One maintained it is necessary to have money, while the other disagreed. One evening, in a great hurry, they arrived at a river. It was close to nightfall. One of the monks approached the boatman, who was tying up his boat for the night, and said, “Please don’t tie your boat up yet, bring us across the river. Night is approaching and we must reach the other side.”

The boatman said, “Sorry, I am finished for the day and now I have to go back to my village. I’ll take you across in the morning.”

The monks said, “No, we can’t wait until morning. Our guru, with whom we lived, who taught us what life is all about, is close to dying. The news is, he will be dead by morning. He has summoned us. We can’t stay overnight.”

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