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Chapter 4: The Tolling Bell

In the last days I often have the feeling that the ground is going beneath my feet. It seems to me as if all that I love or loved in the past is being destroyed.
The recent disaster in the Soviet nuclear station makes painfully clear how fragile and mortal everything is. My parents, my son, my brother and sister, my friends and my beloveds - all are in danger.
It is so hard for me to conceive that there is nothing but the moment. I am fearfully asking myself, “What is going to happen next?” But who is asking whom? All seems so absurd and empty. Sometimes I even feel I am going mad.
Osho, is this part of growth or just a disease?

Times of disaster make you aware of the reality as it is. It is always fragile; everybody is always in danger. Just in ordinary times you are fast asleep, so you don’t see it; you go on dreaming, imagining beautiful things for the coming days, for the future. But in moments when danger is imminent then suddenly you become aware that there may be no future, no tomorrow, that this is the only moment you have got.

So times of disaster are very revealing. They don’t bring anything new into the world; they simply make you aware of the world as it is - they wake you up. If you don’t understand this, you can go mad; if you understand this, you can become awakened.

I am reminded of a story.

One great warrior, one of the best swordsmen of his country, had a very obedient servant. He loved the servant, trusted him. He was away, and the servant committed some mistake - which is just human. When the warrior came back he was so angry that he challenged the servant to have a fight with him, a duel with swords, because he did not want to kill him. The mistake that he had committed was big enough - although he may not have understood that. He had spoiled one of the great paintings while cleaning it.

The warrior said, “Because I have loved you, I will not kill you. I will give you a chance - you have to fight with me. Take this sword and come to the dueling ground.”

The servant said, “You know, lord, that I don’t even know how to hold a sword. It is better you kill me; you will kill me anyway - you are a famous swordsman. I cannot in any way be victorious in the fight.”

But the master was stubborn. He said, “You will have to fight.”

Then the servant said, “You will have to wait at least one hour. I will have to go to my master with whom I have been learning meditation - just to pay him respects, last respects, because I don’t think I can survive fighting you.” He was allowed the time. He went to the master.

The master laughed. He said, “Don’t be worried. This is a good opportunity for you because it is absolutely certain that he is a great warrior and he is going to kill you. You don’t know anything about swordsmanship, so you will be killed. You don’t have any future, you don’t have any possibility of victory, you have only this moment. Why not be total at least once in your life?

“I know your man, the warrior: he will not leave you alone if he has said he will do it. But he has given you a chance, and I think it is a great opportunity.”

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