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Chapter 1: Know How to Live

He said, “My whole life.” He was almost seventy. He said, “When I was twenty I took sannyas, I became a Jaina monk, and those fifty years since then I have been reading and reading and thinking about meditation.”

Fifty years of thinking and reading and writing about meditation, even guiding people into meditation, and he has not even tasted once what meditation is!

And this is the case with millions of people. They talk about love, they know all the poetries about love, but they have never loved. Or even if they thought they were in love, they were never in love. That too was a ‘heady’ thing, it was not of the heart. People live and go on missing life. It needs courage. It needs courage to be realistic, it needs courage to move with life wherever it leads. The paths are uncharted, there exists no map. One has to go into the unknown.

Life can be understood only if you are ready to go into the unknown. If you cling to the known you cling to the mind, and the mind is not life. Life is non-mental, non-intellectual, because life is total. Your totality has to be involved in it, you cannot just think about it. Thinking about life is not life; beware of this ‘about-ism’. One goes on thinking about and about: there are people who think about God, there are people who think about life, there are people who think about love. There are people who think about this and that.

Mulla Nasruddin became very old and he went to his doctor. He was looking very weak so the doctor said, “I can say only one thing. You will have to cut your love life to half.”

The Mulla said, “Okay. Which half? Talking about it or thinking about it?”

That’s all. Don’t become a language professor, don’t become a parrot. Parrots are language professors. They live in words, concepts, theories, theologies, and life goes on passing, slipping out of their hands. Then one day suddenly they become afraid of death. When a person is afraid of death, know well that that person has missed life. If he has not missed life there cannot be any fear of death. If a person has lived life, he will be ready to live death also. He will be almost enchanted by the phenomenon of death.

When Socrates was dying he was so enchanted that his disciples could not understand what he was feeling so happy about. One disciple, Credo, asked, “Why are you looking so happy? We are crying and weeping.”

Socrates said, “Why should I not be happy? I have known what life is, now I would like to know what death is. I am at the door of a great mystery, and I am thrilled! I am going on a great journey into the unknown. I am simply full of wonder! I cannot wait!” And remember, Socrates was not a religious man; Socrates was not in any way a believer.

Somebody asked, “Are you so certain that the soul will survive after death?”

Socrates said, “I don’t know.”