Chapter 13: Freedom from Birth and Death
You think that illness and health are opposites. You wish for a time when there will be no more illness in the life of man, but the day this happens, there will be no more health either. It is possible only if all the limbs of man are changed and replaced by plastic and stainless steel limbs, artificial limbs. Then sickness will disappear, but with it the experience of health will also disappear. The joy of health and well-being cannot be experienced with stainless steel and plastic limbs: health is connected with illness.
Now there are ways to replace the heart; parts of the brain can also be replaced. Soon it will be possible to replace all the parts of the human body which have the possibility of getting sick. Plastic cannot become sick, stainless steel will last for a long time. Instead of bones, there can be stainless steel in your hands. Nerves can be made of plastic and soon we can find a better chemical than blood. The whole body can be made like a machine, then it will not become sick - but the being which is hidden inside will never be able to experience health.
Actually, health is a sort of balance between diseases and disease is nothing but an imbalance of health. Both are together: eliminate one totally and the other will also disappear. But you don’t see it like this. You think that if one is destroyed then the other will remain. This is the paradox of false appearances. So whatsoever appears to you as true, look deeply into it and think of the opposite: more is the possibility that the opposite will be true.
Try to understand it in this way: wherever man experiences happiness, in the end, what comes to his hands is just misery. The mind says that happiness must be where it appears to be, but searching for it, in the end only misery is experienced. Many times in life you have experienced it: wherever there was a promise of happiness, you ran towards it and have found only misery.
The sages have reversed this idea: they have said that wherever there appears to be misery, try to enter into it. When what appears to be happiness leads to misery, then wherever there appears to be misery, if you go into it you will find happiness. It is this scientific process that is called tapa, discipline for purification. “Tapa” means a search for happiness even in misery. The people who are looking for happiness are finding only misery, so the process is reversed. The first process was leading into more illusion and misery so they have changed the direction.
We call a person a bhogi, an indulger, who thinks that he will find happiness if he searches for it in apparent pleasures. And we call a person a yogi, a meditator, who no longer has this illusion, who has reversed the process and is trying to enter into and understand his misery. And the person who enters into his misery will certainly find happiness because people who are searching for happiness have found nothing but misery.
Always remember this basic principle of life: the truths of life are seen upside-down by us because our minds reflect them, just as the reflection of a tree near the lake looks upside-down. So understand this clearly; keep this in your mind before you choose your path in life, before you choose your philosophy of life and living, before you choose your goals in life.