Chapter 9: Let the Dead Bury Their Dead
Shocked, this man must have been standing there almost as if he himself was dead. Thinking must have stopped. In such a shock you cannot afford thinking. If the shock is really total, even tears cannot flow. For tears to flow, the shock has to be not total. If the shock is total, one is simply shocked. Nothing moves: time stops, the world disappears, thoughts drop. One is dazed, one just looks with empty eyes - hollow. One simply looks, not looking at anything. Have you seen that type of look sometimes in madmen’s eyes, or sometimes immediately after somebody has died who was very intimate?
Jesus must have watched: this man was ready. Let me tell you, unless you have experienced death, you are not ready. Life is very superficial; it is just on the periphery, just on the surface. Death is deep - it is as deep as God - so only from death is the conversion possible. Only in the moment of death do you change, your outlook changes, your attitudes change, the old world becomes irrelevant. Buddha was transformed by seeing a dead man.. Jesus must have looked - And he said unto another, “Follow me.” Only one who has known death can follow Jesus.
If you have known death, only then can you follow me. If you have known suffering and the cleansing that comes out of suffering, if you have known pain and the shock that is a by-product of pain, then and only then can you be with me. Otherwise sooner or later you disperse because life goes on calling you back; there are a thousand and one things yet to be fulfilled. You will continually be going backwards.
Only when death cuts the bridge, breaks all the ties with life, is there a possibility that you will turn - turn your back to the world and you will face God. That’s why, in one sentence, Jesus says two things which on the surface look very irrelevant: “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”
This man is not even a disciple - he is a stranger standing by the side of the road - and Jesus says, “Go and preach the kingdom of God.” This is my observation also: that the best way to learn a thing is to teach it.
The best way to learn a thing is to teach it, I repeat it, because when you start teaching, you are learning. When you are simply learning you are too self-centered and that very self-centering becomes a barrier.
When you start teaching you are not self-centered: you look at the other, you look at the need of the other. You watch and observe his problem. You are completely aloof, detached - a witness. And whenever you can become a witness, godliness starts flowing from you. There is only one way to learn great things and that is to teach them. That’s why I go on saying to you that if you have shared my being in any way, go and spread, go and teach, go and help other people to meditate, and you will suddenly be surprised one day: the greatest meditation will happen to you when you are helping somebody to go into meditation.
While meditating, things will happen. While you yourself are meditating many things will happen, but the greatest will happen only when you are able to teach meditation to somebody else. In that moment you become completely detached - in that detachment, you are completely silent. You are so filled with compassion - that’s why you are helping the other - that something immediately happens to you. Jesus said, “.but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”