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Chapter 16: Of Voluntary Death

Remember it as a criterion: Whoever condemns life is crippled; has not developed a heart, has no roots; no flowers blossom in his being, and he cannot accept it that he is at fault. His revenge against life becomes renunciation. All the religions have been teaching, “Renounce life.” Who are these people who teach, “Renounce life?” They are the people who are not capable of living life, who don’t know the art of life.

.and some die too early.

Zarathustra does not mean that they actually die, he means that they go on living a posthumous life: they die at thirty and they are buried at seventy. For all those forty years, nothing happens in their life: it is utterly empty, a desert, where nothing grows and nothing is green. Not even a stream runs through their life with its songs, with its sounds. They are absolutely barren. Nothing is created by them, they don’t mother anything - a painting, poetry, music or dance.

This is posthumous life. They died at thirty. The day you stop loving, the day you stop creating, the day you stop growing - in a metaphysical sense, you are dead. In a physical sense you may go on breathing, but your breathing cannot be synonymous with life. It is only vegetation: cabbages and cauliflowers, and the world is so full of cabbages and cauliflowers.

Zarathustra says:

Still the doctrine sounds strange; “Die at the right time.”

One who has lived rightly, intensely and totally, is bound to die at the right time. His death is nothing but a ripening, a harvest. His death is nothing but a fulfillment.

He lived so much, he loved so much, he used all his energy in being creative, he enjoyed so much, that a point comes where he wants to rest. His cup of life is full. There is no need to go on lingering on the earth. He has come to the place where he was destined to come.

Die at the right time can be understood only by those who live, and live totally, without any inhibitions, naturally; not according to dead scriptures, but according to the living sources of their own being. They certainly reach a tremendous ecstasy of fulfillment; their death is a completion - the circle has become complete. Their death has brought them back to another birth.

Unless you die at the right time, you will never experience the beauty of death. It will remain only a prejudice, an opinion, what you have heard people say about it. But you don’t have your own personal experience.

Die at the right time: thus Zarathustra teaches.

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