Chapter 9: Let the Dead Bury Their Dead
And it happened. On the nine hundred ninety-ninth day the pond was half-covered and the man said - he was not feeling very well, a little sick - he said, “There is no hurry. I have waited nine hundred ninety-nine days and there was no trouble. Now it is just a question of one more day. After one day I will do it.”
The next morning the whole pond was covered and all the trout were dead.
This is the puzzle of life. It is a dilemma; one has to choose. If you go on accumulating things and possessions, the plant is doubling on the pond. Every day your things go on growing and your life is suffocated. Life looks too long - seventy years, eighty years. There is no hurry. People think, “When we reach to the mid-point we will change.”
People always wait to get old for religion; people go on saying that religion is for old people. Go into the churches, into the temples, and you will find old people - just on the verge of death. One foot is already in the grave: the nine hundred ninety-ninth day. The next morning, life is going to be suffocated. Then they start praying, then they start meditating, then they start thinking of what life is - what is the meaning of existence? But then it is too late.
Religion needs a deep urgency. If you postpone it, you will never be able to become religious. It has to be done right now. As it is you are already late, as it is you have already wasted much time - and wasted it in futile things, wasted it in things that are going to be taken away from you.
For all those things, you have to pay with life. Whatsoever you possess, you lose life for it. It is not cheap; it is very costly. One day you have many possessions, but you are no longer there. Things are there; the owner, dead. Great piles of things.but the one who wanted to live through them is no more.
People go on preparing for life, and they die before their preparation is complete. People prepare and never live. To be religious is to live life, not to prepare for it. You are doing a very absurd thing: your rehearsal goes on and on and the real drama never starts.
I have heard about a small drama company. They were rehearsing. The real drama was getting postponed every day because the rehearsal was never complete. One day the heroine was not there, another day some other actor was not there, one day something else happened - the electricity failed or something - and it went on being postponed. But the manager was happy for at least one thing: that the hero of the drama had always been present, he had never been absent.
The last rehearsal day he thanked the hero. He said, “You are the only person who can be relied upon. All these other people are unreliable. You are the only one who has never been absent. Summer or winter, cold or hot, you have always been here.”