Chapter 9: God Is Dead: Godliness Is
The first question:
Can you tell me, if you know, what is best for me? If you can, what is?
The best thing is never to be born, but that you have already missed. The second best thing is to die as soon as possible; that’s a little bit difficult. I don’t mean the physical death; that is not difficult. To commit suicide is the easiest thing in the world, the most cowardly. It needs no guts. But to commit psychological suicide needs great courage - to be and yet not to be, to drop the ego.
Yes, there are a few people who even manage to do the first. Lao Tzu must have been one of those few people who were born and yet not born, who came into the world utterly egoless. Hence the story that Lao Tzu lived in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years. Until he became ripe, until he became capable of existing in the world without the ego, he resisted the temptation to come out of the womb. He allowed himself, permitted himself, to be born only when there was no possibility of any ego arising. What Buddha attained under the bodhi tree, Lao Tzu must have attained in the mother’s womb.
Yes, there is a way to be aware even in the mother’s womb. Then a person is born, but is born without the ego; Jesus must have come that way. A few have managed the second too: the second means to go on dying to all the yesterdays.
The ego is nothing but the cumulative effect of all the yesterdays. If you can die to all the yesterdays, even to the moment that has passed and is no more, you remain without the ego. You are there in utter radiance, in great splendor, but there is no idea of “I.” A pure amness, just fragrance of being, but no center.then one exists in godliness and godliness exists in one.
The second is also very difficult. One needs to be so utterly alert that the moment the moment passes by, one has slipped out of it. One does not go on lingering with the past, one does not go on clinging to the memories. There is no nostalgia, no looking back. It does not mean looking ahead, because looking ahead is another way of looking back. It does not mean beginning a life in the future, projecting a life into the future, because the future is nothing but a reflection of the past. What you can desire in the future is bound to be nothing but a repetition of the past. Modified, refined, more sophisticated, more polished, but still the same. But there cannot be any qualitative difference; maybe some quantitative differences are there. The future is nothing but the projection of the past.