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Chapter 5: Dissolving the Five Afflictions

Flowing through life is the fear of death, the clinging to life, and it is dormant in all, even the learned.

The sources of the five afflictions can be abolished by resolving them backwards to their origin.

The outward expressions of the five afflictions disappear through meditation.

Life seems to be an endless chain of miseries. From birth to death one suffers and suffers; still one wants to live. One continues to cling to life.

Albert Camus has said somewhere, and very rightly, “The only metaphysical problem is suicide.” Why don’t you commit suicide? If life is such a misery, such a hopeless affair, why don’t you commit suicide? Why be at all? Why not not be? Deep down, this is the real philosophical problem. But nobody wants to die. Even people who commit suicide, commit suicide in hope that by committing suicide they will get to a better life, but clinging to life remains. Even with death, they are hoping.

I have heard about one Greek philosopher who taught his disciples nothing else but suicide. Of course, nobody ever followed him. People listened; he was a very articulate man. Even while listening to him about suicide - it looked beautiful, worth listening to - nobody followed him. He himself lived to the very ripe age of ninety. He himself didn’t commit suicide. While on his death-bed, somebody asked, “You taught continuously about suicide. Why have you yourself not committed it?” The old, dying philosopher opened his eyes and said, “I had to be here just to teach people.”

Clinging to life is very deep. Patanjali calls it abhinivesh, lust for life. Why is it there if there is so much misery? People come to me, and with deep anguish they talk about their miseries, but they don’t seem to be ready to leave life. Even with all its miseries, life seems to be worthwhile. From where does this hope come? - it is a paradox and has to be understood.

In fact, you cling to life more if you are miserable. The more miserable you are, the more you cling. A man who is happy does not cling to life. This will look paradoxical on the outer surface, but if you penetrate deeply, you will understand what is the matter. People who are suffering are always hopeful, optimistic. They always hope that something is going to happen tomorrow. People who have lived in deep misery and hell have created heaven, the idea, the paradise. It is always tomorrow; it never comes. It is always there, hanging like a bait in front of you somewhere in the future.

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