Chapter 14: Gurus and Etceteranandas
The first question:
Can you say something about death and the art of dying?
The first thing to be known about death is that death is a lie. Death exists not; it is one of the most illusory things. Death is the shadow of another lie - the name of that other lie is the ego. Death is the shadow of the ego; because the ego is, death appears to be there.
The secret of knowing death, of understanding death, is not in death itself. You will have to go deeper into the existence of the ego. You will have to look, watch, observe, be aware of what this ego is. And the day you have found that there is no ego, that there has never been - it appeared only because you were not aware, it appeared only because you were keeping your own existence in darkness - the day it is understood that the ego is a creation of an unconscious mind, the ego disappears and simultaneously death disappears.
The real you is eternal. Life is neither born nor dies. The ocean continues, waves come and go - but what are waves? Just forms, the wind playing with the ocean. Waves have no substantial existence. So are we, waves, playthings.
But if we look deep down into the wave there is an ocean, and the eternal depth of it and the unfathomable mystery of it. Look deep down into your own being and you will find the ocean. And that ocean is; the ocean always is. You cannot say, “It was,” you cannot say, “It will be.” You can only use one tense for it, the present tense: it is.
This is the whole search of religion. The search is to find that which truly is. We have accepted things which really are not, and the greatest and the most central of them is the ego. And of course it casts a big shadow - that shadow is death.
Those who try to understand death directly will never be able to penetrate into the mystery of it. They will be fighting with darkness. Darkness is non-existential, you cannot fight with it. Bring light, and the darkness is no more.
How can we know the ego? Bring a little more awareness to your existence. Each act has to be done less automatically than you have been doing up to now, and you have the key. If you are walking, don’t walk like a robot. Don’t go on walking as you have always walked, don’t do it mechanically. Bring a little awareness to it, slow down, let each step be taken in full consciousness.
Buddha used to say to his disciples that when you raise your left foot, deep down say “Left.” When you raise your right foot, deep down say “Right.” First say it, so that you can become acquainted with this new process. Then slowly, slowly let the words disappear; just remember “Left, right, left, right.”