Chapter 12: That Beyondness Is You
You have only seen other people dying; have you ever seen yourself dying? And when you see somebody else dying, you are an outsider, not a participant in the experience. The experience is happening inside the person. All that you know is that he is no longer breathing, that his body has become cold, that his heart is no longer beating. But do you think all these things put together are equivalent to life? Is life only breathing? Is life only the heartbeat, the blood circulating and keeping the body warm? If this is life, it is not worth the game. If only my breathing is my life, what is the point of going on breathing?
Life must be something more. To be of any value life must have something of eternity in it; it must be something beyond death. And you can know it, because it exists within you. Life exists within you - death is only an experience of others, outside observers.
It is simply like love. Can you understand love by seeing a person being loving to someone? What will you see? They are hugging each other, but is hugging love? You may see they are holding hands together, but is holding hands love? From the outside, what else can you discover about love? Anything that you discover will be absolutely futile. These are expressions of love, but not love itself. Love is something one knows only when one is in it.
One of the greatest poet’s of India, Rabindranath Tagore, was very much embarrassed by an old man who was his grandfather’s friend. The old man often used to come because he lived in the neighborhood, and he would never leave the house without creating trouble for Rabindranath. He would certainly knock on his doors, and ask, “How is your poetry going? Do you really know God? Do you really know love? Tell me, do you know all these things that you talk about in your poetry? Or are you just articulate with words? Any idiot can talk about love, about God, about the soul, but I don’t see in your eyes that you have experienced anything.”
And Rabindranath could not answer him. In fact he was right. The old man would meet him in the marketplace and hold him and ask him, “What about your God, have you found him? Or are you still writing poetry about him? Remember, talking about God, is not knowing God.”
He was a very embarrassing person. In poets’ gatherings, where Rabindranath was very much respected - he was a Nobel prize winner - that old man was bound to reach. On the stage, before all the poets and worshipers of Rabindranath, he would hold him by his collar and would say, “Still it has not happened. Why are you deceiving these idiots? They are smaller idiots, you are a bigger idiot; they are not known outside the land, you are known all over the world - but that does not mean that you know God.”
Rabindranath has written in his diary: “I was so much harassed by him, and he had such penetrating eyes that it was impossible to tell a lie to him. His very presence was such that either you had to say the truth, or you had to remain silent.”