Chapter 41: I Call It Meditation
Then there is no need for having a small body with consciousness encaged in it. Then you can live as pure consciousness, part of the whole. You will sing in the birds and you will blossom in the flowers and you will descend in the rain. You will be the earth and you will be the sky and you will be the stars, and you will be all.
Once that understanding arises in you, you have attained to freedom - freedom from the cage which you have been changing for millions of years. For the first time, you are on your wings in the open sky.
All three religions born in India - Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism - differ on everything except on one thing. They have been arguing on every point, and the exceptional point is the agreement that life is eternal; there is no judgment day, and this small life is nothing but just a small link in a long procession.
Hence, in the East, there has not been a fear of death. And when there is no fear of death a very strange phenomenon happens: you start living totally - because death is half of your being.
If you are afraid of death, you cannot live totally. Your life will always be under the shadow of death; it can come any moment, and you are helpless, nothing can be done about it. It comes without giving you any advance notice, it comes as a guest.
I am using the word guest because that is the word used by the ancient scriptures in the East; but in Sanskrit, which is the original language, the mother language of all the languages of advanced countries, the equivalent to guest is atithi. Its meaning is, “one who comes without telling you the date in advance.” Tithi means date, atithi means “one who suddenly comes without even telling you the date.”
The guest has not that quality - particularly the modern guest, who informs you ahead of time to see whether you will be available or not. And then, too, he comes and stays in a hotel. In the East it is inconceivable that your guest should stay in a hotel. It is simply uncivilized.
To use the word atithi for death is immensely significant. You cannot do anything about it; you know it only when it has happened. And only those who are very fortunate have known it when it has happened; most people, out of fear, become unconscious. Nature has a built-in system. There is a limit to tolerance; beyond that you will fall unconscious, you cannot tolerate it.
The surgeon knows perfectly well that if you are doing surgery the person cannot be left conscious; the pain is going to be unbearable. Hence anesthesia has to be given, or chloroform, or something so that the person becomes unconscious, then you can do whatever you want to do with his body for hours - cut his limbs, remove his kidneys, any cancerous growth. Sometimes an operation may take six hours. If the man were alert and awake and conscious you may succeed in the operation, but the man would die; it is intolerable. Hence nature has made it an in-built process, that the moment anything becomes intolerable you fall into unconsciousness.