Chapter 8: Not Knowing Life Is Death
Infinite time has passed since this incident took place. The matter is still pending in God’s files; he has still not been able to bring darkness before the sun. He never can, and this matter is never going to be resolved. How can you bring darkness before the sun? Darkness has no positive existence of its own at all. Darkness is merely the absence of light. How can the absence of the sun be brought into the presence of the sun? No, darkness can never be brought before the sun. It is even difficult to bring darkness before a little lamp, let alone the sun, which is so vast. It is difficult for darkness to penetrate the radius of light around a lamp; it is difficult for darkness to have an encounter with a lamp. How can darkness be where there is light? How can death be where there is life? Either there is no life at all, or else there is no death. Both cannot be true together.
We are alive, but we don’t know what life is. And this ignorance makes us believe in the certainty of death. Ignorance is death. The ignorance of life itself becomes the phenomenon of death. If, God willing, we could come to know the life that is within, a single ray of that knowing would destroy forever this ignorance that one can die, or that one has died at some time in the past, or that one will die at some time in the future. We don’t know the light that we are, and we become scared of the darkness that we are not. We fail to become acquainted with the light that is our vital energy, our life, our existence, and we are frightened of the darkness that we are not.
Man is not mortal, he is immortal. The whole of life is immortal, but we never look at the immortality. We never search in the direction of life; we don’t even take one step toward it. And since we remain unfamiliar with life, we seem frightened of death. So the question is not one of life and death, the question is only of life.
I have been asked to speak on life and death, but this is impossible. The question is only of life, there is nothing like death at all. When one knows what life is, only then does life exist, but when life remains unknown there is only death. As a problem, life and death do not both exist simultaneously. Either we know we are life, then there is no death - or we do not know we are life, and in that case death alone is, there is no life. They don’t both exist together - they can’t. But we are all afraid of death.
The fear itself shows we are unfamiliar with death. The fear of death has only one meaning, unfamiliarity with life. And the fact is, life is flowing within us every moment. It is flowing in every breath, in every particle, all around, within and without - and yet it is unknown to us? This can mean only one thing - that man is in a deep sleep. Only in sleep is it possible a man could remain unfamiliar with who he is. It boils down to the fact that man is deeply unconscious. It can only mean that the whole vital energy of man is not conscious, not awake.
When a man is asleep he doesn’t know who he is, what he is, where he is from - everything is lost in the darkness of sleep. He does not even know whether he exists or not. He becomes aware of his sleep only after waking up; only then does he come to know that he has been asleep. In sleep a man doesn’t know that he is asleep. When he was not asleep he knew he was about to sleep. And as long as he was awake he knew he was still awake and, therefore, not asleep. But as soon as he falls asleep he doesn’t know that he is asleep, because if he were to notice that he was asleep then that would mean he was still awake, and not asleep. When a man is no longer asleep, only then does he know he was asleep before. In sleep one doesn’t know whether one really is or not.