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Chapter 16: Of Voluntary Death

That’s why lovers never feel afraid of death.

If a lover feels afraid of death, that indicates he has not known love. The meditators never feel afraid of death. If the meditator feels afraid of death it means he has not gone deep into meditation.

There is only one depth that has to be touched, whether through love or through meditation or through creativity. The depth is that you are no longer your physical body, and you are no longer your mental body either - just a pure awareness, a pure sky without any clouds, unbounded. Even a simple glimpse into it and death becomes a glorious experience. Zarathustra has a few very important things to say about it.

Many die too late and some die too early. Still the doctrine sounds strange: “Die at the right time.”

When he is saying, many die too late, he means they go on living meaninglessly, without any joy, without any song. Nothing blossoms in their life. It seems that they have simply forgotten how to die. They go on living, although life has no juice for them, no excitement, no ecstasy. But they are not brave enough to let the body drop.

They live unnecessarily. They live like a burden on the earth. They live like parasites, uncreative, and not only uncreative but destructive, because they cannot live, they don’t know how to live. They are very jealous of those who are still singing, still dancing, still loving. They condemn all those who are living.

The people who die too late are the condemners. They become saints, they become priests, they become holy, not because they are holy but because they are unable to live, and they don’t know how to die: they are in a limbo. And they have to find some excuse. And their excuse becomes a condemnation of the whole world.

It is known about a Greek philosopher, Zeno, that he used to teach people that life is useless, meaningless, futile: the only intelligent thing a man can do is to commit suicide.

Hundreds of his disciples committed suicide. He lived a long life himself; he died when he was over ninety. Somebody asked before he died, “How come your whole life you have been preaching to people that the only intelligent thing is to commit suicide? Why have you lived so long?”

Zeno said, “I had to; otherwise, who would have told people that life is useless, meaningless. It was a torture to me, but still I went on living, just to save people from this meaningless, futile existence.” Great excuse! For himself to live, he finds an excuse.

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