Chapter 7: See Yourself in Others
The religious man, the mystic, tries to explore the mystery of death. In exploring the mystery of death, he inevitably comes to know what life is, what love is. Those are not his goals. His goal is to penetrate death, because there seems to be nothing more mysterious than death. Love has some mystery because of death, and life also has some mystery because of death.
If death disappears there will be no mystery in life. That’s why a dead thing has no mystery in it, a corpse has no mystery in it, because it cannot die anymore. You think it has no mystery because life has disappeared? No, it has no mystery because now it cannot die anymore. Death has disappeared, and with death automatically life disappears. Life is only one of the ways of death’s expression.
The corpse has no mystery because, with the disappearance of death, love is gone. Just one moment before there was great mystery; now there is nothing. You can only go and bury the dead or burn the dead. The full stop has come. The process has stopped. It is death that keeps the process going on. It is death that keeps you aware of something mysterious, miraculous, magical.
Religion is founded in the search into death, and to understand death is to understand all. To experience death is to experience all, because in the experience of death, you not only experience life at its highest, love at its deepest; in experiencing death you enter into the divine. Death is the door to the divine. Death is the name of the door of God’s temple. The meditator dies voluntarily.
There are two kinds of death. One is the ordinary death; everybody dies it. That is not the mystic’s death. The ordinary death happens against you; you go into it very reluctantly. You don’t want to go into it, you cling to life. You don’t become available to it, you don’t become open to it. Hence you go on missing the point.
Many times you have died, but each time you died so much obsessed with life that you could not see what death is. Your eyes were focused on life, you were clinging to life. You were snatched away, and the only way to snatch you away is to make you unconscious.
When the surgeon is going to operate on you he makes you unconscious, he gives you anesthesia. That’s what death has been doing for centuries, from eternity. If you can’t go joyously, dancingly into it, there is a built-in anesthesia: people become unconscious before they die. That’s why you don’t remember your past lives, because you became so deeply unconscious before you died that the chapter became closed.
If a person can die conscious, alert, he will remember his past life. That’s how India discovered that there is not only one life; millions of times you have lived. You are not new, you are very ancient pilgrims. But each time you died reluctantly, unconsciously; hence you forgot everything.