Chapter 5: Life and Death
Awareness of the self, awareness of the difference between being born and living life, must come from the heart rather than from the intellect. Birth is simply the beginning; it is not the be-all, not the end-all. And the man who mistakes birth for life will automatically accept death as the culmination point of life as well. This is an illusion, just a natural outgrowth of having accepted the initial misconception. And those who misunderstand birth will also be afraid of death.
What we know as life is really a living death. The man who is not aware that he is separate from his body is not alive in the real sense of the word. The man who does not know that he existed before the birth of his body and will exist after its death is not alive at all. The phenomenon of life is an unbroken one, yet such a man will not even be able to experience fully the life that is his between this birth and this death.
Birth is an external event; life is inner. Birth is the world; life is God. Birth is only the gateway to life. But unless a man makes an effort to realize this, birth, for him, becomes the gateway to death and nothing more. Death is just a development of birth.
Only consciousness and awareness lead to life. This is what sadhana is; this is what the journey to self-realization is. This is what religion is.
I look at old people and I look at young people. From the standpoint of birth and death there is a difference between them, but as far as life is concerned there is none whatsoever. Life is outside the realm of time. Birth and death occur within time and the advancement of age happens within time, but they are not developments of life itself. Age and life are two totally different things.
To attain to life it is necessary to move outside time. Do you know what time is? Time is change. In the material world nothing is static. Not one single atom in the physical world is stable. Only the self is stable. There is something in the self that is beyond change. And the existence of the self is also beyond time. Entering into this unchanging existence is awakening to life.
Search for life. If you don’t, death will claim you. Every moment it comes nearer and nearer. After birth, each moment brings you closer to death’s victory. And no matter what you do, unless you decide to live a real life, this victory is already decided. Property, power, fame - all these count for nothing in the wake of death’s triumph. The realization of the existence of the self is the only thing that is outside death, because the self alone exists outside time. Living in the realm of time is rushing towards death.
I see everyone running towards the jaws of death. Stop and think about the direction you are moving in. Someone dies every day, and yet each of you still remains a disinterested spectator. If you were aware of the truth you would recognize your own death in his. The same thing is going to happen to you. Really, it is already happening. What you have mistaken for life is actually a gradual death. But the process of dying is so slow that you do not recognize it until you are face-to-face with it.