Chapter 16: Only This Is
You have no experience that you are anything other than the body; your only experience is that you are the body. Yes, you may believe that you are the soul and that you will not die, but that is only your belief - and a belief that is very deceptive and a belief that is part of ignorance.
Every man likes to believe that he will not die. Nobody wants to die. Take note of this simple thing - that nobody wants to die. And whosoever does not want to die knows for certain that he will have to die; that is the reason why the feeling arises in the first place that he does not want to die.
The knower wants to die, the ignorant does not want to die. The knower wants to die because he knows that nothing dies at death. A knower wants to enter death because he knows that on entering death he will have the purest experience of deathlessness.
Where the opposite is present, the experiencing becomes easier. You draw a white line on a blackboard: it shines more clearly. When there are dark clouds and the lightning flashes, it is seen more clearly. Let it flash in white clouds during the day and you may not even see it.
A knower wants to enter death - insistently, blissfully and celebratingly - so that that white line of deathlessness that is hidden within can flash clearly against the backdrop of the dark clouds of death that come to surround it, and for the experience to become very clear that death happens always around one and never within one. The ignorant man fears going into death, because he is convinced that death means an end of everything, that nothing will remain.
Now this is a very interesting thing: an ignorant person believes that the soul is immortal so that he may not be annihilated completely. This belief is not because of his knowing but because of his fear. This is the reason a young man does not believe very much in matters of the soul, etcetera. But as he grows older he begins to believe more and more, because as death comes nearer the fear grows bigger. A person lying on his deathbed normally becomes religious. Whosoever remains irreligious even on his deathbed is a man of some courage. Even the greatest atheist becomes a little shaky at the time of death as he realizes that he does not know what reality is, and then comes the fear of death, of entering into that darkness. Out of fear he falls back to all the old beliefs and doctrines.
You also believe that the soul is immortal, although you know that you are nothing more than a body. But what is this soul you are saying is immortal when you have no experience of it? You say that it is immortal, yet it is something about which you have no experience whatsoever. Your fear becomes your doctrine.
The more fearful people are, the more they become believers in the soul. This is why this phenomenon is seen only in India, that the whole country believes in the soul and yet everybody is afraid of moving into darkness. They believe strongly in the existence of a soul. Their whole being trembles for fear of death and yet they have a firm belief in the existence of the soul.