But the building has no consciousness. Man has. And in fact who knows whether the building has consciousness or not? It is possible; it may be so. There are thousands of levels of consciousness. Man’s consciousness is of one particular kind, it is not necessary for all things to have the same kind of consciousness. A building may have consciousness of a different kind, stone may have of yet another kind, plants another. It is possible that they, too, live in their own “I.” When a gardener is watering a plant, maybe the plant is not thinking, “The gardener is giving me life,” but rather, “I am showing favor to this gardener by accepting his service. Through my grace I accept his services.” Nobody has ever approached the plant to inquire about its desire to be born.
It is absolutely absurd to call it my birth when it is caused without my desire. Where is the meaning in claiming as my birth, that about which I am never consulted before my birth? When death comes, it does not ask our permission. Death will not ask us, “What do you want? Are you coming with me or not?” No, when it comes, it comes of its own accord, just as birth comes without our knowing about it. Death comes without knocking, without our permission, without instruction, without forewarning, and stands quietly before us; and it gives us no alternatives, no choice. It hesitates not even a second, whatever we may wish. It is sheer idiocy to claim as my death that for which I have no desire or willingness in the least.
That birth is not my birth in which there is no choice on my part. The death to which my willingness is irrelevant, is not my death. So how can the life which lies between these two ends be my life? How can the span between be mine, when both its inevitable ends – without which I cannot exist – are not mine? It is a deception – one which we go on strengthening, forgetting birth and death completely. But if we consult a psychologist in this matter, he will say, “You forget them purposely, because they are such sorrowful memories.” When my birth is not mine, how poor and miserable I become. When my death is not mine, everything is snatched away from me; nothing is saved. My hands remain empty. Only the ashes remain.
We build a long bridge of life between these two ends, like a bridge spanning a river; but neither of the river banks is ours. Nor are the bridge’s supports at either end ours. So think a little: How can the bridge spreading from one bank to the other across that river be ours whose foundation is not ours? Hence we strive to forget our birth and death – our foundations.
Man forgets many things intentionally. He tries not to remember, because remembering may smash all his ego and bring it all crashing down. “Then what will be mine?” So we refrain from thinking of birth and death, and this makes possible the great misconception that all we find in life is ours. But if we let ourselves explore and examine what we find, we discover with certainty that it is not ours.
You say, “I have fallen in love with somebody,” without considering whether that love affair was your decision or not. Listen to what lovers say: “We do not know when it happened. We did not make it happen.” Then how can that be ours which happened of its own accord? If it happens, it happens. If it does not happen, it does not.