There is a difference, yet there is no opposition. The child’s innocence is really poor, because it is almost synonymous with ignorance. The old man, ripe in age, who has passed through all the experiences of darkness and light, of love and hate, of joy and misery, who has been matured through life in different situations, has come to a point where he is no more a participant in any experience. Misery comes…he watches. Happiness comes and he watches. He has become a watcher on the hill. Everything passes down in the dark valleys, but he remains on the sunlit peak of the mountain, simply watching in utter silence.
The innocence of old age is rich. It is rich from experience; it is rich from failures, from successes; it is rich from right actions, from wrong actions; it is rich from all the failures, from all the successes; it is rich multidimensionally. Its innocence cannot be synonymous with ignorance. Its innocence can only be synonymous with wisdom.
Both are innocent, the child and the old man. But their innocences have a qualitative change, a qualitative difference. The child is innocent because he has not entered yet into the dark night of the soul; the old man is innocent – he has come out of the tunnel. One is entering into the tunnel; the other is getting out of the tunnel. One is going to suffer much; one has already suffered enough. One cannot avoid the hell that is ahead of him; the other has left the hell behind him.
Devageet, your question is the question of almost every human being. Knowingly or unknowingly, there is a trembling in the heart that you are becoming old, that after old age the deluge – after old age, death. And for centuries you have been made so much afraid of death that the very idea has become deep-rooted in your unconscious; it has gone deep in your blood, in your bones, in your marrow. The very word frightens you – not that you know what death is, but just because of thousands of years of conditioning that death is the end of your life, you are afraid.
I want you to be absolutely aware that death is not the end. In existence, nothing begins and nothing ends. Just look all around…the evening is not the end, nor is the morning the beginning. The morning is moving towards the evening and the evening is moving towards the morning. Everything is simply moving into different forms.
There is no beginning and there is no end.
Why should it be otherwise with man? – man is not an exception. In this idea of being exceptional, in being more special than the other animals and the trees and the birds, man has created his own hell, his paranoia. The idea that we are exceptional beings, we are human beings, has created a rift between you and existence. That rift causes all your fears and your misery, causes unnecessary anguish and angst in you.
And all your so-called leaders, whether religious or political or social, have emphasized the rift; they have widened it. There has not been a single effort in the whole history of man to bridge the rift, to bring man back to the earth, to bring man back with the animals and with the birds and with the trees, and to declare an absolute unity with existence.