Every time we see death happening, we become aware of our own death. When we cry over somebody’s death, it is not just for that person’s death, but also because it reminds us of our own. Our suffering from pain and sorrow is not only over someone else’s death but also over the apparent possibility of our own. The occurrence of every death is, at the same time, our own death. And so long as we remain surrounded by death, how can we live? Like that, living is impossible. Like that, we cannot know what life is – neither its bliss, nor its beauty, nor its benediction. Like that, we cannot reach the supreme truth of life, the temple of godliness.
The kind of temples which have been created out of the fear of death are not the temples of godliness. The kind of prayers which have been composed out of the fear of death are not prayers to godliness either. Only one who is filled with the bliss of life reaches the temple of godliness. The stairs to the temple of godliness are saturated with the beauty and juices of life, and the bells of the temple of godliness ring only for those who are free from all kinds of fears, for those who have become fearless.
Because we like to live in fear this seems difficult. But this is not possible – only one of the two things can be right. Remember, if life is true then death cannot be true – and if death is true then life will be nothing but a dream, a lie; then life cannot be true. These two things cannot exist simultaneously. But we hold on to both together. There is the feeling that we are alive and there is also the feeling that we are dead.
I have heard about a fakir who lived in a faraway valley. Many people would go to him with questions. Once a man came and asked him to explain something about life and death. The fakir said, “You are welcome to know about life; my doors are open. But if you want to know about death then go somewhere else, because I have never died nor will I ever die. I have no experience of death. If you want to know about death ask those who have died, ask those who are already dead.” Then the fakir laughed and he said, “But how will you ask those who are already dead? And if you ask me to give you the address of a dead person, I cannot do it. Because ever since I have come to know that I cannot die, I have also come to know that no one dies, that no one has ever died.”
But how can we believe this fakir? Every day we see someone dying; every day death happens. Death is the supreme truth; it makes itself apparent by penetrating the center of our being. You may shut your eyes, but no matter how far away it is from you, it still remains apparent. No matter how much we escape from it, run away from it, it still surrounds us. How can you falsify this truth?
Some people do, of course, try to falsify it. Just because of their fear of death people believe in the immortality of the soul – just out of fear. They don’t know; they simply believe. Every morning, sitting in a temple or a mosque, some people repeat, “No one dies; the soul is immortal.” They are wrong in believing that just by repeating this, the soul will become immortal. They are under the impression that death can be falsified by repeating, “The soul is immortal.” Death never becomes false by such reiterations – only by knowing death can it be falsified.