You have recently said that most of humanity is vegetating, not living. Please explain to us the art of living so that death may become also a celebration.
Man is born to achieve life, but it all depends on him. He can miss it. He can go on breathing, he can go on eating, he can go on growing old, he can go on moving towards the grave – but this is not life. This is gradual death from the cradle to the grave, a seventy-year-long gradual death. And because millions of people around you are dying in this gradual, slow death, you also start imitating them. Children learn everything from those who are around them, and we are surrounded by the dead.
So first we have to understand what I mean by life. It must not be simply growing old. It has to be growing up. And these are two different things. Growing old, any animal is capable of. Growing up is the prerogative of human beings. Only a few claim the right.
Growing up means moving every moment deeper into the principle of life, it means going farther away from death, not towards death. The deeper you go into life, the more you understand the immortality within you. You are going away from death; a moment comes when you can see that death is nothing but changing clothes, or changing houses, changing forms. Nothing dies, nothing can die; death is the greatest illusion there is.
For growing up, just watch a tree. As the tree grows up, its roots are growing down, deeper. There is a balance: the higher the tree goes, the deeper the roots will go. You cannot have a tree one hundred and fifty feet high with small roots; they could not support such a huge tree. In life, growing up means growing deep within yourself – that’s where your roots are.
To me, the first principle of life is meditation.
Everything else comes second. And childhood is the best time. As you grow older, it means you are coming closer to death, and it becomes more and more difficult to go into meditation. Meditation means going into your immortality, going into your eternity, going into your godliness. And the child is the most qualified person because he is still unburdened by knowledge, unburdened by religion, unburdened by education, unburdened by all kinds of rubbish. He is innocent.