I am at a loss in how to understand myself? And I have a tremendous fear of death.
Who doesn’t have a fear of death? Everyone thinks that it is always somebody else who is dying. And there is a point in this logic because we never see ourselves dying, it is always others that we see dying. We take others’ bodies to the crematorium, and later have a bath in the river and happily come back home, wondering: “Could it be that I am an exception?”
The cemetery is always built outside a town. It should be built exactly in the middle of the town so that everyone can clearly see that someone or other is dying every day and the queue that he himself has been standing in is shortening fast – his own turn is close at hand. But we build the cemetery outside the town: a person has died, now forget it, let it go! When someone dies and a funeral procession is passing by, we pull our children inside the house so that they don’t come to know about death. But this kind of deception won’t do. He who is born will have to die. Whatever has one pole is bound to have the other pole as well.
If you feel afraid of death, then try to know life. There is no other way. Fear of death is proof of the fact that so far you haven’t experienced life. I have heard that many people only come to realize this upon their death: “My God! I have been alive all this time!” Life simply passes away in worthless activities.
Devote at least an hour every day to yourself – to the search for your life. For at least an hour sit down in peace, in silence. Forget that you are a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a Jaina, a Christian. Forget that you are a woman, a man; forget that you are a child, an old man – just forget the whole world.
Slowly an experience of the eternal starts arising from within you. The Hindu in you dies – he will have to. The man in you dies, the woman in you dies, the child in you dies, the young man in you dies, the Mohammedan in you dies…. Separate yourself for an hour every day from all those things that die, and try to search within yourself: that is there anything else other than these things? And thousands of people, without exception, have experienced that there is a spring of eternal life within you all. The day you taste even a drop of it, your fear of death will disappear.
This fear of death is a good thing. It keeps you awake. If there were no fear of death in man, there would be no possibility at all of men like Buddha and Mahavira being born in the world. This is the kindness of death toward you, that it does not let you rest. Once in a while it reminds you that one day you will have to die. Now old age starts taking over – and what else but death is there in the next stage? And before death knocks on your door, try to make some acquaintance with that which is deathless.