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A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (Part 11)

Life can be understood only if you are ready to go into the unknown. If you cling to the known, you cling to the mind, and the mind is not life. Life is non-mental, non-intellectual, because life is total. Your totality has to be involved in it, you cannot just think about it. Thinking about life is not life. Beware of this 'about-ism'. One goes on thinking about and about: there are people who think about God, there are people who think about life, there are people who think about love. There are people who think about this and that.

Mulla Nasruddin became very old and he went to his doctor. He was looking very weak so the doctor said, 'I can say only one thing. You will have to cut your love life to half.' The Mulla said, 'Okay. Which half? Talking about it or thinking about it?'

That's all-don't become a language professor, don't become a parrot. Parrots are language professors. They live in words, concepts, theories, theologies, and life goes on passing, slipping out of their hands. Then one day suddenly they become afraid of death. When a person is afraid of death, know well that that person has missed life. If he has not missed life there cannot be any fear of death. If a person has lived life, he will be ready to live death also. He will be almost enchanted by the phenomenon of death.

When Socrates was dying he was so enchanted that his disciples could not understand what he was feeling so happy about. One disciple, Credo, asked, 'Why are you looking so happy? We are crying and weeping.'
Socrates said, 'Why should I not be happy? I have known what life is, now I would like to know what death is. I am at the door of a great mystery, and I am thrilled! I am going on a great journey into the unknown. I am simply full of wonder! I cannot wait!' And remember, Socrates was not a religious man; Socrates was not in any way a believer. Somebody asked, 'Are you so certain that the soul will survive after death?' Socrates said, 'I don't know.'

To say, 'I don't know' takes the greatest courage in the world. It is very difficult for the language professors to say, 'I don't know'. It is difficult for the parrots. Socrates was a very sincere and honest man. He said, 'I don't know.'
Then the disciple asked, 'Then why are you feeling so happy? If the soul does not survive, then...?'
Socrates said, 'I have to see. If I survive there can be no fear about it. If I don't survive, how can there be fear? If I don't survive, I don't survive. Then where is the fear? There is nobody there, so fear cannot exist. If I survive, I survive. There is no point in getting afraid about it. But I don't know exactly what is going to happen. That's why I am so full of wonder and ready to go into it. I don't know.'

To me, this is what a religious man should be. A religious man is not a Christian, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist, or a Mohammedan. All these are ways of knowledge. A Christian says, 'I know.' And his knowledge comes from the Christian dogmas. The Hindu says, 'I also know.' And his knowledge comes from the Vedas and the Gitas and his dogmas. And a Hindu is against the Christian, because he says, “If I am right, you cannot be right. If you are right, then I cannot be right.' So there is great argument and there is much dispute and much debate and unnecessary conflict.

A religious man, a really religious man-not the so-called religious people-is one who says 'I don't know.' When you say, 'I don't know' you are open, you are ready to learn. When you say, 'I don't know' you don't have any prejudice this way or that, you don't have any belief, you don't have any knowledge. You have only awareness. You say, 'I am aware and I will see what happens. I will not carry any dogma from the past.'

This is the attitude of a disciple, the attitude of one who wants to learn. And discipline simply means learning. A disciple means a learner, one who is ready to learn, and discipline means learning.

I am not here to teach you any dogmas; I am not imparting any knowledge to you. I am simply helping you to see that which is. Live your life whatsoever the cost. Be ready to gamble with it.

I have heard about a businessman. He was walking from his office to a restaurant for lunch when he was stopped by a stranger, who said to him, 'I don't think that you remember me, but ten years ago I came to this city broke. I asked you for a loan and you gave me twenty dollars because you said you were willing to take a chance to start a man on the road to success.'
The businessman thought for a while and then he said. 'Yes, I remember the incident. Go on with your story.'
'Well,' remarked the stranger, 'are you still willing to gamble?'

Life asks you the same question again and again and again: 'Are you still willing to gamble?' It is never certain.

 

Osho, The Art of Dying, Talk #1

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