"There is no death;
it is only a temporary absence of life from this body;
the body is dead, not life."
According to our tradition of Yogic Sadhana, death is something
from which we return. That is why it is said in Yogic literature
that we have died so many times, innumerable times, uncountable
number of times and we haven’t yet learnt how to die. I mean it’s
a logic that the American will understand, that if you have to
go on doing something again and again, it means you haven’t mastered
In Hinduism, we have this idea that the moment a child is born,
it has begun to die. I mean, it’s a fact. It is not going to die
60 years later or 100 years later. It has already begun to die.
It is like when you wind up a clock, it has already begun to unwind
itself. So, when is death? It is the moment you are born. Effectively
this is death. Birth is death. Of course it may take time. That
is all it takes. There is nothing else. It may take 60 years;
it may take three days; it may take 17 years; it may take 124
years. But death is over. The moment you are born, you are literally
dead. But, we think this is life. Now, per contra, the moment
I am dead, my life has begun. So, that we are afraid of, this
we are happy about. How foolish it is. So you see, the topsy-turvyness
of the world.
To me death is nothing but the unutilisable part of time; it
is taken away from us; like when you are put in prison for some
wrong deed, you are not able to use space or time. What is imprisonment
except removing your freedom to do anything? Of course, if you
are like Shri Aurobindo or I don’t know, some of these great saints
who were imprisoned, you can still meditate there and liberate
yourself! But you have to be that before you go to prison. I think
that is how these great saints are born in this world as our Gurus,
as our Guides, as our Masters. Because they are able to come here,
imprison themselves voluntarily and help the other prisoners to
escape, may be not physically, but in every other possible way.
Therefore the prisoner remains a prisoner but he is no longer
that which he came in, no more a criminal, no more a murderer.
He doesn’t have to be imprisoned any more but the law takes its
The soul and its journey
All of us are constantly travelling from somewhere to somewhere
else. The journey has necessarily to be undertaken in a vehicle
of some sort and the vehicle must have a surface prepared for
it to ride on. And of course we go to a place which we have to
reach – the destination. Therefore, we have the way upon which
we must travel, the vehicle in which we travel, and the destination
to which we are travelling. If perchance, the vehicle breaks down
on the way, the intelligent traveller gets out of the now useless
vehicle and takes another vehicle. This change of vehicle will
be necessary as many times as the vehicle becomes unserviceable,
so long as the destination has not been reached. Once the destination
has been reached, vehicles are no more necessary. Once the destination
has been reached, the way too becomes a thing of the past. So
the important thing which we must ever keep before us is the goal,
the destination. The way and the vehicle are but the means to
our arriving at our pre-determined destination.
In its travel back to its Original Home, as my Master has called
it, the soul is the traveller. The way is the life that it adopts
on its way home. The vehicle is the body in which it travels through
life. Looked at in this way, we see that there is nothing to be
afraid of in rebirth. Rebirth is nothing but the soul changing
from one useless vehicle to another useful one, so that it can
keep moving on and on upon its journey back to its Original Home.
It is therefore, something of a misnomer to even call it as rebirth.
What is being reborn? Is it the soul? No! Because as we see, the
soul exists and continues to exist. Is it the body which is reborn?
No! Because it is a new body that is created out of the elements
for the use of the soul. Then what is it that is reborn, if anything?
I can only say that the whole concept of rebirth is nothing but
the change of vehicle necessary for the advancement of the soul
to the Goal.
What is the way? Obviously the way has to be the right one,
as otherwise we cannot reach the Goal at all. The importance of
the way exists only so long as we are yet away from the destination.
Once we have reached home, then we shall have no more to worry
about the way, its condition, nor even its existence. For
the soul, the way to its destination is life itself.
Life, therefore, has to be properly led, if one is to go on to
the Goal. Also, once we have arrived home, the very concept of
life would appear to have no further meaning as life, (at least
as we understand it) becomes redundant. So one has to hold on
to life only until the goal is reached. So, for one who has arrived
at his goal it would be as foolish and unnecessary to hold on
to life as it would be to hold on to the vehicle. So the body
has to be given up, and more importantly, the very idea of life
has to go.
What happens to the soul? It exists in its Original Home. One
cannot, in my opinion, attribute life to the soul – when we look
at the matter in this way. The soul exists eternally, but it takes
upon itself a life for itself when it has become separated from
its Original Home, and then a body too becomes necessary. Looked
at in this way, life and life in the body would appear to be one
and the same thing. Once the soul has reached its Home, the concept
of life itself becomes meaningless.
The body is given by the past samskaras. Once we have been born,
there is no chance in that life to change it. It is fixed. The
vehicle has been assigned. Change of the vehicle becomes possible
only when the vehicle becomes unserviceable through old age or
disease, when the soul in its wisdom and in its anxiety to reach
Home, discards the worn-out vehicle and adopts another one. This
is what we see as death and rebirth. So, for one life we can have
only one body, and wisdom dictates that it should be carefully
preserved, so that it may serve its one and only purpose – that
of transporting the soul to its Home.
The body is nothing but the vehicle for life. Life itself, as
we understand it, is nothing but the way that the soul adopts
to enable it to reach its goal. The Master is the one who makes
the life meaningful and purposeful. Once this is understood, fear
of life, as well as the falsity of all attractions that distract
becomes apparent and one becomes capable of abandoning all but
the idea of the goal.
What makes you come back is samskara
When we are in a train we want to get out; first we have rushed
to get in, then we are waiting to get out. Same thing in a plane,
same thing in anything. You get into a boat to cross the Hoogly,
you are waiting to get out on the other side. So all the time
we are getting in and out, getting in and out, getting in and
out, crossing railways, crossing bridges, crossing rivers. And
our whole existence is a journey through life. We have got in
at birth, we have to get out at death.
When we die, how are we getting out that vehicle which we have
called life here on earth? Am I going to be happier out from the
train or am I going to stand like a bewildered man from a kheth,
who does not know where he is, why he is there, what is he going
to do there and he stands in bewilderment you see. What am I here
for? Where am I? Why am I here? Because if you have not taken
the pains to create an environment, which will be familiar to
you after death, we are going to be bewildered and like a dog
which is locked out of the house because it is troublesome you
know. That dog runs round and round the house, yelping, barking,
scratching at doors, we too will be yelping, barking and running
round and round trying to get back into this life which we are
familiar. No Mukti.
We are all very funnily oriented in that we think what is vital
to our existence is money, power, position, prestige – things
like that. But what happens when a man dies? You know in the Hindu
tradition, when we put a corpse on the final funeral pyre even
the clothes are removed. You must go out of this world as you
came into it; no clothes. ‘I came naked – I go naked.’ It also
applies to the wisdom that you have garnered in this world by
education. The soul does not carry wisdom with it. It also applies
to your nationalities. You can not carry your passport and say,
‘I am an American Citizen. I have free entry into Heaven.’ There
are no visas, there are no passports. So what are we carrying?
Our samskaras; the impressions that our thoughts and our actions
have made upon us which we have to carry life after life and which
come to fruition in the next existence.
Now I would like to suggest something, which, in India is much
misunderstood – the idea of rebirth. People seem to imagine that
rebirth is some sort of a punishment by God, that God sits in
the Heaven and says, “You have sinned, go back.” I don’t think
we can have a God who is punishing or rewarding, because He loves
His creation. He, like a human parent, loves His children. Do
you punish your children? You correct, but God does not even correct.
In His infinite liberality, He has given us complete charge of
ourselves. He says, “Go, live and come back.” And what do we do?
We form the samskaras. And rebirth is nothing but the
Bhoga of those samskaras. Nobody else is to blame but
That is why each life is only so long and it is variable between
a few days and perhaps eighty years, because we are taking the
time that we need. Again this is not something which God has forecast
or foreordained. We say “This much I can bear.” You know you wake
up in the morning and you can live in the waking stage for so
long and not more. After that you have to sleep. A sleep is nothing
but a regeneration of the day’s efforts, the energy that I have
consumed in living my waking life, which I recuperate when I go
So death is a pause from this life to enable me to recoup and
to live the next life more fruitfully, more evolutionarily and
continue to move up. It is like when we are walking up a hill,
we go a few kilometres then take a little rest – ten minutes,
recoup our lung capacity, our circulation and take the next few
kilometres again. Can you say I am dead, when I stop on my walk,
up the hill? I am only pausing so that I can gather together my
physical resources and take the next stage. And so we climb mountains.
But if you are foolish and you try to do everything, all at one
stage, well, you could burst your lungs or pull some muscles and
then have to be carried back down, not up. This, all mountaineers
know. People who climb hills have known ‘Use your capacities step
by step in graded limits so that you don’t exhaust yourself.’
Now if you live life in such a way that we are exhausting our
resources with foolish indulgences and wasteful energy consumption,
whether physical or even biological, we are doomed. You see the
next stage becomes something which we have to defer. And then
we may have to live in the “Limbo” condition, for as long as it
takes to recuperate, to come here again. It is a punishment we
put upon ourselves by our own foolish way of living. There is
no God who punishes. So to think of Heaven as God’s reward and
Hell as God’s punishment, then death as something which is miserable,
is stupid. You know people in the west say, “Oh, if all I am going
to do is to die, why should I live?” It is like saying, “If all
that I have to do at the end of the day is to go to sleep, why
I should be awake? Or if all that I am going to do is to work,
why should I go on a holiday?” A holiday is a pause between two
work periods. Sleep is a pause between two waking periods. Death
is a pause between two lives – not even a pause between two lives,
it is a pause in the life stream. Like sleep is a pause in the
waking stream, death is a pause in the life stream itself which
we take because we are exhausted, the soul has to, sort of, write
its diary of life, go over it and say, “Well, this and this and
this. I have now to do if I am to continue on my upward path.”
To die is to come back
In the Bible I read, “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.”
I used to wonder, you see, why God says vengeance is his? Because
we have no right to have vengeance, He can punish and re-create.
He can kill and give life again to what he has destroyed. But
we can only destroy, we cannot fulfill. If I say, “Arise Thomas.”
That Thomas will not arise.
So one in whom this capacity to give life again exists, for him
there is no life and death, for him there is no killing, because
he does not kill. He changes in some way, by transforming that
life which was apparently alive into that which is only an apparent
death, so that he can re-create something out of that raw material.
This is what death does to all of us. Death is an opportunity
to renew life in a more positive, more productive, more evolutionary
way. Death is not a final, shall we say, full stop to
this life as the Occidental people are generally afraid. They
think, “What after death, I cease to exist!” Nihilism, you see.
If I am not here what is this life for? But who said you are not
going to be here? It is like every day is a new opportunity, every
life is a new opportunity.
So one who is fed up with this life, who has frustrated himself
by not utilizing the opportunities given to him properly, must
sooner expect death. And say, “God, put an end to this life so
that I may have the new beginning quicker. Why wait sixty years
more in this foolishness, in this stupidity, in this crass ignorance.
Terminate my life, my Lord, so that I may begin new, quickly.”
But we are wishing for a longer and longer life; what for? See,
the only man who has a reasonable right or justification to want
to live longer is one who can himself grow and help others to
Babuji Maharaj used to tell me there are only two types of long-lived
persons, the sinner and the saint. The sinner because he is condemned
to a long life by virtue of his samskaras, of which he has to
undergo the bhoga. And the saint because he has to be
here to help those who are thus condemned. It is like a jailer
in a jail. He is longer in the jail than any of his prisoners.
If he is serving fifty years, he is fifty years in the jail. Others
may come, one for two days, one for two months, one for two years,
but he is in the jail longest. For the rest, there’s an old proverb
that “Those whom the gods love, die young.”
Rebirth is not a punishment but a chance
Spirituality says, think of your life also as a vehicle
between birth and death. It is a transit through the physical
world, which must be treated as a school so that in this time
that is allotted to you, or which you have chosen for yourself
in the past, you are able to learn the lesson that upon reaching
your destination, you don’t have to come back again. It is not
death. It is the completion of my journey. Now it would be silly
to say when I reach Silkeborg, I am one quarter dead; Sikanderborg,
I am half dead; Arthus, I am fully dead. Don’t you think so? But
this is what people are afraid of. They are afraid of death. Why?
Because we are living life wrongly. Like a boy who has never studied
for his exams. He is terrified of his exams, he gets nightmares.
He does not want to go to school. He does not want to appear for
his examinations. He prays that he may have fever or become sick
so that he need not go. But nature will not oblige so easily.
So when that boy fails and comes back to his same class the next
year, can you say the school punished him? Or his teachers punished
him? Or the system punished him? He was not fit for the next level,
so he is retained at this level.
This law applies to our life too. Rebirth is nothing but my having
to come back to learn lessons which I did not learn when I had
the chance. So I come back and say, “Please, one more year. I
have to learn this lesson because without doing it I cannot go
forward.” So please remember, rebirth is not a fate, it is not
a punishment. Please remember that rebirth is not a punishment
given by God. In rebirth each one has an opportunity for a fresh
life, to again start this journey, find one’s way and reach one’s
goal. It is a fresh opportunity that nature gives us again and
again and again and again.
So you see, nature gives us, without limit, eternally– chance
after chance after chance, which we call rebirth and death, and
not understanding, in our foolishness, in our fear of death, that
this is like a new day, a new page in a book, to write upon, and
create for ourselves a new future. I am surprised that people
are afraid of death, when it is life they should be afraid of.
What is there to be afraid of in death? Every fool dies. Every
millionaire dies. Every king has died. Avatars have died. Who
has not died? That which is the common and only heritage of all
human beings – can it be fearful? Can it be something of which
we should be afraid? Is it not only a door into the next life
which beckons and says, “Forget this room full of horrors. Come
into this room, where it is all beatitude, plenitude, love.” So
you see, it is life we should be afraid of.
If we want to become like Him, it is never too late! Because
Nature says, “Not only this life, I give you many lives hereafter.”
Because it is Nature’s generosity, God’s greatness, mercy, that
He gives chance after chance for us to evolve. He does not say
“Stop”. You know in some religions, this life is the final life.
And what do we do after this life? We are in some sort of a limbo
awaiting the day of judgement. I consider it the most merciless
conception of God that He can give me one life, expect me to perform
and then judge me for it, millions of years hereafter – nobody
knows when! Because that is their siddhantha, that after death,
somewhere my soul will exist; and then one day, the day of judgement
will come; all the souls will be called; some will be sent to
heaven, some will be sent to hell. What a merciless God! What
a cruel God!
Creation on the other hand gives us infinite chance. “All right,
this life you have failed? Try again! That also you are failing?
Try again!” “But Babuji, what about another Master for me?” “Why?
Again and again I will come to help you.” “Yada yadahi Dharmasya
Glanirbhavati Bharata”. Not only does He give you a chance
but He gives Himself a chance too that you shall not be left helpless.
“I shall come to you again and again. What can be more noble,
more generous, more great than such a concept of Divinity who
is not enslaving you but giving you a chance again and again like
when you fail in school in one class you are allowed to go to
that class again and sit and pass the examinations. Can you say
‘it is cruel? My teachers are cruel.’ No teacher is cruel! You
have been cruel to yourself; you have not studied when you had
the opportunity; you have failed when you should have passed!
To make you capable we are giving you another chance to study
again to pass, so that you can be fit for the next stage.
So please do not think of death as a punishment or as something
from which we cannot rise or as something to be afraid of! On
the contrary any man who thinks he cannot make it in this life
should pray for a good next life: “At least give me the next life
which can be good, so that I can achieve God.” Because when we
are afraid we run away from it. As Babuji said, “We are running
away from God because of our fear.” We are talking of the love
of God but we are afraid of God. It is like saying “My mother
loves me. I am running away from her.” Is it possible?
Today I would form a new slogan – “Die before you start doing.”
And in what sense is this ‘dying’? I die to myself, myself from
this existence, in the sense that the ‘I’ is gone. If I am able
to die the moment I come into the spiritual existence that is,
on my becoming a twice-born or Dwija, by having rebirth
of this spiritual existence, then it means that the twice-born
ceases to exist at the moment of its birth. That is, if you die
before you begin to do, everything is done for you.
Alternative to growth is death
The more we grow up, the more we become responsible,
the more we have to be responsible for. For ourselves first, and
for so many other things later – for our children, for society,
for our cars, for our houses. So you see, either we grow – and
the fact of growth means accepting more and more responsibility;
accepting more and more restraints on how we can behave, how we
can act. So the fact of growth means the fact of change. It means
the fact of having to face new things every morning. Why every
morning? Every moment of our existence. Things are eternally changing.
You sit on the beach, and there is a new wave every second.
And you know that old famous story, the story of stupid King
Canute, who had a lot of sycophants. And they said, “You are the
greatest emperor on earth.” He said, “Oh, is it so? I want to
prove it.” They said, “Majesty, tell the ocean to stop the waves.”
He said, “Stop.” There are certain things not even the greatest
ever human being can stop. You cannot stop the oceans moving.
You cannot stop the stars on their course. You cannot stop the
sun from rising and setting. You cannot change the laws of growth.
And then, if you think, as some people do, that we have a choice
of not growing, remember, the only alternative is death.
That which does not grow, dies. Whether it’s a plant, whether
it’s a microbe, whether it’s a human being, whether it’s a culture,
whether it’s a nation, even the whole world, you see. Because
in Nature, there can be no static position. And you say, “Well,
we are happy as we are, please leave us as we are.” Nature will
not tolerate static conditions.
What you need when you want to climb the spiritual mountain is
a great deal of courage that you must reach the top, even if you
are going to die in the process. Those who are not willing to
die in the process will hardly ever make it. But it is a strange
thing that one who is willing to die rarely dies, and one who
wants to avoid death is risking death every second. So we must
Today it is dark, tomorrow is going to be light again, dawn again,
a new glorious day again, when my whole outlook on life is going
to be changed all over again. And I would feel the biggest fool
if next morning I didn’t exist to feel these things.
That is one reason why suicide is a crime. Not a social crime
or a legal crime, but a moral crime. Because when you terminate
your life by an act of annihilation aimed at yourself, you are
violating the first principle of nature, that everything changes,
almost continuously. And, by virtue of having put a stop to your
existence, you have put a stop to the possibility of change. It
is anti-evolutionary. Therefore no man, no woman, and no child
has a right over its own life, much less over the life of another
person. Therefore, moral law says, “Thou shalt not kill.” If you
have no right over your own existence, your own life, because
Nature in its infinite mercy opens infinite possibilities every
moment of your existence, how can you put a stop to those potentialities
developing in me? And if I cannot do that to myself, how dare
I do it to another?
When things cease to change, a stage sets in, which can be justifiably
called death. Looked at, in this way, death can be said
to be a cessation of the process of change. That is,
death is the cessation of growth.
Fear of death
You know the only fear is the fear of death. There is
no other fear. A man is afraid of being sick, it is because he
is afraid of dying as a result of that sickness. The fear of death
is the base of all fears. If there is no fear of death, there
can be no other fear. Please take it as an assurance. You are
afraid of a lion. Why? Because you are afraid of being killed
by a lion. You are afraid of a terrorist in Punjab. Why? Because
you are afraid of being shot. You are afraid of the American with
their powerful atomic and nuclear bombs. Why? Because we are afraid
of being bombed out of existence. Then if you say, “For heaven’s
sake, you can destroy this my friend, but not this,” then what
are we afraid of? Lion is hungry; “Well, eat me. I am eternal
you know. All that you can get is my flesh and blood.”
Any fear in any situation is essentially the fear of death. And
if that is removed, there should be no other fear. A person who
has no fear of death cannot be afraid of anything else. What else
is there to be afraid of? If fear of death is removed, there can
be no other fear. Fearlessness can come at one stroke by removing
one single fear which is the breeding ground of all other fears.
Now this inner courage, the truth of existence, the what and
the why and the how of existence, if we are able to understand,
then this (bodily) “me” is like a raincoat I am wearing. The Bhagavad
Gita says it again and again, you see, that the soul changes it’s
body in its evolutionary course through eternity, like a man takes
off his shirt and throws it away. Now suppose we were to weep
and beat our breasts in the classical traditional way every time
I have to change my dress, wouldn’t you consider it stupid, foolish?
And when the soul in its wisdom, it occupies a body for its experience
of this world, having had this experience, says, “Well it is enough,
I don’t need this anymore,” and we throw it off, you see. Please
be assured that nobody dies without his inner self saying “enough.”
It is like a tourist who comes to India with 21 days plan, but
after 18 days, he feels that he has enough of this country and
he bids goodbye to India, you see. What is there to weep about?
He has had enough, he has seen enough, he says, “Well, this I
have seen. How much more I have yet to see?”
A market man goes to the public bazaar and he has to sell. He
plans on a three day tour, but he has sold his quota in one day.
If he is honest, he walks back to headquarters – unless he wants
to cheat his boss and make money for the rest of the two days.
So the soul in its wisdom says, “I have finished, I hope. Let
me take up the next step of my evolution”. But the bodily ego
says, “Please. I am, you see, this which has supported you, which
has allowed you to inhabit itself. How can you throw it off so
summarily, which has scant justice to its existence? I refuse
I finish my existence in one body. Its purpose is finished. It
can be useful to me no more. It has now become a bondage, a prison.
I escape out of it. I get out of it by a voluntary act. Though
we don’t know it in our lower consciousness, it is always a voluntary
act. And we choose another body if we have still to continue on
this terrestrial existence, so that we may continue to evolve
further. It is like class after class after class in schools and
colleges. It is like grade after grade after grade of promotion
in the army. When l am promoted from the first class to the second
class in school, I don’t think I’m dead. I don’t weep that I cannot
be with the teacher of the first class any more. I don’t get attached
to the bench on which I was sitting in that classroom. I am happy
to be out of it.
The soul too is happy when we die. When any human being dies,
if you watch the face of the person after death, you will find
the utmost peace and tranquility on the face of that body, which
you never see during his lifetime. This is a fact. It is the truth.
People must have the courage to look at dead bodies. And this
drama of dressing up the dead body, colouring it, rouging it,
shaving it, presenting it like a gentleman or a gentlewoman, is
crazy. Even in death, we are cheating life. A dead body is no
less beautiful than a newly born baby. If you have the eyes to
see, if you can see that utter peace, that utter relaxation, you
know, there is a yogasana called the shavasana in the
Patanjali yoga system of Hatha yoga. Shavasana means
the asana of the corpse, the dead body. And it teaches us to lie
as still and as relaxed, as utterly relaxed as a dead body. And
if you are able to do it for 10 or 15 minutes, you don’t need
pills, you don’t need doctors, you don’t need psychotherapists,
you don’t need anything. But it is so difficult, because in a
sense it is like dying while you are still alive. Which is what
Babuji says of the spiritual condition, ‘the living dead.’
Now there is one thing that people are afraid of death, precisely
because we think we are born, and that’s a happy occasion; and
when we are dead, it’s a miserable occasion. But the whole thing
is because I think I am alive only when I am in the body. I am
happy with my birth and sad about my death. Now, how can an eternal
being or one blessed with eternity of existence, think like this?
Therefore, you see, the attachment to the body is what creates
this idea of birth and death, and makes us afraid throughout life
about that which will happen someday, as nothing more than ‘I’
escaping out of this shell into the liberty which I have to achieve.
We want liberation on one side, that is why we are all here; on
the other side, we are afraid of death. These are two contradictory
ideas in ourselves. And since they are there in us, both together,
it is not surprising that we are not progressing as fast as we
Spiritual aspirants who are growing all the time should have
lost this idea of the fear of death long ago. Death doesn’t exist
you see. If I take off my shirt and put it in the wash basket
it doesn’t mean it is dead, nor does it mean that I am dead. Both
are still there, the only thing is they are not together. The
shirt is somewhere, I am still somewhere. So when I am dead, my
body is somewhere, I am still somewhere. What is there to worry
about? What is there to be afraid about? So you see, the idea
of the fear of death is a limiting factor. It still means that
we are seeking liberation, being afraid of that same liberation.
Fear of death is the fear of liberation. This
is something we must all understand very positively. As long as
we are afraid to die, we will not be liberated, but we will continue
to be imprisoned within that cycle of birth and death of which
we are so afraid. That means one who is afraid of death will have
to die again and again and again until he loses his fear of it.
“That which never was, shall never be,” says the ancient Upanishad.
And “That which is today, must have been, and will ever exist,”
because nothing new is coming into this universe. It is there
as He created it. The soul is eternal. It is part of the divine
essence, the ultimate, the infinite, the Godhead. It can no more
cease to exist than God can cease to exist. God is not born, He
does not die. Therefore, I am not born, I cannot die. All that
I see and experience of birth and death are my problems imposed
upon myself by my observing people being born and people being
dead. Therefore I think I was born and I am going to die. The
truth is that my body came into existence and will cease to be.
I am eternal.
So you see, this is the teaching of spirituality. And I repeat,
if we are meditating properly, there is an absolute mastery of
death that waits for us. One who is the master of something cannot
be afraid of that which he is master of. He is the master. Death
becomes a subordinate, an instrument. So we use death as something
which we need to get out of a certain situation. Therefore the
soul can manifest itself again if it chooses, if it has work to
do. Again using death to liberate itself from that momentary manifestation
in an environment which it must clean and remodel. Thus masters
come into existence at their will, born when they wish, leaving
when they wish, neither the slaves of birth, nor the slaves of
death, but masters of both.
Now if that is the condition of death, or the state of death,
or the state that we shall achieve when the body is dropped off,
why should we be afraid of it? It is because we are holding on
to two things. One, the conventional idea and the fear of death,
very human; and the other, the spiritual condition of eternity;
the condition of the perception of immortality. And we never try
to reconcile these two in our minds. I don’t think we ever give
a moment’s thought to this. That if this is what is going to happen
to me when I leave this body, if this is the state of being that
I am going to have and to be in, what am I afraid of?
If we can think of death in the right way, we should say to ourselves,
“We have wasted our life, let us not waste our death.”
This should be our last thought you see. Because what I could
not achieve in life, I can surely achieve in death again, if I
know what I’m doing. Therefore at the moment of death, it is necessary
to be at least able to be conscious of our purpose and to die.
Like when you sleep, if you make a determination that you shall
wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning, you do wake up at 5 o’clock.
Why? Because there is this mind over matter business. Something
wakes me up. It cannot fail.
So in spirituality we say, death is there only when we have not
decided to go on beyond death but to come back because of our
fears, because of our attachments. So please understand very carefully
that if you have been able to clean yourself of all your samskaras,
and through meditation create a greater and greater illumination
in yourself, through the divine presence that is eternally there,
there is no death for us. We leave the body behind, like you get
out of the taxi, you get out of the train, you get out of the
airplane and go home. So fear has to go.
Death is inevitable
You know the story of Parikshit who was killed by Vasuki,
the snake. He was given a curse, and to save himself when the
time came, it is said he built a palace in the ocean, very far
away where no snake could possibly come. But Mrityu (death)
cannot be stopped and a saint’s curse cannot possibly be erased
or eradicated by anybody else except him. And this huge, enormous,
world-encircling Vasuki became a tiny worn and went into a lemon
and entered his palace. There it took its ‘swaroopa’
[true form] and confronted Parikshit and Parikshit bowed humbly
and said, “Yes, I welcome you.” Mrityu cannot be escaped.
Why should we be afraid of it? As I have been telling in the West,
a life must mean a life in what we call life, and a life in what
we call death. Death is the night’s half of life. Why are we afraid
There is no one on earth who has ever been able to defeat death.
Not the greatest king, not the greatest saint, not the greatest
Gods. Rama died, Krishna died, all these people died you see.
Forget Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Vivekananda. It is said that
Lord Ramachandra of Ramayana died by walking into the river Sarayu.
What happened to Lord Krishna? Not so much misery. He enjoyed
himself, you see. He was always happy, always smiling. And finally
an arrow of an archer hit Him on the right big toe and He was
dispatched. So when they have not been able to avoid death, what
are you going to avoid?
All these talks of Mruthunjaya Homa (sacrifice performed
to conquer death) and all, it is stupid nonsense, you see. How
many Mruthunjaya Homas have not been done in the past
and in the present? You must remember that beautiful story of
the Buddha. When a woman went to him with a dead child in her
hands and said, “Lord, nobody is able to give this child, my precious
child, life. They say you can do it. So I have come to you. Please
do it.” Immense faith, you see. They say faith moves mountains.
But it cannot give life. Now Buddha could very well have said,
“You stupid woman, who can give life to a dead body?” He didn’t
do it. He wanted to teach her a lesson in the only way it can
be taught. He said, “My darling, my dear mother, my child,” everything
you see, “I appreciate, I sympathize, I weep with you for your
loss. I shall restore this child on one condition. You must beg
and bring for me a handful of til (sesame seeds) from a house
in which death has never occurred.” The woman is happy, you see.
“Here at last is a man, a yogi, who says I will give life to your
child.” She forgot the rest. She says joyously, “Lord, I leave
this child at your feet. I will beg and come back soon.” House
by house she begs. Everybody is willing to give, why a handful,
a bagful of til. Those were the days of generosity you
see, not the miserable materiality of today, where we cannot pay
a five paise to a beggar and we pay seven lakhs in income tax.
Nobody could do it.
Everybody said, “Yes, here is the til.”
“Has there been a death in your house?”
“What can I say my dear. My mousi (aunt) died day before yesterday.” In another
house, “My husband died last week.”
In yet another house, “My grandmother died.”
Ultimately she realises death is a universal phenomenon.
Nobody can avoid it. She comes back to the Lord, falls at his
feet and becomes his disciple. That is the way of overcoming death.
The point of the story, I think most of our people have missed
for the last three thousand years that
the only way of overcoming death is
to fall at the feet of Master and say,
“Master! Take me. Before death takes me, you take me.”
So if there is one way of avoiding death, which is
the same thing as acquiring immortality, you see, it is to go
to the Master, fall at His feet, seek His Blessings. This is what
my Master taught me.
Death, the great leveller
“Death, the great leveller,” they say. And we often refer
to the fact that king or pauper, man or woman, saint or sinner,
the end of the human life is the same for all. In that sense we
say death is the great leveller. But for me it seems to point
to the fact that the levelling is after death. Some people have
asked me questions, “How is this possible that we can begin life
with equal opportunity? Does it not go against this business of
samskara in Sahaj Marg?” It’s a valid question, but it also shows
that we don’t understand Sahaj Marg very well yet, for several
The first reason is Babuji’s definition of death
itself, that when we become unable to bear the loads and the burdens
of this life, Nature brings a pause in the existence; in the worldly
existence; temporal existence and gives us relief, so that the
Self can recoup its energies once again; review its life; work
off as much samskara as possible, and start afresh.
Now why do we start afresh? Precisely because
in that interregnum between this end and that beginning, it has
not been possible to work off all the samskaras. There is some
remnant, some residue. So, we come again. So, death is really
a holiday from life. And Babuji has used this beautiful analogy,
that even the prisoners in the dungeons are let out for one or
two hours every day to go up in the sunshine in the courtyards,
to have fresh air, to have some exercise, so that they can face
the next period of incarceration in the dungeon.
Therefore death is not a punishment, neither
is death an end. Some Occidental writers on the subject treat
death with contempt, with fear. And many people have been educated
into thinking that death is to be avoided, even by committing
suicide, which is ridiculous. You cannot avoid death by
dying. You can only avoid death by living properly. Because
again and again I have these references in the books that I read,
of all classes, whether it be science fiction, whether it be philosophy,
poetry, this misery about death, “Why am I born if I am only to
die?” I ask you, “What else should I be born for?” It’s like saying,
“Why do I get onto this TGV if I only have to get out of it again?”
It would be as silly, you see. A journey does not mean that you
go on and on forever. Life goes on, but not journeys.
So again and again we come back to this idea
that when we think of life only in the body as the true life,
and that after the body drops off we have no existence, we are
going into some sort of limbo, some sort of dirty thing, we make
the mistake ourselves. So whatever may be the residual samskara
that we bring to this life, it is absolutely a fact that at the
beginning we all have the same opportunity that any one of us
I repeat, there is no doubt that opportunity
at the beginning is the same. I find this thought reflected for
instance in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. You may or
may not believe in it, but it is an old system, and a superb system,
where again this thought is reflected. That at the moment of death,
everything is possible. Babuji has said, “At the moment of death,
it is possible to take the soul from here and put it there, to
liberate it.” The trouble begins thereafter. So the need to die
in the right way.
Now when we are afraid of death, and we say, “I don’t
want to die at all,” how can we accept this idea that we have
to die correctly? Die rightly? Constant remembrance is very much
a feature of this dying rightly. Because if you are ever in His
memory, remembering Him all the time, and our end comes in this
life with the thought of the Master in our mind, He comes, takes
us away. That is liberation. That is, the moment of death becomes
the moment of liberation.
At every moment of this transition between this death
and that life, liberation continues to be possible. Liberation
was possible absolutely at the moment of death. Possibilities,
according to the Tibetan tradition, continue through death. It
continues into the next life. What is holding us back? According
to them, our fears and temptations. According to Sahaj Marg our
samskaras. So what is the difference? There is no difference.
All traditions which are not religious per se speak of the same
possibility. Religion talks of death, burial, judgement, possible
redemption. The non-religious, I won’t say they are irreligious,
but those philosophies which transcend religion always speak of
the possibility of escape. Not an escape in the idea of escape
like a sinner running away from something, or a prisoner breaking
out of jail, but escaping from our own self, the lower self. This
possibility is absolute, it is eternal. It has never stopped at
any moment in time. It has never been withheld from anybody. This
is the absolute justice, mercy, compassion, love of the Almighty.
In this we have to have faith.
This being so, how can our opportunities differ at
birth? They did not differ at death. Because anybody dying with
this thought of the Ultimate, with the thought of his goal in
mind, reaches that goal – anybody! To ensure that we have the
right thought at the moment of oblivion, is all this problem that
we are facing – meditation, constant remembrance, developing love
for the Master. So that if we have established it as a continuing
truth in our existence, it cannot depart from us at the moment
of death. We shall die with this thought, with this condition.
And therefore there is no more question of being reborn, and of
not being liberated. Hinduism says, even if you are not able to
do this, if at the end of your life, at that moment you are able
to think of God in His absolute form, which is a formless, attributeless,
nameless existence, then too, this is possible.
Death shouldn’t bring us sorrow
Our mental turmoil, and our feeling of anguish are because
of the feeling that we are in this body in which we are now. We
create the separateness. Now what can we do about that? You know,
the thing which most upset me in the beginning of my life with
Master, was that there were always abhyasis dying or sick, something
like that, and it never visibly seemed to bother him. I used to
think he was a heartless person. People would come weeping, even
from his own locality, from his own village, and saying so and
so died only two hours ago. He would only put on a long face and
say, “It is very sad,” nothing more than that. Now, I used to
think, that on one side he has a heart which loves everything
in the universe, but you never see a tear in the eyes of that
old man. What is this contradiction? Then, I learnt the secret
of it in meditation, you see. For him there is no death. We die,
but for him there is no death. For whom is he to weep? It would
be crazy to weep for somebody who is not dead. So, that is the
mystery, you see.
We have to learn slowly, little by little, and then
when our turn comes, we become like that and people accuse us
of being heartless. So you have to wait until they learn the lesson,
you see. A funny thing happened: you know, my father died; all
my life I have been afraid of the time, when he will die. Because
my mother died when I was five years old or five and a half years
old and he was our support. All our life he brought us up, he
trained us, he educated us and for me, it was a frightening thing
to think of a time where I would have to live without him. Now,
on the day he was going to die, I had a dream in the morning:
I received a letter from him; on the front is my address, naturally.
Now, I have a habit of turning the envelope round to see who it
is from, though generally I know from the handwriting. When I
turned it round, I found my father had written, “I may never see
you again.” This was at four o’clock in the morning and at twelve
o’clock he passed away in Bangalore, I was in Madras and we of
course had to go immediately to Bangalore, we all went there.
Now, I have always been afraid of dead bodies, or staying
in a place where there is a dead body. It was some old primeval
fear. But when I went there, and the body was there, laid out,
I didn’t even feel that it was my father or that he was dead.
Nothing! We reached Bangalore at six in the evening. Now, normally
I would not be able to sleep in that house. But I went to bed
at nine and slept until six in the morning. It is most unusual.
Normally I don’t sleep so much. And next morning, the body was
there, people were coming for condolence and I was sitting in
a chair like this, perfectly happy. Now the question is, where
was that fear of death which I had been nursing for sixty years?
It disappeared. And for me it was a great revelation, you see,
because it meant the Master is still working. So, these are things
which we learn by experience, not by being taught. In fact, some
people may have thought, “This son, he is sitting there, like
a philosopher... Should there not be some emotion when the father
dies?” But really, it should not be there because, where has he
gone? He is still very much somewhere. Isn’t it?
Now, suppose your son decides to migrate to Australia,
he leaves you and maybe you don’t see him for fifty years again.
But we are not sorry about it. In death, what is the separation?
It’s the same thing. So, we make this artificial difference, this
one is dead, this one is not dead. So that again it is a question
of our human consciousness making us suffer or enjoy.
You know there is a funny thing. In most societies,
we are happy when a child is born, and we weep when somebody dies.
But there is one society where the opposite is done. They weep
when a child is born, and celebrate when a man dies. That is a
sensible attitude. A soul which was free, in bliss, and which
had liberty, is suddenly imprisoned in a stupid human body here.
Is it not a matter for grief? So they weep. And death is a liberation
from this prison – they celebrate it. I think it’s a very healthy
attitude. Don’t you think so? It doesn’t matter which society
or where! But the fact is there!
You see, if I say somebody made a million dollars by
doing this business, you don’t ask who. You say, “How can I do
it quickly, tell me!” Here also we should do the same thing. Actually
most of our grief, and most of our enjoyment, is conventional.
The heart rarely participates. I think there must have been a
time in the human evolution, when, without the cooperation of
the heart, the tear glands would not work, but now we have mastered
the art of shedding tears without the heart participating. I sincerely
believe, you know, that to feel grief when somebody dies, you
must have been extraordinarily related to that person.
Every one of us here has attended birthday parties,
and also funerals. We are so comfortable with a birthday party,
but few people feel easy, or at ease, when going for a funeral,
or for a condolence. They are thinking of what to say, how to
say it! Is it right to smile? Should I shake hands or not? Why
all these inhibitions? Because we are going to play a part, and
we want to make sure we play it well. I mean it’s total hypocrisy,
all this business of condolences and funerals. In birthday parties
there is no part to play, you see. Happiness is so easy to emulate.
That is why there is this old saying in English, “Laugh, and the
world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.” It is not easy
to feel grief! We must go beyond it. We must develop spiritually,
and then see the changes in ourselves.
It is how you die that matters
We are afraid of graves and graveyards, forgetting that my bed
is going to be my grave; in it I am going to die. You know that
story of the man who was ferried across a river by a girl. He
was a wise man, supposed to be a wise man among wise men. He asked
the girl, “Are you not frightened of this ferry business?” She
said, “My lord, I have to earn my living. This is how I do it.”
“Yes, but my dear, it is so dangerous. What happens when the wind
blows and the river gets rough?” She says, “It can be dangerous,
yes.” “How did your father die?” “He died in a storm.” “And your
grandfather?” “He died in a storm, too. We have all died in storms
in this river.” So the wise man says, “Are you not afraid then,
of ferrying this boat across the river?” She says, “Father, forgive
me. How did your father die?” “Oh, he died at home peacefully
in bed.” “And your grandfather?” “He too died peacefully at home
in bed.” And she said, “Are you not afraid of sleeping in your
bed at home?”
So you see, we should be afraid of our beds, because
that is where most of us are going to die. We should be afraid
of our homes, but on the contrary, a good man in a good hospital
under good attendants says, “Please take me home. I want to die
at home.” What on earth for? It is not where you die which matters,
it is how you die which matters. How you die does not mean by
sickness or ill health, or heart attack or accident. The way in
which my Self leaves this lower self, gets out of its cage which
is a prison for it, and says “Today I am free.” Is that freedom
real, or ephemeral, imaginary. If it is real, it is liberation.
If it is not, it is a momentary freedom, like Babuji has described
a prisoner being let out, even from the dungeon for one hour a
day, up into the sunlight for exercise, and after the one hour
is over he goes back. For the bulk of humanity, death is such
an escape; a moment of exercise in the sunlight of His benign
presence, where we are told, “Think over what you did, which has
brought about your incarceration here.” If he is wise he will
think over it, he will repent, he will be free. If he is arrogant
and says, “Theek hai! [all right] Twenty years here or
there, what does it matter?” he goes back in and he stays in.
So it is how we die that matters,
not where we die. Kings die in their palaces,
beggars die in their, I don’t know, hovels. The sick die in hospitals,
the miserable die in their misery. They all go to the same destination.
Now, many people imagine that there are more – there’s a bigger
population in hell than in heaven, but Babuji told me it is wrong.
There are fewer souls in hell, than in heavens.
He told me a story of a long queue at the doors of
Heaven, at the gates of Heaven, waiting there for days, millions
of people lined up. Each one has to come and report to the receptionist,
have his identity checked, and sent in to Heaven. Suddenly a vehicle
draws up and there is a big flurry, you see, telephones operating
everywhere, bells clanging, the gates opening. They are led in
through a wicket gate one by one, normally. But the gates of Heaven
are opened, and a car comes from inside. Bugles, fanfare, and
this fellow is driven up, he is put into the car and driven there,
when all these people are waiting for weeks, months. One fellow
there, you know, must have been a Communist while on earth. Eventually
when he reaches the sannidhanam of Heaven, the grand
audience chamber of God, he says, “My Lord, I have to make a complaint.”
The Lord says, “Yes? Even here? Even in my Divine presence there
is a complaint? Yes, speak, my son.” He says, “Lord, I waited
eighteen days at your door. We were let in one by one. Eighteen
days outside Heaven you know it is like Hell. When you are not
in Heaven you are in Hell.” “Yes, what is your complaint?” He
says, “Suddenly a car came up, your authorities from the gatehouse
telephoned, there was a big flurry of activity, the gates were
opened for this fellow, your Divine car came and took him in with
much fanfare and bugles. I object to this nepotism, this favouritism.”
God smiled. He said, “In a way, you are right. But remember my
son, people like you come in the millions every day to Heaven.
A soul like that comes once in many millions of years. Don’t you
think he deserves a little special attention?” That was a rich
man, who was a great man on earth. Such people come very rarely.
“Even a camel may walk through the eye of a needle, but a rich
man shall not enter the gates of Heaven. But this man made it,
you see. Therefore, a little extra attention, a little recognition
of the fact that even such a soul can come into my Divine presence!”
So you see, at the same time the rarity of such a soul going to
Heaven, and also the multitudes of simple, innocent people who
reach Heaven without any effort. Therefore Heaven is the more
populous, not Hell.
Many people asked Babuji, “Can we progress after we
are dead?” If you are liberated, yes. Therefore, liberation is
the minimum that we have to achieve in this life – the absolute
minimum. It is not progress, it is just escape. Then some sort
of progress through eternity becomes possible, unimpeded by grossness,
because the soul has no grossness. So if you are not willing to
do anything else, at least make sure of your liberation, because
without liberation you are back again, into another body, into
another harem, into another sensory world, into another
arena of temptation, danger, fear, despondency. So an awareness
of the Self, the existence of something inside me which is making
me, myself, exist, is an absolute requirement – the bottom line
for a spiritual search to begin. It is no use coming here as businessmen,
as beautiful women, as wise people, to find out.
The way one should die
Death is not liberation and liberation is not death. Death is
just death; the body stops activity because that which made it
active has escaped. Does it escape into liberation by having become
nothing or does it escape into this limbo of this other existence
from which you must return is the only criterion to be applied
to ‘how we die.’ If you are going to the limbo way, the dark way,
that from here, I am not going to just exit into an immortality
in which I am nothing, and everything that is having me is nothing,
and into that infinite Nothingness I merge myself. If it is not
that, then we have this fright, this terrible fear of death. What
will happen to me after I die because your heart tells you, you
have done nothing to ensure what you are going to do after you
You may be a rich man. You may be a philosopher. You
may be a poet. You may be the greatest artist in the world. When
we die, we all die the same death. So spirituality says, “It is
not in life that you are going to be different – these are superficial
differences – it is in death you are going to be different. If
you live your life as you should live it, in whatever station
of life your earlier destiny may have put you, you will die in
such a way that you do not return again to this existence. But
the others are all going to come back.”
So you see, the true difference of a spiritual existence
is not in the way we live life here on earth, but in the way we
die, ultimately, here. And as Babuji Maharaj always said, “It
is one of the greatest tragedies and one of the greatest mysteries,
that man learns everything by experience. You learn to operate
a computer by operating a computer. A child learns to walk by
falling and getting up, falling and getting up – ultimately it
does not fall any more. But we have died so many millions of times,
and yet we have not learned to die correctly.” This is the tragedy
of death. The tragedy of death is not that we die, but that we
never learn to die in the right way. See, it is like a man who
opens the door, closes it, opens the door, closes it. And he is
always inside. Or like one of these nice brass doors, polished,
in big hotels, four sections, rotating and children use it as
a roundabout. They just go round and round and round and round.
They do not go anywhere, just stay there.
So we are using life and death like one of these roundabouts.
Eternally we are going round and round. In fact, somebody has
called it the eternal return. Now whose fault is it? We always
want to blame God. We want to blame destiny. We want to blame
everything except ourselves. So spiritual science says, “Live
in such a way that this death is your last, no more coming back
here.” Then life has been properly lived and death has
proved a door into eternity. Now the function of death is precisely
to lead you out of this life into the higher life. But even that
has to be learned, you see, and somebody has to teach us how to
do it. Now, that is what we learn in meditation.
Meditation is a training in dying
We are always afraid of death. That’s a very natural
fear. But to be told that perhaps, my dear friend, you don’t exist
even now would be awful. Wouldn’t it? But when you plunge into
yourself in meditation and, if, by Master’s grace, by the solemnity
of your experience, you are able to experience those spiritual
states where you find first nothing, then you find yourself all
alone, and then you find that the universe into which you are
put all alone by yourself is really you...! The universe is you.
You are there as something experiencing yourself in a cosmic form.
Then comes this really brilliant, fascinating experience that
“I am the Universe, which means you are part of me, everybody
is part of me, you are me in a sense.”
Now this is a psychological truth, that psychologists
are always trying to expose us to that which we are afraid of,
so that we may lose the fear of that particular thing. If you
are afraid of dogs, they bring a dog near you, ask you to pet
it, put it on your lap, and your fear goes. Here also, we do the
same thing. As Babuji Maharaj said, “Every meditation is a training
in dying.” Because when you go really deep into yourself, and
you come out after it and say, “I was absorbed. I don’t know where
I was. I didn’t even know whether I was sleeping or meditating.”
You have literally been not there. In a sense you were dead to
this existence. Therefore meditation is a training in dying. And
if we have done it correctly we should be masters of death, masters
of the act of dying; one who can die when he wishes; one who can
die when he chooses; coming back again and again if he wishes,
so that his death is not really a death, but will be a resurrection
like in the Christian tradition. Christ died, was put into the
sepulcher, and he disappeared you see. We call it the resurrection.
So you see, if we continue to be afraid of death it
means we have not been meditating properly. Our practice has been
wrong. So we should think of this and say, “What in heaven am
I doing? Have I been meditating at all? If so, have I been meditating
correctly? Why am I still afraid of death?” Is not meditation
a training in dying, daily? Should not one who does something
daily become a master of that? Should I not by now be a master
of death? Therefore we say, “One who is a master of life is also
a master of death.” As Babuji Maharaj said, “He alone is the master
of life and death as we understand it.” Therefore it is a divine
state when we achieve this purpose, when we become free of the
fear of death and of the craving to be born. Both are negative.
I remember the first time I went deep into meditation,
what you call samadhi. It took Babuji several minutes
to recall me out of it. He said, “That’s all.” I did not open
my eyes. He said it several times, louder and louder. And finally
he had to touch me. Then I asked him what happened. He said, “That
is an experience which you should have at death. What
we really do in meditation is to learn to die.” So I
told him this would be a very difficult thing to teach people,
because who wants to die? They want training in how to live more
joyously, more healthily, more richly. He said, “They are fools,
because they do not know the secret that, unless you know how
to die, you cannot live.”
And it is such a simple truth, you see. Because one
of the greatest, most prevalent modern diseases is fear of death.
And it manifests itself in so many ways. So when we go deep into
meditation, Babuji told me, “But for the grace of the Master,
you would not have come back today.” I said, “Why did you bring
me back?” He just smiled and kept quiet. He said, “But it is a
fact that when you went into that level, your soul did not want
to come back. Therefore it took me four minutes to wake you up
again. Because that is its original state, its real state, its
Now we have become conditioned to existing in the body.
We associate our existence with the body, our pleasures, everything
we associate with the body. And then we have this funny idea that
when the body goes we are dead. It cannot be. If life is eternal,
how can I die just because my body has dropped? So when I said
that meditation teaches us to die, it teaches us by showing us
that there is no real death. It is a state of existence which
we call death. But the moment you get into meditation, and go
deeper and deeper into that condition, and the Master’s grace
brings you up, again and again, out of it, we learn the truth
about life and death. That is real, this is artificial.
I have known abhyasis weeping when they have come out
of meditation and prayed to Master, “Why do you not leave me there?
Why do you bring me here and torture me again?” Babuji used to
sympathize. He said, “Yes, I know your state. I can understand
your mental condition, but it is not permitted to shorten your
life like that. But I am happy you had this experience because
it is this experience which will divert your mind away from this
silly, stupid, material existence.” So I asked him, “Why do you
call it silly and stupid? It has its moments of glory, ecstasy.”
He said, “It is silly and stupid because it is not eternal.
If it is my destiny to die, I should die meditating.
I remember a preceptor in our country, in India who had a heart
attack, and stopped meditation. Babuji was very upset. He said,
“This man is so stupid. He is going to die. The best way of dying
is, to sit in meditation thinking of the Master. Then the door
into eternity is opened automatically. Instead of that, he is
not meditating, he is taking medicines and he is relying upon
some fools, astrologers.”
Death for the average human being is the ultimate pain,
the ultimate loss, the ultimate tragedy. But the saint dies every
moment – when he sits in meditation he is lost! He is dead to
this world. Therefore – ‘living dead.’ His body may suffer. His
body may speak. His body may shout out to God, “Why hast thou
forsaken me?” but he doesn’t shout. He is in the calm of his absolute
meditation, what we call the mahasamadhi. The body speaks, it
works, it runs, it mates, it defecates, it does all these things
because it is the body. The soul, in its utter state of weightlessness,
state of nothingness suffers nothing, enjoys nothing, feels nothing,
knows nothing, sees nothing.
Spiritual tradition says that when we die, the spiritual
aspirant, an abhyasi – a sadhak, when he dies, no death comes
to him. It is his Guru who comes and says, “come my son, it is
time for us to move on.” So when we have experienced this throughout
our meditation, sitting after sitting, session after session,
how can there be fear! There is only longing, you see.
Dying in Love
When there is love between two persons, whether husband and wife,
father and son, mother and daughter, friends, guru and disciple
– if this real love is there between the two, there will automatically
develop a mutual respect, a mutual regard, even a mutual admiration,
perhaps, even a mutual worship. Because friendship must ripen
into love, love must ripen into adoration. Adoration must ripen
into worship, into surrender and then into the extinction of the
Therefore you see, loving is dying. To love is to die.
And when you cease to exist in love, that is, “I must be alive
so that I can enjoy my love, bask in my love, drown myself in
my own love,” that is narcissistic, psychologically speaking,
and it is destructive. So, to say that love and death are linked
is also a lesser truth than to say that love is death. Truly,
when you love, you seek only the other, you think only of the
other – only the other exists, you don’t exist. It is love which
gives form to substance, to essence.
The spirit takes up matter, makes it fit for itself,
embodies it itself and there you have a body – white, black, tall,
short, it doesn’t matter. And when this idea comes, that this
body is so wonderful, this body is so beautiful, this body is
so attractive – the ego comes, the love of the self comes, the
narcissistic love comes, selfishness comes and love goes out of
the door. That is why, today, there is so little love in this
world. It is all self, self, self! So, what is necessary to bring
back the bliss of love, the glory of love, the transcendental
experiences of love, and the ability to transcend love itself
into a final extinction of the self – to die to oneself, which
is what Babuji Maharaj, in spiritual terms, called the living
death, the living dead.
So you see, if you don’t die in love, you will have
a different type of death – in fear, hatred, sorrow, misery. Death
is inevitable. One death is unglorious, painful, miserable, self-destructive.
The other death is glorious, worshipful, full of love, full of
beatitude. So all that we do, when we inculcate our children and
ourselves with the spirit of holiness, with the attitudes of holiness,
the ability to worship that which we love, to adore that which
we love, to surrender to that which we love, to finally die for
that which we love – we are seeking a form of death which transcends
death. It is no longer death. I die without dying. Death, for
me, no more exists. It is erased from the slate of my existence
in eternity. Such a person never dies, because he has died to
himself, by himself. For such a person, death can have no fears.
Since he cannot die, we call such persons immortal. They are there
forever. Their love is inextinguishable. Why is it inextinguishable?
Because they no longer love – they are love. So you see, how closely
love and death are linked. To die in love means to live
forever. To die thinking of yourself, in your selfishness,
in your own personal vainglory, is to die forever. So, one is
the way to immortality; the other is the way to hell; to recurrence
– eternal recurrence, as one psychologist has called it, again
and again and again, until we learn to love, to sacrifice, to
die to ourselves.
What should we do with the dead?
It is a common experience of all of us, miserable human
beings, that we love our parents more after they are dead. While
they are alive, they are a nuisance to us. They trouble us with
their demands for discipline, for performance. And when they die,
we work off our self-felt, self-created guilty feelings by expensive
shraddhas, expensive ceremonies, putting up big pictures
on the walls. Why is it that we have to love the dead and not
the living? I mean, this is a very sordid bit of human existence,
that somebody has to die before they earn our love. What is the
use of weeping for the dead? Shall we not weep for the living?
So you see, instead of spending thousands of rupees
on a dead person’s cremation, and his shraddhas
year after year and the tarpana every amavasya
(new moon) day, if you have loved them well, cherished them well
during their existence, all this ritualistic expiation of our
inability to love becomes unnecessary. Love the living;
it’s no use loving the dead.
Now that brings me to the problem of those people who
left us. You know, fathers die, mothers die, and we put their
pictures at home and with great devotion we put a mala
(garland) and light a lamp. According to my Master, this is the
most destructive thing that we can do which holds back these souls
from their own progress in the afterlife. What should we do with
the dead? First, of course, we bury them or cremate them; that
is physical disposal. As far as the mind is concerned, love them
and forget them. Most of you would probably think that this is
very inhuman and in some way a crazy advice. Forget our forefathers?
Yes. Because every time you remember them, especially from the
depth of your heart, it is a pull on that soul and you are dragging
them backwards. So with all these kriyas, rituals associated
with the departed, we think we are helping them but actually we
are putting a brake on their progress, whatever it may be. So
I asked Babuji, “What should be the way? If at all I remember
my dead people, what should I do about it?” Sometimes we have
no control over our memory; we don’t remember by choice. He said,
“When you remember, pray to the Master, ‘May that soul receive
peace.’ That is enough.”
So all these essentially Hindu ideas, you know, putting
the picture (especially in a very prominent place) in the drawing
room to show our love and affection to our departed parents, putting
garlands, putting chandan (sandalwood), lighting the
lamp, you know, it is the most crazy thing to do. However good
our parents may have been, however elevated, we should not give
them the status of gods. A parent is a parent and is a human being.
Unless of course, like my Master, He was God. Then we don’t need
to put a picture of Him and worship. We worship Him in our hearts.
Indeed if you look to the ritualistic ideas of most
of our Hindu religious texts, you will find that there is more
of destructiveness associated with them than any helpful attitude
towards the pitrus (forefathers). Pitru worship
is the most destructive single ritual of our Hindu religion. So
I would urge all of you, who are doing it, to kindly stop it –
in any form you see. And if you want to remember them on the day
of their departure, try to forget it, you will remember them better.
If memory comes, sit in meditation for ten minutes or fifteen
minutes. Pray to the Master, “Almighty Master! My departed father,
mother, brother, sister, whoever it may be, may your Grace flow
towards him or her. May he or she receive peace.”
Babuji told me that Lalaji Maharaj, wherever He went,
if He saw a graveyard, He would transmit; if He saw a tomb, He
would transmit; if He saw a burial ground, He would transmit,
just thinking that all the souls which have had their final departure
from this place, may they receive peace. And they did receive
peace. So that was the way Lalaji helped the dead souls with whom
He had no connection whatsoever. Anybody who has died (was buried)
in this graveyard, let there be peace in his soul. Wherever the
soul is in this universe, it receives His blessings, His Grace,
a momentary peace. Somebody may say, “What is the use of momentary
peace? I want lasting peace.” But imagine, if a man is about to
commit a murder and at that moment peace descends on his mind
and the murder is stopped, is he not saved from the phansi
(the hangman’s rope)?
What happens to an abhyasi who dies prematurely?
The answer is obvious, because my Master has said, unless we reach
the liberation point within this lifetime, we have to be reborn
again. So the earnest abhyasi must make certain that he reaches
at least the liberation point during this lifetime.
We had an abhyasi in Coimbatore, in South India. He
was very earnest, and I had also intended to make him a preceptor
for the Coimbatore centre. He went on some work to Bangalore,
and there he fell sick. Intense stomach ache. They brought him
back to Coimbatore and in three days he was dead.
But just before he died, two, three hours before he
died, he called his mother to him and said, “Please don’t make
a scene, don’t weep or anything, just be quiet and leave the room.”
So they all left him alone. After half an hour he called his mother
alone into the room, and he pointed to the air above his bed,
the atmosphere above his bed, and said, “I am seeing the Divine
light here, and this is the light for which everybody has been
meditating. I am going to die, but I am happy. So I bid you goodbye.”
And after half an hour he passed away.
Now I was unhappy with this because I had wanted to
make him a preceptor for that centre. He was a good soul you see.
So I wrote to Master. Master wrote back and said, “I see the soul
sitting in a corner, weeping.” He was able to see it in His vision,
and then He said, “Had he meditated one month more, he would not
have to be reborn, because he would have reached liberation point.
As it is, he has to take one birth more.” So you see, that emphasizes
the need for very, very diligent spiritual practice.
What do you think about birth control, contraception?
Well, generally it is considered to be not quite the thing done,
according to religion. But there are techniques available by which
you need not have a baby. But not by contraception, it is more
I had once asked Master a question about rebirth.
I had the impression, my own personal impression, that good souls
are reborn instantly after death. It was my opinion that they
would be qualifying for quick evolution. But Master said no. It
is the bad souls which are reborn quickly – or souls with bad
samskaras. I asked Him why this should be so. He said those with
good samskara, or the souls without much samskara but yet destined
to be reborn, they cannot find the proper environment to be reborn.
So by following these unnatural practices, we might be denying
an opportunity to souls which are higher in evolution, which need
yet to be reborn, from being reborn.
So this is the highest reason for not practicing birth
control, especially for spiritual people like Sahaj Marg abhyasis.
Because we must remember that as we evolve, it becomes impossible
for the negative types of souls to be reborn to us, in our environment,
and only the higher souls will find our environment suitable for
birth. Why I am saying this is, we should not automatically assume
we will therefore have nine children, or twelve children, because
as we evolve, the possibility of having children of that level
decreases for us too, because there are not many around. So it
will be a safe married life even without contraception. There
is no problem.
What lies beyond death?
We have the famous story of the Upanishads. It’s called
the Kathopanishad, where a young boy of eight manages to reach
the abode of death, the God of death. He has been made to wait
three days because the Lord of death wasn’t there. So the Lord
of death, when he returns says, “For each day, you must have a
boon. Please ask me whatever you like.”
The first two are rather trivial. The third one, is
“What lies beyond death?” Yama says, “You are a boy. Ask for things
suited to your age. Ask for pleasure, ask for fun, ask for knowledge;
anything you want I will give you.” He says, “No. This is what
I want. You are the Lord of Death. You should know what lies beyond.”
Lord of death says, “My son, don’t ask for these things. These
are mysteries beyond the comprehension of even the gods. The great
Rishis who have been doing tapasya, they don’t know.
So, what will you do with this knowledge?” He says, “If they don’t
know it, if even the gods don’t know it, all the more reason why
I should know it. I won’t go until you tell me.” Then he tries
to bribe this youngster, “I will give you ten thousand years of
life, and ten thousand grandsons who will each live ten thousand
years, and all the beautiful women of heaven, anything you want,
you see, untold wealth.”
So the boy asks Yama, “Tell me one thing. If after
all these ten thousand or hundred thousand or two hundred thousand
years that I can ask for, and you are sure to give, have I not
ultimately to come face to face with you again, and then go beyond?”
He says, “Yes.” “Then why should I wait all those years? Do it
now. I want to know it now.” Very wise, and there the text stops.
Unfortunately, the text stops there. It doesn’t say what happened
We need the Master, in the hereafter too
What will happen when I die? If the Master can help me
in life, He can help me after I am dead. So it makes no difference
whether I am here or not. If I have been connected with Him during
life, His help should be available to me after my so-called death
too. And if I have faith in that, I would rather die sooner than
later, for at least two very important reasons. The first reason
is very important: that every moment I live, I am subjected to
pressures, temptations, possible falls, why should I take that
risk? Isn’t it? The second is the suffering concomitant on life.
What is the fun in suffering if I can leave this body and still
receive His help?
So, especially for an abhyasi, it is very stupid to
want to live a long life. In fact, there is that other English
saying, “Those whom the gods love, die young.” There are only
two classes of old people. The large multitude which have to suffer
the bhoga of their samskaras, which needs time, and for them therefore
old age is a curse. Therefore the human being, with all his or
her stupidity knows old age to be a curse. And the other class,
in which there may be one or two persons in several thousands
of years, are the saints who have to live to serve. They have
no bhoga, nothing – the saint exists for our service. So, whichever
way you look at it, it is foolish. Let us, of course, not pray
that people should die young, but we should not oppose it when
I have heard so many people say, you know, “Oh! I wish
he had lived a few years more!” Now look at this funny sentiment.
Why a few years more, why not many years more? So we want him
or her to live for our sake, not for his or her sake. And at least
in India, whenever somebody dies, we can hear this very often,
you see. “What will I do now?” This is always the cry of the person
left behind. Not a concern for the dead. What is that departed
soul doing? Is it wandering in darkness? Does it have the Master’s
guidance? Can it see the light? We are not concerned with all
that, you see. We are only concerned with ourselves. “What will
I do now?”
There is a well-known short story where a man’s wife
dies in the morning. He is miserable, and at night winds up in
a brothel, the justification being that he is utterly lonely without
his wife. He had no time to think of his wife’s loneliness – thrown
into the void, in the dark, no company, where nobody can speak
to her, nobody can touch her. What is she doing? He never thought
of it! Many people praise that novel for its supposed psychological
insight into human behaviour. For me it is a shameful exposition
of human selfishness. So, this is the problem of life and death.
I asked Babuji once, “Why do I need a Master?” All
the conventional answers he gave me. Then I asked Him a question,
which He admired very much. I said, “Will your help be available
to me when either I am no longer here, or you are no longer here?”
You know, He was so immensely happy, He said, “You are the first
person in my experience who has asked me this question.” Now I
was amazed. Surely we should be concerned with what is going to
happen to us when we die. Master said, “That is the tragedy. Even
in the spiritual life they think only of this life and of the
Master in this life. Who is there who can think of the life after
this, or what they are going to do there?” And the second more
shameful thing I realised myself later, that we limit the Master’s
ability only to help us in this life, not beyond.
I cannot conceive that a soul can have its identity
in a recognisable form in the hereafter, to know who it is or
to know who is coming across the border. It cannot possibly know
this. Now I am talking of unliberated souls who are going to be
reborn, because death removes this memory from this life. Then
who is the child, who is the wife, who is the mother? And if the
soul is liberated it goes to the brighter world and has no more
concern with us. If we understand this fact correctly, that at
my death no other soul of a human being can be there to receive
me, then comes the possibility of my overcoming this fear of losing
my humanness and loving my Master, and surrendering to Him. Because
for Him this barrier of death doesn’t exist, He can pass through
this barrier, or the border between the lives, up and down, as
many times as He chooses. Then comes the faith that when this
life of mine is ending, He, the real beloved will not wait at
some abstract border of life, you know, but He will be at my death
bed to take me away with Him. That is the biggest fear and the
biggest promise, both in one.
Most of us have to go back, “Sorry you cannot cross
the border, next life!” So we need the Master very much to take
us across. Because everyone who is born is going to die, everyone
needs the Master. There can be no exception to this. So now if
you love somebody so much, don’t you think you must bring him
or her to the Master at the quickest possible moment? Because,
as Babuji said, “Death is one thing which does not wait and we
cannot know when our life is going to end.” He defined wisdom
as, “Leading life as if we are going to die the next moment.”
But we lead our lives as if we were going to be millionaires the
next moment, or cinema stars, and we waste it. So that is the
greatest need. As Babuji said, “Find the Master and having found
Him, bind Him to yourself in such a way that you can never be
separated from Him.”
It is He who is always with us
It is said in the Upanishad, for instance, that of the Panchabhutas,
it is said, “Mrityurdhaavati panchama iti.” Death is
chasing all these five things, the five senses. It is always behind.
Then there is another story of a woodcutter, who was cutting wood
for his living every day and bringing a head-load home every evening,
selling part of it, using part of it, going on for years like
this. And one day in the jungle he is tying up his bundle of firewood
to take home – he feels afraid. For no reason, he feels a strange
presence, you see, and he starts walking fast. And pit-pat, pit-pat,
pit-pat, the footsteps are following behind. He runs. The footsteps
run behind him. Finally, you know, he makes a terrific effort,
trying to run away from this thing which is following him, and
falls exhausted, and then he sees – God. He says, “What is this?
I have been looking for you all my life. Where have you been?”
He says, “my son, it was always me who was trying to catch you,
trying to follow you and catch you, but you have been eternally
running away from me. Today you are caught!”
So you see, on one side we have this idea of death,
who is pursuing us inexorably with his loop in his hand, like
the lasso of, you know, the Western cowboy. In the Hindu tradition,
it is the lasso which is thrown around – it is called the yama-paasha,
and it works in such a way that the soul is removed from the body.
The body falls, and the soul goes away with the Yama-dhoota or
Yama himself. Simultaneously, God is also following.
Now, whom should we think is following us? Who is it,
who is following me all my life? If I am afraid, I think it is
death. If I am a devotee, I think it is my Master. Master always
said, “Think the Master is behind you in everything that you are
doing. On the stray occasions when you are afraid – for instance,
when you are going to a new place in the darkness, think the Master
is going in front of you.” So, fear puts the Master in front.
Devotion puts Him just behind. In both cases He must be with us
– in fear, during temptation, in confidence. Without the Master
we are nothing. Either He must be in front of me, or He must be
behind me. Preferably He should be all around me, surrounding
me like the praetorian guard around the emperor.
It is said you know that, when the saints die, they
tell their sishyas, the disciples, “the moment for meeting
my beloved has come. It is not that Yamadev, riding on a black
buffalo, it is the beloved, because he who liberates me must be
my beloved. Who will liberate me from this stupid life that we
are leading? Only somebody who loves me will liberated me. Who
will let you out of this jail? Has somebody come and released
you? If somebody comes and releases you, he must be the beloved.
He must be the one who loves you and says, “Come, enough of this
imprisonment, what are you doing here, 25 years, 50 years, 75
years, still in jail? Chhi, come out.” That is the Guru.
Death can be a gateway to liberation
I asked Master how destruction could ever be justified.
Master answered, “Yes, you have some doubt. But it is there only
because you are thinking in a narrow way. Think of destruction
as change. What happens when you cut down a tree? The tree is
destroyed. But the carpenter makes furniture out of it. So the
wood is used. The wood is still there, the form has changed. When
a person dies we think it is the end. Death is final, that is
our view. But it is not correct. What we see as death is only
the rebirth into another life. Similarly what we see as birth,
when a baby is born, must be death in another life, giving birth
here. You understand this? It is only a change of form. The life
goes on and on, but the form keeps changing until a fortunate
person finds a Master who can grant him his liberation.”
I requested Master to explain whether death could be
considered a liberation in itself. Some people feel that this
is so. Master replied, “Death does not solve the problems of life,
but it creates intricacies for the next life. Death sends one
to another state, so that, one may not feel the continuity of
trouble. There must be some pause between this life and the next
life to come. Men are kept in dungeons. But if they are there
for years in a gloomy dungeon they will require a change. So they
are brought out to exercise once in a while before they go into
it again. Death is like that. Really speaking only fools
die, and not the saints. Saints are everlasting in their
own regime. So, death is of value for the other troubled persons;
for the saints it is an unrevealed object. Now I tell you something
very important, Life in life should be our real object.”
Master once told me that the moment most appropriate,
or easy, for liberation is the moment of death. He said, “At the
moment of death it is very easy to liberate anybody. I just take
him and put him up there.” He raised his hand, pointing from a
low level to a high level, as if removing a bottle from a lower
shelf and putting it on a higher shelf! “Later on it becomes difficult.
The soul must not have taken rebirth. Suppose it has taken rebirth
and I liberate it, the person it has been reborn as will die!
And if it has taken several rebirths then nothing can be done.
You see this difficulty! So I say try for it in this life itself.
Who is to say whether the Master can be free to serve you at the
exact moment of your death? So try for it now. I tell you one
thing. Heart is heart if it is diverted to God. Soul is soul if
it jumps into the ultimate Reality. We have to try to reach the
changeless state. When we have a goal like that, then changes
are necessary. Changes develop power for the Ultimate growth.”
One who is going to be liberated and immortal doesn’t bother about
death, because he has time as his instrument. One who is afraid
of death and thinks that people die, is a slave of time. So you
have the chance, the opportunity, the choice, between slavery
to time or mastery over time. So I recommend to you all a little
wisdom in handling time because that is the secret to what we
What is immortality in the presence of Divinity? No
longer must He be someone from whom I can be separated even by
thought. Because in the realm of the infinite, there can be no
separation. Separation from what, where, how? I breathe, and the
air I breathe is of course separate from me but it’s also a part
of me. It is something which is of me, in me, and yet not of me
because a moment comes when I cease to breathe. That moment when
I cease to breathe, when I can say I no longer can breathe, I
no longer have oxygen in my lungs, is precisely the moment when
I die. That separation means death.
It was not for nothing Babuji used to say that He could
not be separated from Lalaji even for a second. It is the breath
of His breath, the life of His life, Pranasya Prana.
We are all talking of Pranasya Prana. We don’t understand
what it means. We all know that physical extinction comes about
when physical breathing stops. If a mere few cc’s of air can make
a difference between life and death to me, as we physically understand
it, what should be the situation when my life’s life is separated
from me. Because in yogic tradition we say the body lives by that
which we call life, and the life lives by that which we call the
life of the life, the prana of the prana. So
if for this merely mortal physical existence, this breathing is
so important, that few seconds, few minutes of separation means
an extinction of my existence, can we be ever parted from that
which is the life of this life? Logic says no. Because if that
happened, I couldn’t even exist physically. That is responsible
for that life in me which is keeping me alive in this existence
Immortality does not mean eternal existence, as it
is commonly interpreted. It means not being subjected any more
to death. Eternal existence has no meaning, because we think eternal
existence means an infinitely extended existence in time. Eternal
existence means rising above time itself. There is no
past, there is no present, there is no future, and in that condition,
how are you going to live for ever and ever? When I am beyond
time, there is no possibility of living eternally, living for
ever and ever after. I live, that’s all. I exist.
In India you know, saints stop eating, they stop breathing.
They stop breathing – it’s an unimaginable feat of the will. Any
fool can stop eating; when he doesn’t get something to eat, he
stops eating. But if I try stopping to breathe? It’s impossible.
But saints have been known to do it. They said, “My existence
is of no use. Whatever I came to do I have done, finished.” They
left. See, that is the absolute control of an evolved being who
has control not over life, but over death itself. Therefore, India
has revered the great saints of the past who could die at will,
not under compulsion. They chose the moment of death, lay down
and went to sleep. They don’t die, they exit, you see. That is
the mystery of evolution, that until a human being can leave life
like an actor leaving the stage, at will, purpose accomplished,
he is subject to the law of eternal recurrence, until he evolves.
We have a saying that ‘to know what happens at death,
you must die once.’ That is what Babuji calls a living death.
So, we must be alive after we are dead, before we can know what
death is. Isn’t it? If we are dead finally, we cannot know anything
about it. That is why we have been denied a knowledge of death
even though, according to tradition, we have been born and have
died so many times. That is what our Indian philosophy says: “We
die without gaining a knowledge of death.” And anything which
we do without gaining a knowledge about it is a wasted experience.
So, in that sense, all our previous deaths have been wasteful
deaths, useless deaths. So, now we should try to die usefully,
that is, gainfully, because it is common sense knowledge that
we overcome that about which we have full knowledge, and when
we can know all about death while we are still alive, then death
has no longer any power over us. That is the condition of living
death of Sahaj Marg.
Let us free ourselves of these obsessive tendencies.
Let us note that there is only one wealth, one wisdom, one beauty
which we can carry with us – that is the beauty, the wisdom, and
the wealth of the eternal which is inside me – the Self in me,
which is eternally beautiful. It does not know age. It does not
know sickness. “Janma mrityu jaraa vyadhi.” They say,
the four upaadhis of existence. janma [Birth]
– if you take it, all the other three follow. Mrityu,
jara, vyadhi – death, old age, sickness. One
who is born will inevitably die. That is why the Gita says, “It
is never born, and never dead.” “Na jaayate va mriyate”–
because one which is born, must die, even if it is a god. Therefore,
Avatars have died. Rama died. Krishna died.
So you see, that which is born must die. Naturally,
it has to age, it has to face sickness. Therefore this craze for
mukti. Why are people so fascinated by mukti
even when they don’t want mukti; when they don’t want
to die? Suppose we ask, “How many of you want to be liberated
now?” How many people will say yes? Because we want mukti
at a moment of our choosing. We do not know when we shall die.
Like spirituality should be ideally commenced at the moment of
conception, but since nobody knows when conception is taking place,
it is not possible, therefore it is delayed to the eighteenth
year, nobody knows when death is stalking him. To say, “No, no,
wait, Yama! I am going to be liberated by my Master.” And Yama
laughs. He says, “Which Master? Have you a Master? Come. You are
mine.” Mukti not of our choice, but His choice. Mukti not at the
time of our choosing, but of His choosing. All that we can do
is to prepare ourselves for that moment, praying to Him, “Lord,
at the moment of my death, may you come and lead me to the hereafter.”
As Babuji said, “If you remove the saltiness from salt,
what is left? It is no longer salt. If you remove the sweetness
from sugar, what is left?” So, when all the qualities are removed
from us, what is left? It is that which has no qualities, no form,
no name – God. So, divinisation comes by removing things. I am
arrogant – remove it. I am wise – remove it. I am capable – remove
it. It does not mean we become incapable. On the contrary, we
become more capable. Ice cannot come in, through the chink under
the door, but the wind can blow through it. Isn’t it?
Subtler and subtler, you have access to everything
in creation. Grosser and grosser, you are limited by everything.
All this is grossness – wisdom is grossness; strength is grossness;
power is grossness; ego is grossness; arrogance is grossness.
So Babuji said, “Even wisdom we have to surrender.” As Vivekananda
says, “The intellect we need, but so far and no further.” We come
to the boundary, and then we respectfully bid it goodbye, because
now we don’t need intellect. If I am going into a territory where
there is no north, no east, no south, no west, why do I need a
compass? Where there is no wind, where there is no rain, where
there is no sunshine, why do I need clothes? Isn’t it? There is
never hunger, never pain, so why do I need a body?
So, one by one these things are cast off. And then
comes death – the divine moment when everything is God. And what
remains? As Babuji said, “Remove all qualities one by one, and
what remains is God.” You understand? Thank you.
Some pearls to pick
Health is given to those who are not yet healthy. Death
comes to him who is not yet dead.
Our whole existence is a journey through life. We have
got in at birth, we have to get out at death.
‘Live as if you are going to die the next moment.’ Our
attitude should be like that, so that we do the most important
things and not the stupid things, trivial things, that we
generally indulge in.
If you have not been liberated in life, you cannot be liberated
We have to live to learn to die. And if you are going to
continue to be afraid of death, in some way your life is a
waste. It is a purposeless life.
That which is not born cannot die. So the moment of our
birth signals the process of death commencing.
One who must be, and wants to be, at the pinnacle of human
perfection has to pay the price for it, and the price is your
“There is no death for a true disciple;
he only merges in the Master.”
In life, we think everything belongs to us – our houses, our
swimming pools, our gardens – not understanding that we are a
tenant, and one day we have to leave. So all that spirituality
says is, “Remember, you are not only a tenant of this house, you
are a tenant in this body itself. Prepare your next residence,
before you leave this. Otherwise, you will be a houseless person,
with nowhere to go.” That is the dreadful thing about the afterlife.
So spirituality says, “My friend, look for your next house first,
and do it quickly, because here there is no written contract,
and nobody can say when you have to vacate.” So like the scouts: