You think death gives you the illusion of life, love, freedom, and then one day suddenly it comes in and everything is destroyed: life, love, freedom. Death is not a reality. It cannot step in or step out.
DEATH NEVER HAPPENS.
The illusion is not given by death. How can death give the illusion? In fact, it destroys the illusion. If you are aware that death is bound to happen, how can you remain in the illusion that life is going to continue forever? For that you will need really a thick skull. Death is happening every day. All the cemeteries around the world, and the crematoriums -- death has left its mark.
Death is not creating the illusion. It is your mind that creates the illusion that, "It is always somebody else who dies, I never die." And in a way it looks logical: you always see somebody else dying, you cannot see yourself dying. The man who has died, he was also in the same illusion; he had also seen others dying, and deep down he must have been saying, "It is something that happens to others, it does not happen to me."
This is your mind. Certainly you will never see your death, because dead men don't see. Mind gives you the feeling that you are going to live forever. Drop that illusion, drop that mind! You cannot be certain even of the next moment.
And it is good that you cannot be certain of the next moment, and the tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow; it is good, tremendously good. Because the next moment is not certain, you are thrown back to the present. This is the only moment you have got of which you can be certain -- enjoy it! Enjoy it as totally as possible. Squeeze the whole juice out of it, because who knows? -- the next moment may never come.
DEATH IS GOOD -- IT KEEPS YOU ALERT.
It never gives you a warning of when it is coming; it comes suddenly out of nowhere. It is a great blessing. Just think: if you were allowed to be immortal in your body, do you think you would enjoy it? Even people who live for eighty years start praying for death. They are bored -- the same routine, the same life. What more is there to live for? They are tired, exhausted, weak, old. Now death is their only hope.
I HAVE HEARD about Alexander the Great, that when he was reaching India, passing the big desert of Saudi Arabia, he was informed that there is a well in Saudi Arabia -- if you drink out of that well you become immortal. Naturally, anybody would have been attracted, and particularly a man like Alexander the Great, who was nothing but a big ego. He wanted to conquer the whole earth, and he was afraid -- is there time enough or not? The earth is so big... He wanted to become the first man in history who has conquered the whole earth.
This was a good chance; if he is immortal, then there is no problem. And if somebody is immortal, is not going to die, he is not going to be sick either, because sickness, illness, disease -- they are just steps towards death. The immortal man will be young, healthy, with no possibility of any sickness or disease.
And Alexander was only thirty-three years old; this was a good time to become immortal. He was healthy, beautiful, strong -- this was a good time to become immortal, that meant he would remain thirty-three forever.
He stopped his armies and he said, "I am going to the well. Nobody comes with me." He did not want anybody else to become immortal. If others also become immortal, his immortality would no longer be unique.
He went to the well -- it is a beautiful story. In the East there are wells made in two ways. One is the ordinary way, a hole in the earth. To reach water level... you have to pull the water up in a bucket. There is also another type of well; only very rich people can afford it. On one side there is an arrangement where you can pull the water up in a bucket. On the side opposite to it there are steps going to the water itself. It is really cool there, silent.
I have been into many wells. When you sit there for hours, time seems to stop, the whole world seems to be so far away. The noise of the market, the people -- nothing reaches there. Sixty feet deep in the earth, it is dark, cool, yet very fresh.
The well where Alexander went was this type of well. So he went in, step by step, immensely excited. And just as he was making a cup out of his hands, and filling his hands with the water to drink, a crow who was sitting just nearby on a tree by the side of the well, said, "Wait! Wait a minute!"
Alexander looked back. He could not believe that a crow -- because there was nobody else -- could speak, but he was speaking. The crow said, "Wait."
Alexander said, "Why did you stop me? Don't you know I am Alexander the Great? Nobody can stop me! And you are just a crow."
The crow said, "First listen to what I have to say to you, then do whatsoever you want. I have drunk from this well and I have become immortal. Now, for hundreds of years I have been trying to commit suicide -- in this way, in that way. Nothing succeeds, and I am tired, utterly tired. And the very idea that I am going to live forever in this despair, in this anguish... even death is not going to relieve me.
"I have known everything, I have experienced everything. Now there is nothing in the future but a painful, miserable existence. That's why I said, wait a moment. Now, think it over, and then if you feel like drinking, drink. But I am sitting here only to prevent people, because I am suffering so much."
A moment of silence... Alexander's hands dropped the water back into the well, and he said to the crow, "Thank you, my friend. I am immensely grateful. I had never thought about it, that I would have to live forever and forever. My friends will be dying, my beloved will be dying, my parents will be dying, my teachers will be dying, my contemporaries will be dying -- and I will remain stuck forever. No, I cannot drink this water, and I pray to you, please remain sitting here, because there are many fools like me. If they come to know about the well, stop them. It will be one of the greatest acts of compassion."
You say death creates the illusion of life, love? No. It is death that makes you aware that if you want to live, live now, because tomorrow is uncertain. If you want to love, love now, because you may be in the crematorium and sannyasins will be dancing, celebrating.
Death is a great reminder. If there were no death in the world, it would have been just hell. Just think: all those people who have died and are sleeping peacefully in the graveyard, all those people who have been burned in crematoriums and have been freed completely, have evaporated into thin air.... Just think, if all those people -- your father, your father's father, and so on up to Adam and Eve -- for millions of years, and nobody is dying.... Poison is useless, bullets are meaningless, swords cannot cut heads: what will be the situation? Do you think it will be very pleasant? It will be the worst that can happen.
Death makes life beautiful, because it makes you alert: don't miss the train, don't miss anything. Enjoy, relish everything possible to you, because tomorrow is death. Death is not your enemy, death is your greatest friend. Without death you will be just dead bodies moving around with no purpose, with no meaning, and no exit.
If there can be any hell, its name will be "No exit."
Jean-Paul Sartre has written a play titled NO EXIT, and it is the description of hell. The only trouble is there is no way out. And according to Christianity, you have to be there forever.
Death is your great friend, companion, which makes you love intensely, which makes you not want to miss anything. Religions have not told you the truth. They have been lying to you, telling you that beyond death there is paradise: all beautiful things, joys, blessings, freely available. These people are criminals, because they are destroying your present.
They are giving you a hope of a better, far more fulfilling life... after death, so why be bothered about this small time? Why be bothered about living intensely, totally? Just wait for death to come. Meanwhile you go on praying in the church, in the mosque, in the synagogue. You go on listening to all kinds of superstitions and stupidities -- they call them sermons -- and go on believing whatever the priest says to you. This is all that you have to do in life. And don't commit a sin; otherwise you may miss paradise.
And if you look deep into the word "sin," you will be surprised. It means no joy, no laughter, no celebration, no love. Anything that makes you happy is condemned as sin by some religion or other. Remain serious, with long faces, dull, avoid living. Renounce life, love -- renounce the world and move into some ugly caves in the mountains, and wait there chanting some mantra -- transcendental meditation, or "Ave maria, Ave maria."
These religions have crippled you, destroyed you. They are really messengers of the devil. All the religions of the world are messengers of the devil, not of God. There is no God, but about the devil I am doubtful. Perhaps he exists; otherwise from where do all these theologians, religious preachers, monks, nuns, Mother Teresa, pope the Polack -- from where do all these people come? Who sent them? There must be a devil. Or perhaps there is not a devil, but these people are in a conspiracy against human joy, pleasure, comfort, luxury.
There is no possibility of a devil. Without God, the devil cannot exist; he is only the shadow of God. The day I said to you, "There is no God," his shadow also disappeared. So it is a committee, not a devil, a committee of all your prophets, messengers, messiahs -- all cheating, deceiving you, destroying your life in every possible way.
It is not death that destroys your life and keeps you in illusion. It is your religions that destroy your life and keep you in an illusion which will happen after death.
I say to you, never forget death. It is always there by your side. Before it grips you, do whatsoever you feel like doing. Dance, have a little champagne. Love, and don't be bothered about death, because that will be destroying your present. When it comes, if we have lived our life totally and intensely, we will be able to live our death too, with the same intensity, with the same totality.
Yes, in fact death is only a transmigration -- changing your house which has become dilapidated, is almost in ruins, and moving into a new house, fresh, just made, made for you. Death is only a change.
You have changed many houses, many bodies, and you are still here. Only when you become enlightened, then the work of death is finished, because after enlightenment you will not be changing the house, you will not be entering into another body. After enlightenment you will be entering into absolute freedom, you will be becoming one with the whole existence. You will be in the flowers, in the birds, in the sun, in the moon, in the rain, in the wind. You will be all over the place.
To become enlightened means to live this moment without any hesitation, without being half-hearted. Put everything at stake. Be a gambler! Risk everything, because the next moment is not certain. So why bother? Why be concerned?
Live without fear, live without guilt; live without any fear of hell or any greed for heaven. Just live! Death is not creating any illusion for you, it is your mind. Put this mind aside, so that it cannot disturb your dance, your song, your music.
From the False to the Truth
Ch #28: Death never happens
am in Rajneeshmandir