It is flowing through life. If you watch your mind, if you observe yourself, you will find that whether alert or not, a fear of death is continuously there.

Whatsoever you do, the fear of death is there. Whatsoever you enjoy, just around the comer the shadow of death is always there, persisting. It follows you.

Wherever you go, you go with it. It is something within you. You cannot leave it outside, you cannot escape from it; the fear of death is you.

From where does this fear of death come? Have you known death before? If you have not known death before, why are you afraid of it, of something which you don’t know? If you ask the psychologists, they will say, ‘Fear is relevant if you know what death is. If you have died before, fear seems relevant.’ But you don’t know death. You don’t know whether it is going to be painful or whether it is going to be ecstatic. Then why are you afraid?

No, the fear of death is not really a fear of death, because how can you be afraid of something which is unknown, which is not known at all? How can you be afraid of something which is absolutely unknown to you? Fear of death is not really fear of death. Fear of death is really clinging to life.

Life is there and you know well that you are not living it, it is bypassing you. The river is bypassing you, you are standing on the bank, and it is going continuously out of your hands. The fear of death, basically, is the fear that you are incapable of living and life is going. Soon, there will be no time left, and you have been waiting and you have always been preparing. You are obsessed with preparations.

I have heard about a German scholar who accumulated one of the greatest libraries in the world, from all the countries, from all languages. He was never able to read a single book because he was always accumulating: going to China to find a very rare book written on human skin, then running to Burma, then coming to India, then to Ceylon, then to Afghanistan – his whole life. By the time he was seventy, he had accumulated a vast collection of books, rare books. He was always postponing, and he would read them when the library was complete.

And death Came. When he was dying, tears started flowing from his eyes. He asked a friend, ‘What to do now? No time is left. The library is ready but my life is spent. Do something! Fetch any book from the library, read something from it so that I can understand. At least I can be satisfied a little.’ The friend went to the library, fetched a book, came back – but the scholar was dead.

This happens to everybody, to almost everybody; you go on preparing for life.

You think millions of preparations have to be made first and then you will enjoy, and then you will live – but by that time, life is gone. Preparations are made but there is nobody to enjoy them. This is the fear, you know it deep down in your guts, you feel it: that life is flowing by, every moment you are dying, every moment you are dying.

It is not fear of a death somewhere in the future coming and destroying you. It is happening every moment. Life is moving and you are absolutely incapable and closed. You are already dying. The day you were born you started dying. Every moment of life is also a moment of death. The fear is not of some unknown death which is waiting in the future, the fear is right now. Life is flowing out of the hands and you seem to be incapable, you cannot do anything. Fear of death is basically a fear of life which is flowing out of your hands.

Then afraid, you cling to life. But clinging can never become a celebration.

Clinging is ugly, clinging is violent. The more you cling to life, the more you will become incapable.

For example: you love a woman, you cling to her. The more you cling, the more you will force the woman to escape from you because your clinging will become a burden on her. The more you try to possess her, the more she will think of how to get free, how to escape from you. And I tell you, life is a woman; don’t cling to it. It follows those who don’t cling to it. It comes in abundance to those who don’t cling to it. If you cling, the very clinging puts life off, your beggarliness puts life off.

Be an emperor, be a sovereign. Live life but don’t cling to it, don’t cling to anything. Clinging makes you ugly and violent. Clinging makes you a beggar and life is for those who are emperors, not for those who are beggars. If you beg you will not get anything. Life gives much to those who never beg. Life becomes a constant blessing for those who remain unclinging to it. Live it, enjoy it, celebrate it, but don’t be miserly, don’t cling to it. This clinging to life gives you the fear of death because the more you cling, the more you see that life is not there it is going, it is going, it is going. Then the fear of death arises.


Because what you learned is just as foolish as you are. If you learned, you have not learned anything. In fact, they have memorized things. Great scholars, pundits, they know much about life, but they don’t know life. They always know about and about. They move round and round, never penetrating to the center. They are as afraid or sometimes even more afraid than you because they have wasted their lives in words. Words are just bubbles. They have accumulated much knowledge, but what is knowledge compared to life?

You can know many things about love without knowing love. In fact, if you know love, what is the need to know about love? You can know many things about God without knowing God. In fact, if you know God, what is the need to know about God? – That will be foolish, stupid. Always remember that knowing about is not knowing. Knowing about it is just moving in a circle, never touching the center.

Patanjali says, ‘Even the learned, those who are versed in scriptures, theologies, can discuss, debate for their whole lives, they can talk and talk and argue about millions of things, but meanwhile life is flowing by. The cup of life, they have not tasted. They don’t know what life is. They have lived in words, linguistic games. They will also be afraid.’

So remember, Vedas and Bibles won’t help; Korans and Dhammapadas won’t help. Knowledge is of no use as far as life is concerned. You may become a great scientist or a great philosopher or a great mathematician, but that doesn’t mean that you know life. To know life is a totally different dimension.

To know life means: to live it, to be unafraid, to move into the insecurities because life is an insecure phenomenon; to move into the unknown because life’s every moment unknown, it is always changing and becoming new; to become a traveller of the unknown and to move with life wherever it leads; to become a wanderer.

That is the meaning of sannyas to me: to be always ready to leave the known and the comforts of the known and move into the unknown. Of course, with the unknown there are insecurities, inconveniences, discomforts. To move into the unknown means to move into the dangerous. Life is dangerous; it is full of – dangers and hazards. Because of this, people start closing themselves. They live in imprisonments, cells – dark but comfortable. Before death comes, they are already dead.

Remember, if you choose comfort, if you choose security, if you choose the familiar, then you will not choose life. Life is an unknown phenomenon. You can live it but you cannot possess it in your hands, you cannot cling to it. You can move with it where-soever it leads. You have to become like a white cloud, moving wherever the wind leads it, not knowing where it is going.

Life has no goal. If you are in search of a certain goal you will not be able to live.

Life is goal-less. That’s why it is infinite, that’s why the journey is endless.

Otherwise, the goal will be reached, and then what will you do when the goal is reached?

Life has no goal. You achieve one goal and thousands of new goals are ahead.

You reach one peak and you are thinking that this is the last, ‘I will rest.’ But when you reach the peaks, many more peaks are revealed, higher peaks are still there. It is always so; you never come to the end. That is the meaning of God being infinite, life being endless: no beginning and no end. Afraid, closed into yourself, caved in, you will cling, and then you will be miserable.


Without knowing death you are afraid. Something must be there deep inside, and this is the thing: your ego is a false phenomenon. It is a combination of certain things; it has no substance in it, no center. The ego is afraid of death. It is just like when a small child has made a house of playing-cards and the child is afraid, afraid of the breeze coming in. The child is afraid that the other child may come near to the house. He is afraid of himself, because if he does anything, the house can fall immediately.

You make a house on the sand; you will be always afraid. The rock is not there in its foundations. Storms come and you tremble because your whole house trembles; any moment it can fall. The ego is a house of playing-cards, and you are afraid. If you really know who you are, the fear disappears, because now you are on the rock of the infinite, the deathless.

The ego is going to die because it is already dead. It has no life of its own; it reflects only your life. It is like a mirror. Your being is eternal. That’s why even the learned are afraid of death, because by learning you cannot know your being.

The being is known by unlearning, not by learning. You have to empty your mind completely. Emptied completely even of your feeling of self, emptied, suddenly in that emptiness you feel the being for the first time. That being is eternal. No death can happen to it. Only that being can embrace death, and therein know that you are deathless. The ego is afraid.


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