From the Yoga Sutra 18 we might have a few questions.
PATANJALI SAYS, ‘DO NOT CLING TO LIFE,’ AND THIS IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND FOLLOW. BUT HE ALSO SAYS, ‘DO NOT LUST FOR LIFE.’ ARE WE NOT TO ENJOY IN THE PRESENT ALL THAT NATURE HAS TO OFFER US: FOOD, LOVE, BEAUTY, SEX ETC? AND IF THIS IS SO, IS IT NOT LUST FOR LIFE?
PATANJALI SAYS that lust for life is a barrier, a barrier to enjoying life, a barrier to being really alive, because lust is always for the future; it is never for the present. He is not against enjoyment. When you are in the moment enjoying something, there is no lust in it. Lust is a hankering for the future, and this has to be understood.
People who are not enjoying their lives in the present have lust for life in the future. Lust for life is always in the future. It is a postponement. They are saying, ‘We cannot enjoy today so we will enjoy tomorrow.’ They are saying, ‘Right this moment we cannot celebrate, so let there be a tomorrow so that we can celebrate.’
Future arises out of your misery, not out of your celebration. A really celebrating person has no future; he lives this moment, he lives it totally. Out of that total living arises the next moment, but it is not out of any lust. Of course, when out of celebration the next moment arises, it has more capacity to bless you. When out of celebration the future arises, it goes on becoming more and more rich. A moment comes when the moment is so total, so whole, that time completely disappears.
Time is a need of the miserable mind. Time is a creation of misery. If you are happy there is no time – time disappears.
Watch it..from another dimension: have you observed that whenever you are in misery, time moves very slowly? Somebody is dying, somebody you love, somebody you would like to be alive, and you are sitting by the side. The whole night you sit by the side of the bed and the night looks as if it is an eternity. It seems not to be ending at all; it goes on, and on, and on. The clock on the wall seems to be moving very, very slowly. In misery, time moves slowly. When you are happy – you are with your beloved, your friend, you are cherishing the moment – time goes fast. The whole night has passed and it seems that it has been only a few moments or a few minutes. Why does this happen? – Because the clock on the wall doesn’t bother about whether you are happy or unhappy; it moves on its own. It never goes slow, never goes fast with your moods. It is always moving at the same pace, but your interpretation differs. In misery time becomes bigger, in happiness time becomes smaller. When somebody is in a blissful mood, time simply disappears.
Christianity says that when you are thrown into hell, the hell is going to be eternal, never-ending. Bertrand Russell has written a book, WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN – he gives many reasons. One of them is this: ‘Whatsoever sins I have committed, it is impossible to think that eternal punishment can be just. I may have committed many sins. You throw me in hell for fifty years, a hundred years, fifty lives, a hundred lives, one thousand lives, but eternal punishment cannot be just.’ Eternal punishment seems to be simply unjust, and Christianity believes in only one life. How can a man commit so many sins in one life, a life of just sixty or seventy years, so that he becomes worthy of being punished for eternity? It looks simply absurd! Russell says, ‘Whatsoever sins I have committed and whatsoever I have been thinking to commit but have not committed yet; if I confess all my sins, committed, uncommitted, imagined, dreamed, then too the hardest judge cannot send me to jail for more than five years.’
And he is right, but he misses the point. Christian theologians have not been able to answer. Hell is eternal not because it is eternal, but because it is the greatest misery – time moves not. It appears that it is eternal. And in bliss time disappears, then in the deepest misery, which is hell, time continues so slowly, as if not moving it all. A single moment of hell is eternal. It will appear to you that it is not ending, not ending, not ending.
The theory of eternal hell is beautiful, very psychological. It shows simply that time depends on the mind; time is a mind-oriented phenomenon. You are in misery, there is time; you are happy, there is no time. The lust for life is lust for more time. It shows that whatsoever you have gained is not enough, you are not satiated yet. ‘Give me more time so that I can be satiated. Give me more life, more future, more space to move, because all my desires are yet unfulfilled.’ That’s what a man who is lusting for life goes on praying for, ‘Lord, give me more time, because all my desires are still there. Nothing has been a fulfillment, I am not content, I am not satiated and time is flowing fast. Give me more time.’ This is the meaning of lust for life: lust for more time.
What do you mean by life? – Life means more time in the future. What do you mean by death? – Death means no future. If death comes right now, the future ends, time ends. That’s why you are afraid of death, because it will not give you space and all your desires are unfulfilled. Patanjali is not against life. In fact, because he is not against life he is against lust for life. If you live life to its totality, enjoy it to the deepest possibility, allow it to happen, then there will be no lust for life.
Be more sensitive, alive, aware, and then you will not hanker for more time. In fact, for a man who is satiated with life, death looks like rest, great relaxation, not the ending of life. He is not afraid of it, he welcomes it; a full rich life lived, then death comes in the night, as the night. The whole day you worked, now you prepare the bed and go to rest.
There are people who are afraid of night. I used to stay with a very rich man who was as afraid of night as people are afraid of death. He could not sleep, and he could not sleep because he was resting the whole day. Then how could he expect sleep? He was rich, he had everything, so he didn’t do anything.
Only poor people walk on their legs, only poor people do things.
Somewhere, Camus writes that a time will come in future when, really, people will be so rich that they will not even love. They will send their servants to do it.
In fact a rich man should not have. Why bother about the whole effort? – You can send a servant. That’s what rich men are doing: servants have to be sent to live life, and they rest.
When you rest the whole day, how can you sleep at night? The need is not created. A man works the whole day, lives, and by the evening-time he is ready to fall into oblivion, into darkness. The same happens if you have lived a true life, an authentic life. If you have really lived it, death is a rest. Evening comes, night falls, and you are ready; you lie down and wait. When you live rightly you don’t ask for more life because more is already there, more than you can ask is already there, more than you can imagine has already been given to you. If you live every moment to its total intensity, you are always ready to die.
If death comes right now to me I am ready, because nothing is incomplete. I have not postponed anything. I took my morning bath and enjoyed it. I have not postponed anything at all for the future, so if death comes there is no problem. Death can come and take me right now. There will not even be a slight idea of the future because nothing is incomplete.
And you? – Everything is incomplete. Even the morning bath you could not take well because you had to go somewhere; you missed it. You move according to the future and then you go on missing. If this missing becomes a habit, and it becomes one, then you will miss wherever you are also because you are the same man who missed the morning bath, who missed the morning tea, who somehow finished it but remained incomplete. It is hovering around your head. All that you have left incomplete is still like buzzing bees around you. Now this becomes a habit. You will listen to music but you are getting ready to go to the office, or to the shop, or to the market; you have already moved. You are only physically there. Your mind has moved in the future. You will never be anywhere.
Wherever you are, you are already moving somewhere else. This incomplete life creates lust for life. You have to complete many things.
How can you afford to die right this moment? I can afford to, I can enjoy – everything is complete! Remember this, Patanjali, Buddha, Jesus – nobody is against life. They are for life, all for life, but they are against lust for life because lust for life is a symptom of a man who has been missing life.Tags: Death Means No Future Patanjali