Fear is to be understood, not conquered
I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT ONE HAD TO CONQUER FEAR, AND THEN DEATH WOULD NOT BE SCARY ANYMORE. THE OTHER DAY I WAS SITTING IN A PLACE IN THE HILLS WHERE PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND I SAW THAT DEATH IS SWEET.
NOW I THINK IT MUST BE MORE LIKE THIS - THAT DEATH HELPS ONE TO UNDERSTAND FEAR; THAT FIRST YOU EXPERIENCE DEATH AND SHE HELPS YOU SEE WHAT FEAR IS ALL ABOUT. IS IT LIKE THIS? CAN YOU TALK ABOUT IT PLEASE?
Mukti Gandha, your question is based on complete misunderstanding, confusion. You will have to understand first where your confusion is. You say, "I always thought that one had to conquer fear."
This is the first point of misunderstanding.
You cannot conquer fear. Fear has to be understood. The moment you start thinking of conquering it, you have already accepted its existence, its power over you. And fear is just like a shadow: you can fight with it, but you cannot win. On the path one has to be very aware whether one is fighting with something that does not exist but is only his own projection; otherwise the journey goes on becoming longer and longer.
Secondly, the language of conquering is not the language of a meditator, it is the language of a soldier. We have nothing to conquer. We have to certainly understand everything concerning ourselves, our mind, its workings. For example, fear has never existed. That does not mean that people have not been afraid. That is a totally different thing. People have been afraid because they don't understand many things and fear arises out of their ignorance.
You have seen death... you think so, because death can be seen only in deep meditation, where it withers away like darkness withering away when the light is brought in. But everybody thinks he has seen death because he has seen somebody dying.
To see somebody dying is not to see death, because what is happening inside the person is invisible to you. He is only changing the house; he is moving from this body to another body. But once that consciousness that is his life moves out of the body, the body is dead. The body has always been made of dead, material things. It is the consciousness within which radiates through all that the body is constituted of and makes it look alive.
And you know perfectly well, when you are depressed, sad, you look less alive. And when you are joyous, blissful, laughing, you look more alive. Life comes from the inner sources of your being and life is eternal; hence, death cannot exist. Death is only a change which you cannot see with your eyes.
There have been experiments done: if there is something like consciousness or soul in man... They have weighed a dying person. Certainly if something leaves him he will lose weight - it does not happen. Because he does not lose weight, the people who have been experimenting with such stupid things have concluded that there is no consciousness. Consciousness has no weight.
So first you have to understand that fear has not to be conquered; otherwise you will remain always afraid of the conquered fear - because the conquered fear is there. You may be on top of it, but things change. You may, in a certain weak moment, be defeated by the nonexistent fear again and it will be on top of you. And you do not always have the same vitality, the same aliveness; there are ups and downs. In every state when you are not feeling a well-being, fear will come back. And the miraculous thing is that fear has no existence except in your imagination.
You have not seen death. To see death there is one possibility, and that is deep meditation; the other possibility is to die. But the other possibility is not certain because death is such a great surgical phenomenon - the whole consciousness has to leave the body - and nature has made an arrangement that before people die they become unconscious.
Medical science learned it very late, that when you operate, first make the man unconscious. Either local or general, but some anesthesia, some unconsciousness has to be there. He will not be able to bear the pain - and this is about small surgery. Death is the greatest surgery. Your whole consciousness is taken out of your body. Naturally you become unconscious before it happens.
So even if you die - and you have died many times - you don't remember. Because you were unconscious, how can you remember? Memory has not made any record of it.
So the only certain way, a hundred percent sure, is meditation. Meditation creates the situation in which you know you and your body are absolutely separate. They are working together in deep harmony, in great synchronicity, but they are not one. Once you understand that they are not one, you know your consciousness is your life. And the moment life leaves the body, people think the body is dead.
It is always somebody else who dies. Have you observed it? You never die. One feels really great that somebody else has died and you have been alive for eighty years and still death has not come.
In fact, the longer you live, the less is the possibility of your dying.
The data is, most people die nearabout seventy-five. Then the rate of death starts falling. Nearabout eighty, less people die. Nearabout ninety, even less people die. Nearabout a hundred, very few people die. Nearabout a hundred and fifty, it is very rare to find somebody dying. And nearabout two hundred, there is no precedent. So if you can go on pulling yourself up to two hundred, you will not die. You will see everybody else dying and you will enjoy!
But seeing somebody else dying is not an experience of death. You have to go inward so deep that you are only pure consciousness. The body is surrounding you, but it is not inseparable from you.
You can see the gap. That very moment you have seen that death is a fiction - the greatest fiction.
But it goes on haunting people because nobody meditates, and when they die, the fear of death makes them so unconscious that it becomes impossible for them to experience what is happening.
From outside you cannot experience; from inside you can experience only with awareness. But that kind of awareness is very rare. Those who have managed to create, through meditation, that crystallization of awareness are agreed on the point that death does not exist. There is no question of fear.
And then you go on saying: "If you conquer the fear then death will not be scary anymore." Nobody knows anybody in the whole of history who has conquered fear. Even your greatest warriors are trembling inside. And you are making it completely upside down. First you will conquer fear.... That is a Don Quixote experiment. How are you going to conquer fear? - aikido, jujitsu, archery? Even nuclear weapons in your hand will not allow you to conquer fear.
Fear is a by-product of your unconsciousness, so the only way to get rid of it, to know its bogus reality, is to become conscious. It is not a question of conquering; fear has nothing to do with it.
Once you know what death is, fear disappears.
You are saying, "The other day I was sitting in a place in the hills where people were killed, and I saw that death is sweet." Great! Other people are killed and you feel that the death is sweet. If it is so sweet, why are you living? Join those dead people in the hills, get killed. And in India there are such simple ways of getting killed - just on M.G. road, traffic will kill you, you don't have to manage...
Strange laws exist in the world. If you are caught committing suicide, then the punishment is sending you to the gallows. A strange society we have created. The poor fellow was himself doing the same thing - that was crime. And now the punishment is the same crime. Now it is being done by the government, by the justice department. He himself may have failed, but now there is no possibility of any failure.
Death can be sweet if you move from one body, one existence, one form, with pure awareness into another and higher. Then it is sweet, really sweet. But not for others, only for you.
And you go on intellectually creating the whole question, based on absolute fallacies. You say, "Now I think..." Remember, thinking does not make any sense here. Here you have to know, not to think; here you have to experience, not to think.
Thinking is a poor substitute for experience - and a dangerous substitute, because it will prevent you from experiencing. Do you say to your girlfriend, "I think I love you"? Either you love or you don't, but from where does this "I think" come? And if the girl belongs to my commune, she is going to give you a good slap to wake you up from your thinking. Love is not a thinking.
But you say, "I think it must be more like this..." Just imagination, guesswork, that death helps one understand fear. Death makes one understand fear, but it is not the death of somebody else, it is your own death, and that too with the condition that you are conscious.
"... that first you experience death and she helps you see what fear is all about." Seeing the death of other people should create a sadness in you, not sweetness. And it is not going to help you to understand what fear is all about. Only your death... that too with an absolute condition. Moving out of the body with full awareness will not only allow you to understand fear, it will allow you to forget all about fear. It does not exist.
But people go on thinking about things which can only be experienced. It is one of the greatest problems, that thinking gives you substitutes and if you become satisfied with those substitutes, guesswork, then you will never encounter the real. It is because of this that I emphasize: first get rid of all your thinking. Be in a silent clarity, a transparency, so that you can see things as they are - not that you think about them or guess about them.
Then not only fear, many other things will disappear and many new things will appear in your experience. The same energy that was involved in fear, released, may blossom into flowers of love in your being. The same energy involved in anger may become a fragrance of tremendous joy in the silences of your heart.
You don't have many energies, you have only one energy. But that energy is invested in fear, anger, greed, jealousy. This same energy, once you are alert, centered in yourself, turns into blissfulness, into ecstasy, into gratitude, into love. And a strange thing which no religion has ever talked about:
every fiber of your being becomes prayerful - wordless, not addressed to any phony god. And all gods are phony. Simply out of gratitude arises the prayer towards this beautiful existence. Except for this existence, you don't have any sacred place. This is the only holy, sacred temple. There is no other temple. All other temples are false, substitutes to deceive and cheat you.
So get out of your misunderstanding and guesswork. Reality cannot be discovered by thinking and guesswork. You will come to stupid conclusions. And the difficulty is, you may cling to them.
Edna and Zabriski have a lovely Polish wedding in Chicago.
"Let us be good Americans," says Zabriski, "and have a black baby."
"Okay," says the young bride.
Nine months later Edna gives birth to a beautiful white baby. Next year their second baby is white, and a year later she gives birth to another white baby.
"We must be doing something wrong," says Zabriski. "I will ask my friend at work."
So Zabriski meets his friend, Dougie, the huge black foreman, and asks him why they could not have a black baby.
"Hey, man," says Dougie. "Have you got a prick that is fifteen inches long?"
"No,." answers Zabriski.
"Is your prick five inches wide?" asks Dougie.
"No," replies Zabriski.
"Well, that's your answer then," says Dougie. "You are letting in too much light."
COULD YOU PLEASE SAY SOMETHING ABOUT CURIOSITY? I OFTEN HAVE EXPERIENCED IT AS SOMETHING WHICH MAKES ME FEEL ALIVE AND EXCITED. BUT WHEN I TRIED TO MEDITATE, IT TURNED OUT TO BE A DISTURBANCE. AND NOW, WHEN I SIT IN YOUR PRESENCE, GETTING MORE AND MORE SILENT, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ANYMORE.
Anand Preeti, curiosity is childish. It certainly keeps you excited, but it has never made anyone wise, in tune with himself and the universe. Curiosity is a kind of itching in the head. You scratch, it feels good, but don't scratch too much; scratch in different places. But itching is not going to make your intelligence more pure, more clear, more far-reaching. That's why in meditation it becomes a disturbance. It is your old habit, so you go on being curious about everything, what it is.
But in meditation you have to remain centered within yourself: no curiosity, no thinking, no question.
And I am happy that you managed and that you can say, "Now when I sit in your presence, getting more and more silent, I don't want to know anything anymore." To not want to know anything anymore is to be at the stage of a sage. He knows nothing, he becomes again a child; he becomes immensely silent, no thought arises. He enjoys existence for the first time, because that old disturbance of knowing is no longer there.
There used to be a very knowledgeable man, Mahatma Bhagwandin. I came in contact with him when I was very young and he was very old. We used to go for walks in the forest and he knew about everything. He knew the names, Latin names, of all the trees, the flowers and their uses, medicinal uses, what miracles can be done with the roots or trees or flowers or leaves. The first day I heard him continuously for the three hours we were in the forest.
The second day I said to him, "You know so much, I don't think you are going to die."
He said, "What gave you this idea?"
I said, "Your great knowledge will certainly help you. I don't know anything, but I enjoy the trees. I don't know the name - and I don't see the point that the name is needed to enjoy the tree, the name is needed to enjoy the flower, or its medicinal qualities are to be known."
He was a very intellectual man, but when I said this to him there was silence for a few moments as we walked. And then he said, "Perhaps you are right. In fact I have never enjoyed anything, everything has been a problem: what are its qualities, what are its medicinal properties, how it can be used, in what quantities... You are perhaps right, that I have missed enjoying existence. I always look, curious for more knowledge."
The day he died it happened I was also in the same city. I was passing by and somebody informed me that Bhagwandin was on his deathbed. He was nearabout eighty years old. I rushed... he had almost become a skeleton; I had not seen him for five years. His last words to me were, "You were right. I wasted my life in unnecessary curiosity, I burned myself with knowledge. Innocence is the way to enjoy."
Anand Preeti, it is perfectly good that now you are not interested in knowing anything anymore. Keep alert about it. Mind is cunning, it comes from the back door. It will try a few times at least, but remain alert.
Knowledge is of no use. When knowledge is not there, wisdom blossoms.
Meditation is only a technique to throw out all knowledge and make you capable of seeing with innocent eyes. Then everything - the sounds of the birds, this immense silence, the sun passing through the bamboos - everything becomes such a joy that one wants to sing, one wants to play a guitar, one wants to dance, or one wants simply to sit silently and enjoy the tremendous miracle of this existence.
You are moving in the right direction. Keep on moving. Never forget for a single moment that mind will try... it is old, long, long cultivated by you. It takes a little time for it to understand that it is no longer welcome. Up to that moment one has to be very alert.
A Viking longship comes to the shore and out jumps a large, hairy Viking in full battle dress. He strides across the beach, climbs the cliffs, and trots into the nearest village. Finding no one around, he hammers on the door of one of the huts and a pretty girl opens it.
The big Viking grabs her by the arm and snarls, "Have you been raped lately?"
"No!" shrieks the terrified girl.
"Okay," says the Viking, "has your village been pillaged or burned down recently?"
The girl shakes her head. The Viking releases her and runs as fast as he can back to his ship. The ship sails further up the coast to another deserted cove. Exactly the same things happen.
The Viking arrives in another village and grabs the first girl he finds. "Have you been raped lately?"
he asks. "And has your village been burned to the ground in the last three weeks?"
The terrified girl says no to both questions and runs away.
The Viking takes off his helmet and scratches his head. "Well," he mutters to himself, "I wonder where the boys have got to?"
WHY DO I HAVE SO MUCH DIFFICULTY WHEN I HAVE TO DECIDE SOMETHING, FOR INSTANCE, WHETHER I SHOULD GO OR STAY HERE LONGER? I DO NOT SEEM TO BE ABLE TO SOLVE SUCH PROBLEMS.
Anand Tosha, you are asking the question to a wrong person because I don't have any experience of that type. Either I do it or I don't do it, but I am never wavering. This is the wavering mind: to be or not to be. But that is the nature of the mind. It cannot decide anything, it goes on and on... But have you noticed one thing? Whether you decide or not, something happens. Either you go or you remain. So why waste time? Just look directly into the situation, balance the alternatives. This is the only possibility right now for you.
If you have succeeded in being in deep meditation, there is no need. Meditation has a clarity - unwavering, unhesitating. It knows no alternatives, it simply goes on doing what the whole being says to do; it is undivided. But mind is split.
Now you are saying, "Why do I have so much difficulty when I have to decide something, for instance, whether I should go or stay here longer? I do not seem to be able to solve such problems." These are not problems. They indicate your divided mind, the split mind, and the trouble with the split mind is that whatever you do, you will repent. If you stay here you will continuously think, "It would have been better to have gone." If you go away, you will look back and you will think, "What kind of stupidity have I done? I should have stayed."
When you ask such questions to me, you put me in great trouble. I cannot decide whether you should go or you should stay. You just, on the level of the split mind, weigh - what are the cons and what are the pros? Why do you want to go? What is there that is pulling you? And why do you want to stay here? What is there that is stopping you from going?
Watch very impartially, as if it is not your problem but somebody else's problem. You have to work it out, and whichever side seems to be the weightier, do it. It will not be a hundred percent total, but at least you can attain seventy-five percent. If you want a hundred percent totality then this question, or any other question, is not the issue.
Meditate, so that the split mind disappears. The meditator simply goes, does things. He has no regret, no repentance; he never thinks for a single moment that he should have done something else which would have been better. He has put his whole totality in - nothing could be better than that.
That experience becomes one of tremendous transformation, when you put your whole totality there.
If you can be totally here, be here, then forget about going anywhere else. If you want to go, then go totally, then forget about me and this place. But do things with a totality of being; otherwise you will be always feeling guilty that you have not done the right thing, that you have missed the train unnecessarily. I have never worked that way.
I was teaching in the university, and without taking any leave from the university I was traveling all over the country, because leave was only twenty days per year and I was traveling twenty days per month.
The vice-chancellor called me and he said, "I don't want to lose you. You are part of our beautiful university; without you... nobody is going to replace you. But just take a little care - everybody thinks you are here and in the newspapers we hear that you have been lecturing in Madras, in Calcutta, in Amritsar, in Srinagar. It makes me embarrassed. People bring those news cuttings to me, saying, 'Look, he is in Srinagar.'"
I immediately wrote my resignation and gave it to him. He said, "What are you doing? I am not asking for your resignation."
I said, "You are not asking, but this is what I am doing with totality."
He said, "I was always afraid... that's why I was not mentioning it to you. Please take it back."
I said, "Now that is impossible, you will have to accept it. As far as my work is concerned, I have completed it in this university. You cannot call a single student who can complain against me. What people do in thirty days, I can do in one week, so the work has not suffered. What concern is it for you, where I am?"
He said, "It is not my concern. You just take your resignation back; otherwise the whole university, particularly the students, will kill me!"
I said, "There is no harm in it. You need to be killed, it is time. You are seventy-five."
He said, "You are a strange fellow."
I said, "I have been here nine years in this university. Have you come to know now that I am a strange fellow?"
In the evening he came back to my home and said, "You just take it back; I have not told anybody.
This resignation will hurt me."
I said, "I don't want to hurt you. What you said was true. You cannot give me that much leave - it is almost the whole year I am wandering around the country. But you cannot tell me that I am not teaching. I am teaching your people and I am teaching all around the country. I am teaching twenty-four hours a day."
He said, "I understand. You take the resignation back."
I said, "That is impossible, I never take anything back. And I am not angry at you - in fact, I wanted to get rid of this teaching job. When I can teach fifty thousand people, why should I bother with twenty people? It is a sheer wastage. You have helped me, you should feel good about it; you should have done it before!"
When my father heard about it, he came from his village to the university city and he said, "I know, with you nothing can be changed. I have not come to say to take your resignation back, because your vice-chancellor has written to me, saying, 'Come and try to convince him to take his resignation back,' but I know you more - he does not know you. So I cannot say anything about it. I have come only to say that if at any time you need money I will be always available, as long as I am alive."
I said, "I will not need money. I have never contributed anything to the family except trouble. And you have enough financial problems."
He said, "If you have said you are not going to take any money, there is no point in arguing with you.
I will do something on my own without asking you."
I said, "That is up to you."
What he did was, he made a beautiful house with all the facilities that I would need; he put money in a bank account so that in case I wanted, I could come back. He created a beautiful garden around the house - he knew my likings. And I was not even aware of it. I became aware of it when he died.
When he died, my brothers informed me, "This property is in your name and we all want to come to the ashram. So you have to sign a letter giving authority so that it can be sold and the bank account can be closed."
I said, "I don't possess anything and I have told my father not to do any such thing, but he never asked me." So I had my secretary give an affidavit on my account, saying that I don't write, don't sign anything, and she is allowed to do all kinds of transactions for me. The officials of that village knew me perfectly well, so they did not create any trouble. The house was sold, the account was closed.
If you have a clarity, you simply follow your light that goes on leading you, and you don't go astray here and there, you don't become accidental.
What you are asking, Anand Tosha, is to remain split, is to remain accidental. My suggestion is, meditate a little more so that this whole conflict disappears. Then whatever the result, whether you stay here or you go somewhere else, you have my blessings. It does not matter. What matters is your clarity and a decision, a conclusion out of that clarity.
Today let me leave you in silence.
Be utterly quiet, as if there is nobody here....
Yes, Beloved Master.