A few months ago my friend and I were visiting his dying father. Lots of people were around. His body was about finished. To most people he was indifferent but when everyone left he suddenly opened his eyes and told us, “I feel like I have two bodies: one body is sick and the other is completely healthy.”
We told him, “That’s right! The healthy body is the real you, so stay with that one.” He said, “Okay,” and closed his eyes.
As we sat with him, the sick energy around the hospital bed changed. We couldn’t believe this new energy; it was as if we were in darshan with you. Such beautiful silence. I felt a bit strange saying these words to someone who was really experiencing this. Whatever I said wasn’t really my experience, just something I’d thought about. After we left he improved for a while, went home, and died peacefully in his bed.
Beloved Osho, even though I’ve been with you for ten years, I felt so ignorant in front of this man who was ready to let go of everything with such trust and clarity and peace.
Geeta, the experience that you went through always is possible when someone is dying. All that is required is a little alertness. The man who was dying was aware — not much awareness is needed for this experience.
At the moment of death your physical body and your spiritual body start separating. Ordinarily, they are so much involved with each other that you don’t feel their separation. But at the moment of death, just before death happens, both the bodies start getting unidentified with each other. Now their ways are going to be different; the physical body is going to the physical elements, and the spiritual body is on its pilgrimage onwards, to a new birth, in a new form, in a new womb.
If the person is a little alert he can see it himself, and because you said to him that the healthier body is you, and the body that is sick and dying is not you…. In those moments, to trust is very easy because it is happening just before the eyes of the person himself; he cannot identify with the body that is falling apart, and he can immediately recognize the fact that he is the healthier one, the deeper one.
But you could have helped the man even a little more — this was good, but not good enough. Even this experience of the man, of getting unidentified with the physical body, immediately changed the energy in the room; it became silent, peaceful.
But if you had learned the art of how to help a dying man, you would not have stopped where you stopped. A second thing was absolutely necessary to tell him because he was in a trusting state — everybody is, at the moment of death.
It is life which creates problems and doubts and postponements, but death has no time to postpone. The man cannot say, “I will try to see,” or, “I will see tomorrow.” He has to do it right now, this very moment, because even the next moment is not certain. Most probably he is not going to survive. And what is he going to lose by trusting? Death anyway, is going to take away everything. So the fear of trust is not there; time to think about it is not there. And a clarity is there that the physical body is getting farther and farther away.
It was a good step to tell him, “You are the healthier body.” The second step would have been to tell him,
You are the witness of both the bodies; the body that is dying is physical, and the body that you are feeling is healthy is psychological. But who are you? You can see both the bodies… certainly you must be the third; you cannot be one of these two.”
This is the whole process of the bardo. Only in Tibet have they developed the art of dying. While the whole world has been trying to develop the art of living, Tibet is the only country in the world which has developed the whole science and art of dying. They call it the bardo.
If you had told the person, “This is good that you have taken one step, you are out of the physical body; but now you have got identified with the psychological body. You are not even that; you are only awareness, a pure consciousness, a perceptivity….” If you could have helped the person to understand that he is neither this body nor that body, but something bodiless, formless, a pure consciousness, then his death would have been a totally different phenomenon.
You saw the change of energy; you would have seen another change of energy. You saw silence descending; you would have seen music also, a certain dancing energy also, a certain fragrance filling the whole space. And the man’s face would have shown a new phenomenon — the aura of light.
If he had taken the second step also, then his death would have been the last death. In the bardo they call it “the great death,” because now he will not be born into another form, into another imprisonment; now he will remain in the eternal, in the oceanic consciousness that fills the whole universe.
So remember it — it may happen to many of you. You may be with a friend or with a relative, your mother, your father. While they are dying, help them to realize two things: first, they are not the physical body — which is very simple for a dying man to recognize. Second — which is a little difficult, but if the man is able to recognize the first, there is a possibility of the second recognition too — that you are not even the second body; you are beyond both the bodies. You are pure freedom and pure consciousness.
If he had taken the second step, then you would have seen a miracle happening around him — something, not just silence, but something more alive, something belonging to eternity, to immortality. And all of you who were present there would have been overwhelmed with gratitude that this death has not been a time of mourning, but it has become a moment of celebration.
If you can transform a death into a moment of celebration, you have helped your friend, your mother, your father, your brother, your wife, your husband. You have given them the greatest gift that is possible in existence. And close to death it is very easy. The child is not even worried about life or death; he has no concern. The young man is too much involved in biological games, in ambitions, in becoming richer, in becoming powerful, in having more prestige; he has no time to think of eternal questions.
But at the moment of death, just before death is going to happen, you don’t have any ambition. And whether you are rich or poor makes no difference; whether you are a criminal or a saint makes no difference. Death takes you beyond all discriminations of life and beyond all stupid games of life.
But rather than helping people, people destroy that beautiful moment. It is the most precious in a man’s whole life. Even if he has lived one hundred years, this is the most precious moment. But people start crying and weeping and showing their sympathy, saying, “This is very untimely, it should not happen.” Or they start consoling the person, saying, “Don’t be worried, the doctors are saying that you will be saved.”
These are all foolishnesses. Even the doctors play a part in these stupid things. They don’t tell you that your death has come. They avoid the subject; they go on giving you hope. They say, “Don’t be worried, you will be saved,” knowing perfectly well that the man is going to die. They are giving him a false consolation, not knowing that this is the moment when he should be made fully aware of death — so acutely and so impeccably aware that pure consciousness is experienced. That moment has become a moment of great victory. Now there is no death for him, but only eternal life.
Osho, The Razor’s Edge, Ch 3