Life begins at the point of your past life’s death.
When you die, on the one side one chapter of life, which people think was your whole life, is closed. It was only a chapter in a book which has infinite chapters. One chapter closes, but the book is not closed. Just turn the page and another chapter begins.
The person dying starts visualizing his next life. This is a known fact, because it happens before the chapter closes. Once in a while a person comes back from the very last point. For example he is drowning, and he is somehow saved. He is almost in a coma; the water has to be taken out, artificial breathing has to be given, and somehow he is saved. He was just on the verge of closing the chapter. These people have reported interesting facts.
One is, that at the last moment when they felt that they were dying, that it was finished, their whole past life went fast before them, in a flash – from birth to that moment. Within a split second they saw everything that had happened to them, that they had remembered, and also that which they had never remembered; many things which they have not even taken note of, and that they were not aware were part of their memory. The whole film of memory goes so quickly, in a flash – and it has to be in a split second because the man is dying, there is no time, like three hours to see the whole movie.
And even if you see the whole movie you cannot relate the whole story of a man’s life, with small, insignificant details. But everything passes before him – that is a certain, very significant phenomenon. Before ending the chapter he recollects all his experiences, unfulfilled desires, expectations, disappointments, frustrations, sufferings, joys – everything.
Buddha has a word for it, he calls it tanha. Literally it means desire, but metaphorically it means the whole life of desire. All these things happened – frustrations, fulfilments, disappointments, successes, failures… but all this happened within a certain area you can call desire.
The dying man has to see the whole of it before he moves on further, just to recollect it, because the body is going: this mind is not going to be with him, this brain is not going to be with him. But the desire released from this mind will cling to his soul, and this desire will decide his future life. Whatever has remained unfulfilled, he will move towards that target.
Your life begins far back before your birth, before your mother’s impregnation, further back in your past life’s end. That end is the beginning of this life. One chapter closes, another chapter opens. Now, how this new life will be is ninety-nine percent determined by the last moment of your death. What you collected, what you have brought with you like a seed – that seed will become a tree, bring fruits, bring flowers, or whatever happens to it. You cannot read it in the seed, but the seed has the whole blueprint.
There is a possibility that one day science may be able to read in the seed the whole program – what kind of branches this tree is going to have, how long this tree is going to live, what is going to happen to this tree – because the blueprint is there, we just don’t know the language. Everything that is going to happen is already potentially present.
So what you do at the moment of your death determines how your birth is going to be. Most people die clinging. They don’t want to die, and one can understand why they don’t want to die. Only at the moment of death do they recognize the fact that they have not lived. Life has simply passed as if a dream, and death has come. Now there is no more time to live – death is knocking on the door. And when there was time to live, you were doing a thousand and one foolish things, wasting your time rather than living it.
Osho, From Misery to Enlightenment, Ch 9, Q 1 (excerpt)