Autobiography Discourses Topic: Death — 30 November 2014

I was telling you yesterday about one astrologer who had promised to work on my life’s birth chart.

He died before he had done it, so his son had to prepare the chart, but he was also puzzled. He said, “It is almost certain that this child is going to die at the age of twenty-one. Every seven years he will have to face death.” So my parents, my family, were always worried about my death. Whenever I would come to the end of a seven-year cycle, they would become afraid. And he was right. At the age of seven I survived, but I had a deep experience of death – not of my own, but of the death of my maternal grandfather. And I was so much attached to him that his death appeared to be my own death.

In my own childish way I imitated his death. I would not eat for three days continuously, would not drink water, because I felt that if I did so it would be a betrayal. I loved him so much, he loved me so much, that when he was alive I was never allowed to go to my parents. I was with my maternal grandfather. He said, “When I die, only then can you go.” He lived in a very small village, so I couldn’t go to any school because there was no school. He would never leave me, but then the time came when he died. He was part and parcel of me. I had grown with his presence, his love.


When he died I felt that it would be a betrayal to eat. Now I didn’t want to live. It was childish, but through it something very deep happened. For three days I remained lying down: I would not come out of the bed. I said, “Now that he is dead, I do not want to live.” I survived, but those three days became a death experience. I died in a way, and I came to realize – now I can tell about it, though at that time it was just a vague experience – I came to feel that death is impossible. This was a feeling.

Then at the age of fourteen, my family again became disturbed that I would die. I survived, but then I again tried it consciously. I said to them, “If death is going to occur as the astrologer has said, then it is better to be prepared. And why give a chance to death? Why should I not go and meet it half way? If I am going to die, then it is better to die consciously.”

Life is the basis of all worries.
When you are going
to die anyway one day,
why worry?

So I took leave from my school for seven days. I went to my principal and I told him, “I am going to die.” He said, “What nonsense you are talking! Are you committing suicide? What do you mean you are going to die?”

I told him about the astrologer’s prediction that the possibility of death would confront me every seven years. I told him, “I am going into retreat for seven days to wait for death. If death comes, it is good to meet it consciously so that it becomes an experience.”

I went to a temple just outside of my village. I arranged with the priest that he should not disturb me. It was a very lonely, unvisited temple – old, in ruins. No one ever came to it. So I told him, “I will remain in the temple. You just give me once a day something to eat and something to drink, and the whole day I will be lying there waiting for death.”

For seven days I waited. Those seven days became a beautiful experience. Death never came, but on my part I tried in every way to be dead. Strange, weird feelings happened. Many things happened, but the basic note was this – that if you are feeling you are going to die, you become calm and silent. Nothing creates any worry then because all worries are concerned with life. Life is the basis of all worries. When you are going to die anyway one day, why worry?

If you accept death,
a distance is created.
Life moves far away
with all its worries,
irritations, everything.

I was lying there. On the third or fourth day a snake entered the temple. It was in view, I was seeing the snake, but there was no fear. Suddenly I felt very strange. The snake was coming nearer and nearer, and I felt very strange. There was no fear, so I thought, “When death is coming, it may be coming through this snake, so why be afraid? Wait!” The snake crossed over me and went away. Fear had disappeared. If you accept death, there is no fear. If you cling to life, then every fear is there.

Many times flies came around me. They would fly around, they would creep over me, on my face. Sometimes I felt irritated and would have liked to throw them off, but then I thought, “What is the use? Sooner or later I am going to die, and then no one will be here to protect the body. So let them have their way.”

The moment I decided to let them have their way, the irritation disappeared. They were still on the body, but it was as if I was not concerned. They were as if moving, as if creeping on someone else’s body. There was a distance immediately. If you accept death, a distance is created. Life moves far away with all its worries, irritations, everything. I died in a way, but I came to know that something deathless is there. Once you accept death totally, you become aware of it.

Then again at the age of twenty-one, my family was waiting. So I told them, “Why do you go on waiting? Do not wait. Now I am not going to die.”

Physically, someday I will die, of course. However, this prediction of the astrologer helped me very much because he made me aware very early on about death. Continuously, I could meditate and could accept that it was coming.

Death can be used for deep meditation because then you become inactive. Energy is released from the world; it can move inwards. That is why a death-like posture is suggested. Use life, use death, for discovering that which is beyond both.

Osho, Vigyan Bhairav Tantra Vol. 1, Ch 24, Q 3, (excerpt)