Vipassana’s body died this afternoon. Most of this chapter contains a description of the death and sannyasins’ reactions to it. Then follows a description of the celebration and Osho’s discourse about her death.
I would like to read you a few lines from Huub Oosterhuis…
The man who wants to live the life of a god on earth must go the way of every seed and die before he has rebirth.
For he must understand what going this way implies – to share the life and destiny of everything that lives and dies.
And like the smallest seed exposed to the sun and rain he has to die in wind and storm before he comes to life again.
I know your hearts are heavy, sad… that’s natural. But I would like also to help you to go a little beyond the natural. Because these moments are rare. In these moments you can sink very deep. You can also soar very high. The same energy that can become a sinking phenomenon, can become a soaring phenomenon also. The energy is the same. It depends on how you use it, how you transform it. A few basic things I would like to tell you.
First – happiness and sadness are not two things, but two aspects of the same energy. Hence happiness can become sadness; sadness can become happiness. In fact every day you come across times when you suddenly find that your happiness is turning into unhappiness. If you watch, you will be able to see that the wheel goes on moving from one polarity to another.
Whenever somebody dies – somebody you have known, loved, lived with, somebody who has become a part of your being – something in you also dies.
Vipassana had become a part of this commune, of this family. She was totally surrendered to me. Her devotion was complete. Of course you will miss her. A vacuum will be felt. That’s natural. But the same vacuum can be converted into a door. And death is a door to God.
Death is the only phenomenon left which is not yet corrupted by man. Otherwise man has corrupted everything, polluted everything. Only death still remains virgin, uncorrupted… untouched by the hands of man. Man would like to corrupt it also, but he cannot hold it, cannot possess it. It is so elusive. It remains unknowable – and man remains at a loss as to what to do with death. He cannot understand it. He cannot make a science out of it. That’s why death is still uncorrupted. And that is the only thing left now in the world.
Use these moments.
When suddenly death enters into your consciousness, your whole life feels meaningless. It is meaningless. Death reveals a truth. When suddenly you come across death, the very earth underneath you slips away. Suddenly you become aware that this death also implies your death. Every death is everybody’s death.
Never send a man to ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.
In death we are all equal. In life we may be different, separate. individuals. In death, all individuality, all separation disappears. Death reveals a fact about your life – that whatsoever you have been thinking as very concrete, real, is very filmy. It is dream stuff. It can be taken away from you any moment. So don’t be too much concerned with it… remain a little aloof.
This is not your home – at the most an overnight stay. As Vipassana is gone, everybody has to leave. A caravanserai – you stay for the night, and by the morning you are gone. Everybody is standing in the same line, in the same queue. So don’t feel sorry for Vipassana. Don’t feel sad for her If you at all want to be alert, aware, then be aware that your life – whatsoever you mean by it – is just a dream. Any moment it will be broken.
The life that you have been thinking of as true life is not true life. Death brings this truth home. It hammers deeply into your heart. That’s why it hurts. It is not Vipassana’s death that hurts you. It is something else… it is your own death. It is the awareness that life is not worthwhile. And how much we get involved in it, how much we get identified with it. And how much we are ready to pay for it – and it is not more than a dream.
Remember this… then you are using this situation for a tremendous awareness. Your whole life can be transformed – and then you will be grateful to Vipassana. And that will be a true respect for her. And when I say don’t feel sorry for Vipassana, I mean it. She has done well, tremendously well. She has died as one should die.
She accepted death. That is one of the most difficult things to do. Only if you are in deep meditation is that possible, otherwise not. Because the whole mind, the whole human mind, has been trained against death. We have been taught for centuries that death is against life… that death is the enemy of life… that death is the end of life.
Of course we are scared and cannot relax; cannot be in a let go. And if you cannot be in a let-go with death, you will remain tense in your life – because death is not separate from life. It is not the end of life. Rather, on the contrary, it is the very crescendo… it is the very climax.
And if you are afraid of the climax, naturally you will be unable – you will not be able in any way – to relax in life also, because everywhere in life, death will be felt to be hidden. You will be frightened.
People who are afraid of death cannot relax in sleep, because sleep is also a very small death that comes every day. People who are afraid of death are afraid of love also, because love is a death. People who are afraid of death become afraid of all orgasmic experiences, because in each orgasm the ego dies. One who is afraid of death will be afraid of everything. He will miss everything.
She relaxed. She died as I wanted her to die… in a deep let-go. She accepted death. She was not in any conflict… she was not struggling. And this is the criterion – that you have come to know something tremendously beautiful within yourself which is beyond death. One can relax in death only when one has come to feel something which is deathless.
Those few days she was in hospital were days of suffering and sadness for you, but not for her. I have been continuously watching her. I have been in contact with her continuously. She was relaxing.
She has gone into death without any struggle, without any fight on her part. Once you die that way then only one more birth is possible – not more than that. She will be born once more, that’s all. And then the wheel of life and death is finished for her.
You be happy for her – don’t feel sorry for her. She has attained to something very beautiful… you should feel jealous. (laughter) And then you will be able to give her a good farewell.
Remember, not only you are here – she is also here. I would like to tell a joke for her. It is not for you. (laughter)
During a seance the medium was offering to bring people back from the other world. Among those present was a nine-year-old boy. “I want to talk to Grandpa,” he said.
“You be quiet,” said the medium, annoyed.
“But I want to talk to Grandpa,” the boy insisted.
“Alright, little boy,” the medium said, and made a few hocus-pocus passes. “Here he is.”
“Grandpa,” said the little boy, “what are you doing here? You ain’t dead yet?”
That I would like to say to Vipassana – “What are you doing here, Vipassana? You aren’t dead yet!”
In a way, nobody ever dies. In a way, every moment everybody is dying. So when you go to give her the send-off, give the send-off as one gives to somebody who is departing on a long journey. Not to a dead person – to an alive person. Let this be a send-off of dancing, celebration, festivity. She was a musician and a dancer – and she would love it.
Dance when you go to give her the send-off this night. When fire starts consuming her body, dance as much as you can around her funeral pyre. Let your whole energy become a dance. Dance to orgasm… forget yourself completely. And give this send-off for her as if she is alive. She is alive. And if you really dance, many of you will feel her alive presence. A few of you, if you really celebrate the moment, will be able to see, actually be able to see her.
So don’t be sad – otherwise you will miss. Because when you are sad and gloomy and depressed, your eyes lose perceptivity. When you are happy and bubbling with some unknown joy, then your eyes are clear; then they have a clarity. And for this moment, deep clarity is needed, so that you can see the body burning on the funeral pyre, and you can also see the spirit moving away… farther away… to the other shore.
If you dance, and happily, gracefully, sing… It will be difficult I know – but not as difficult as you think. Once you do it, by and by you will feel that it comes easy. The same energy that becomes gloom starts moving, starts flowing, and becomes a dance. In the beginning you may feel a little hard, because you have completely forgotten how to dance. You have forgotten how to dance in life, so how to dance in death? I understand.
But once you start, the energy starts melting, and soon you will see you are dancing. And the sadness has disappeared, and your eyes are glistening with a new light… and you will be able to realise something. I am giving you a particular meditation for this night.
Vipassana has left – but don’t miss this opportunity. Death opens a door of the unknown. She will be moving into the unknown. You can also have a glimpse. The door will open for her, but you can have a glimpse of the door, and her movement into the unknown. So don’t be sorry there. Don’t be sad. If you want to be sad, then don’t go there, because your sadness will be a disturbance.
Go there dancing, happy, singing! And dance so totally that the dancer disappears and only the dance remains. All of my sannyasins – dance round the fire, and your orange, your fire colour, will become flames. And you are going to have a tremendous experience, a royal feast.
This is the way to give a send-off to a friend. And if you are happy, you help the other person to move easily into the unknown. If you are sad, it becomes difficult for the other to move away. Your sadness becomes heavy on the other person. It becomes like a rock, and hangs around the neck of the other.
Be happy! And let the other person also feel that she is remembered, that she is loved, that she is accepted… and that she is leaving a happiness behind her, a gladness behind her. In that moment it is easier for the other to move; very easy to move. Then there is no repentance, and one doesn’t want to cling.
All have to go – man, woman, all. In India, women are not allowed, but I would like everybody to go. Why should women be prohibited from a beautiful and great experience? Death is for all.
Even small sannyasins, kids, if they want to go, take them with you. Let them also face the truths. Let them also experience. Let them also start thinking along the line that even death is not bad, that even death is beautiful – so that they can accept.
Unless you accept death, you remain half, you remain part, you remain lopsided. When you accept death also, you become balanced. Then all is accepted – the day and the night, the summer and the winter, both the light and darkness.
When both are accepted, both the polarities of life, you gain balance. You become tranquil… you become whole. And remember always, my teaching is not for perfection. My teaching is for wholeness. […]
And if you think of wholeness, then death has to be given its due. Life is beautiful; death is as beautiful as life. Life has its blessings; death has its own blessings. Much flowers in life; but much flowers in death also… and something of that has flowered in Vipassana.
Go there all – men, women, children – and let death also be a festivity, a celebration. I would like you to not only teach how to live – I would like you to also teach how to die. If you can give a beautiful farewell to Vipassana, something deep within yourself about death will settle. You will start accepting it. And you will know deep down in your heart that death is also beautiful.
Remember, all that God gives you has to be taken in deep gratefulness – even death. Only then you become religious. A grateful acceptance of all, unconditional acceptance of all. So this night I send you on a pilgrimage. Death is one of the holiest of holies. And uncorrupted by man, yet virgin. Don’t miss this opportunity.
And Vipassana’s death has been a blessing to her. Very few people die that way today. People have completely forgotten how to live, and they have completely forgotten how to die. They don’t know anything. Their life is ugly – their death is ugly.
She has died very meditatively. Just before she entered the hospital she had completed a Vipassana course – a course in deep buddhist meditation. She had come to see me just before she entered hospital. I had asked her how she had been feeling after the Vipassana meditation. She wanted to say something, but could not. Something deep has happened to her – and it is difficult to say anything when something deep happens to you.
Just the other day the Vipassana leader, Paritosh, told me that she had come twice to him also, while doing the meditation course. She wanted to say something. Twice she tried, but she couldn’t say anything – and then she left. Something was happening that was beyond words. She has chosen a right moment to die… she was very clever. (a ripple of quiet laughter)
One has to die. But she has chosen a very right moment – immediately after she completed her Vipassana course; actually after she had earned the right to be called Vipassana. I had given her the name knowing that this is going to be her path. She has chosen a right moment to leave the world.
Go happily… with deep prayer. If you cry, cry – but cry with happiness. If tears come, let them, but let them be tears of prayer, love, gratitude. Let them be tears of celebration.
Tears are not necessarily of sadness, remember. Tears have nothing to do with sadness. They come only when something overpowers you, overwhelms you. Maybe it is happiness, maybe it is sadness. Whenever something is so much that you cannot contain it, it starts flowing through the tears. Tears are just symbolic of something overflowing. So if you want to cry, cry, but let them have the quality of a song. If tears come, let them flow, but let them have the quality of a dance.
The Hindu way of burning the body is very significant. It is significant for the soul that has departed, because the soul can see the body being burned, reduced to ashes. It helps detachment. It gives a last shattering, a last hammering shock – because when a person dies, it takes a few hours for him to recognise that he is dead. And if the body is buried underground – as for Christians and Mohammedans – then it takes many days for the person to recognise that he is dead. With the Hindu way of burning, immediately it becomes a realisation that the body has been left.
Vipassana is going to be there. It is good for her that she can see her body being burned, and turned dust unto dust. It is good for her. It is good for you because the same is going to happen to your body also. Let it be a great meditation.
Now I will not delay you any more. She has to go long… beyond the stars. For ten minutes sit in silence with me, and then you go…
Life is beautiful… has its own blessings. Death has its blessings too. Much flowers in life, but much flowers in death also… and something of that has flowered in Vipassana.
Remember all that God gives has to be taken in deep gratefulness – even death… only then you become religious.
Osho, Nothing to Lose But Your Head, Ch 22 – 12 March 1976 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium