The moment of death is a great revelation


Osho talks in discourse to his disciples about a friend who is dying, Vipassana, and how to welcome death.

Vipassana in hospital

Sat Prem came to me last night. Vipassana is on her deathbed. He was very worried, shaken, immensely shaken, and rightly so. The moment of death of someone you have loved deeply brings your own death into your mind. The moment of death is a great revelation. It makes you feel impotent, helpless. It makes you feel that you are not. The illusion of being disappears.

Sat Prem was crying. He is not a man to cry easily, he is not a man to feel helpless easily; tears will not come to him. But he was shaken. Anybody will be shaken – because suddenly you see that the ground underneath your feet has disappeared. You cannot do anything. Somebody is dying that you love. You would even like to give your life, but you cannot. Nothing can be done. One simply waits in deep impotence.

That moment can make you depressed, that moment can make you sad, or that moment can send you on a great journey for truth – a great journey in the search for the bull.

What is this life? If death comes and takes it, what is this life? What meaning does it carry if one is so impotent against death? And remember, not only is Vipassana on her deathbed – everybody is on his or her deathbed. After birth everybody is on his deathbed. There is no other way. All beds are deathbeds, because after birth only one thing is certain, and that is death.

You are also dying, not only Vipassana. Maybe you are a little farther away in the queue, but that is only a question of time. Somebody dies today, somebody tomorrow, somebody the day after tomorrow. What is the difference basically? Time cannot make much difference. Time can only create an illusion of life, but the life that ends in death is not, and cannot be, the real life. It must be a dream. I would like you to become aware of it; then your search for the bull starts.

The search for the bull is the search for the real life, the authentic life, which knows no death. Life is authentic only when it is eternal. Otherwise, what is the difference between a dream and what you call your life? In the night, deep asleep, a dream is as true as anything, as real – even more real than what you see with open eyes. By the morning it is gone; not even a trace is left. In the morning when you are awake you see it was a dream and not a reality. This dream of life continues for a few years; then suddenly one is awakened, and the whole life proves to be a dream.

Death is a great revelation. If there were no death there would have been no religion. It is because of death that religion exists. It is because of death that a Buddha was born. All buddhas are born because of the realization of death.

Buddha passed down a street and he came across a dead man. He asked his servant, the driver who was taking him in the chariot, “What has happened to this man? What has happened to this man?”

And the charioteer could not lie. He wanted to lie – that’s what we are doing to each other – he wanted to lie to this young prince: Why unnecessarily disturb him? He is so young now. Why should he be bothered about death?

The story is beautiful. It says that he was just going to lie and avoid it and give some explanation or other, but the gods in heaven were watching and they immediately came into his being; they possessed him: The truth must be spoken; otherwise this Gautam Siddhartha will miss. They forced the driver to speak the truth. And in spite of himself, the driver found himself saying, “This man is dead, and everybody is going to be like that – even you, sir!”

“Even me?” Buddha asked. “Then take me back home. Then there is nowhere to go, then this whole life is false. I must not waste my time; then I must seek the eternal.”

That is the search for the bull.

Go, sit by the side of Vipassana – feel death. Don’t feel sorry for her. If you feel sorry for her, you miss the whole point. You miss a great opportunity, a great door. Don’t feel sorry for her; there is no need to feel sorry for her. She is perfectly beautiful. She is leaving this world with something gained inside.

The day she came to me, I became apprehensive and aware that her breathing was not right. Hence the name Vipassana. Vipassana means, awareness of breath. And I had told her to be as aware of her breath as possible. She was going to die – when was not important – and she was going to die by some deep breathing trouble. Her breathing was not rhythmic.

But she worked hard, and I am happy that she is dying with a certain integration, so she is not dying uselessly. Don’t feel sorry for her at all. You can, on the contrary, feel happy for her. She has worked hard. And whatsoever she has attained, she is going to carry into her other life. She has used this opportunity as well as possible – so whether she survives or dies is immaterial.

When you go and sit by her side, feel sorry for yourself. You are in the same boat, in the same plight. Death will knock on your door any day. Be ready. Before death comes, find the bull. Before death knocks, come back home. You should not be caught in the middle; otherwise this whole life disappears like a dream, and you are left in tremendous poverty, inner poverty.

The search for the bull is the search for the energy, the eternal energy, the very dynamic energy, of life. It knows no death. It passes through many deaths. Each death is a door for a new formation. Each death is a cleansing. Each death is an unburdening. Each death simply relieves you of the old.

Life, real life, never dies. Then who dies? You die. The ‘I’ dies, the ego dies. Ego is part of death; life is not. So if you can be egoless, then there is no death for you. If you can drop the ego consciously, you have conquered death. And in the search for the bull, the only thing that has to be done is to drop the ego by and by. If you are really aware, you can drop it in a single step. If you are not so much aware, you will have to drop it gradually. That depends on you. But one thing is certain: the ego has to be dropped. With the disappearance of the ego, death disappears. With the dropping of the ego, death is also dropped.

So go and sit by the side of Vipassana. Soon she will disappear. Don’t feel sorry for her – feel sorry for yourself. Let death surround you. Have the taste of it. Feel helpless, impotent. Who is feeling helpless, and who is feeling impotent? The ego – because you see you cannot do anything. You would like to help her and you cannot. You would like her to survive, but nothing can be done.

Feel this impotence as deeply as possible.

And out of this helplessness, a certain awareness, a prayerfulness, a meditation, will arise. Use her death – it is an opportunity. Here with me, use everything as an opportunity.

She has used her life beautifully. I can say goodbye to her very happily so that she can come back soon. She will be coming on a higher plane. And this death is going to help her, because with this body more work is not possible now. Whatsoever work she could do she has done. A new, fresh body will be needed for further work.

And she is not fighting, she is not struggling. She is simply surrendering by and by – and that’s beautiful. She is in a letgo. If she fights, she may survive for a few days more. That’s why doctors are not going to be of much help, because she herself is accepting death. And when somebody accepts death then nothing can help, because deep down the person is ready to die. And that’s beautiful, that one is ready to die – because one is ready to die only when one has come to feel something which is beyond death, never before. When one has come to feel the taste of deathlessness, a little glimpse maybe, one knows that one is not going to die. One is going to die and yet one is not going to die. When one comes to know that, then one relaxes. Then where is the fight? What is the point? One relaxes.

She is relaxing. By and by she will disappear. Use that opportunity! Be by her side. Sit silently. Meditate. Let her death become a pointer to you, so that you don’t go on wasting your life. The same is going to happen to you.

Osho, The Search, Ch 10 (excerpt)

Related discourse
  • Death is a door to God – 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

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