Osho – You have lost the night; you could not wake up in the night. But it can be forgiven: it was night and you slept. But you cannot be forgiven when death is coming closer — now it is time to wake up! And if even death cannot wake you up, then what is going to wake you up? And if a person wakes up in death, then for him there is no more any birth, no more any death.

But a person can wake up in death only if he has tried hard to wake up in life, if his whole life has been a consistent effort to find a center in his being, a persistent effort to know “Who am I? Only then is it possible that when death comes… and death is a great shock! It shatters all that you have made. It takes away all that you have been clinging to; it dispossesses you of all your possessions. It simply leaves you utterly naked and alone. If death cannot wake you up, then you are not simply asleep — you are in a coma. And that’s how people are.

Every day millions of people die. They lived in darkness. they die in darkness. They lived dreaming, they die dreaming. They lived in a stupid way, they die in a stupid way. They miss all opportunities.

And three are the great opportunities in life. The first is birth. Only once in a while is a man so intelligent that he uses that opportunity — only very rarely. Maybe a Lao Tzu — hence the story.

It is said Lao Tzu lived in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years. Now this is nonsense, but it has some truth in it. It is not factual, but it has some truth in it. And that is the difference between the Western way of thinking and the Eastern. If you tell such a story to the Western mind, he simply says, “This cannot be. How can a person live for eighty-two years in the mother’s womb? And what will happen to the mother? Eighty-two years? This is not believable; this cannot be historical.”

The Western mind immediately asks about the facticity of the phenomenon — but it is a parable! It has nothing to do with facts; it certainly has something to do with truth. And truth can only be expressed through parables; there is no other way to express truth. Truth can only be expressed through metaphors, through poetry, not through history. It is poetry, pure poetry, and of tremendous power.

It means that when Lao Tzu was born he was already so mature, so ripe, that he used his first opportunity to wake up. Ordinarily it takes eighty-two years for a person to wake up, and even then, how many people wake up? People wake up at the time of death, but how many? — that too is very rare.

Lao Tzu must have been of immense intelligence, must have carried the intelligence from his past lives — maybe just a little bit was missing, just the last straw on the camel. He used the opportunity. The first opportunity is birth. It is as important as death. It is a death in a way, because the child in the mother’s womb lives in one way, one kind of life, and then is simply thrown out, expelled. He wants to cling to his home where he has lived for nine months, and so peacefully, so silently, without any worry, without any responsibility, in such warmth….

He clings to the womb, he does not want to go out. He feels it as a death, and it is natural — because what does he know about what is going to happen? One thing is certain: his home is being shattered; he is being thrown out of all his comfort and security. He knows he is dying! Hence the birth trauma — because the birth enters into the child’s consciousness as death. He dies and is reborn.

Lao Tzu used his first opportunity. And the same is the case with Zarathustra, another beautiful story. It is said that Zarathustra is the only child in the whole history of man who laughed when he was born. Children cry, they don’t laugh — and Zarathustra laughed — must have shocked his mother and… a real belly-laughter. He must have used the first opportunity.

These two names are known TO have used the first opportunity. The first shock, and they became awakened. The second opportunity in life is love. A few people have become awakened through love. And the second opportunity is available to more people than the first or the third — because birth is almost unconscious and so is death, but love can bring a little consciousness to your heart.

Hence my insistence on love — and Kabir’s insistence is also on love, because this is the opportunity many many people can use and become awake. If you love, you will have to drop your ego — and that will be the death, the death of the ego. If you love you will have to learn how to melt, merge, disappear. If you love you will have to know that there is much more to life than logic, calculation… there is much more to life than having money, more possessions, power.

If you love, you will have a glimpse of the divine. And if you go deep in love, you will start entering into the temple of God — that is the second opportunity. The society has destroyed it.

The first opportunity is very rare, but the second opportunity could have been available to almost everybody — that has been destroyed by the society. Your love has been contaminated. You have been brought up in fear, not in love. You have been brought up to fight, not to love. You have been brought up as if the whole existence is your enemy, not your friend — how can you love? Love has been made impossible by the society.

The only possibility of people turning to religion, the only possibility of revolution in people’s lives, has been destroyed by the society. Society is so much afraid of love that it is not afraid of anything else like it is of love. Love is the most potential and dangerous thing for your so-called society, because love will wake up people, love will stir people’s hearts. And they will start living through the heart, and they won’t listen to the head. And if they don’t listen to the head then the society will be at a loss; it will be impossible to dominate people who live through the heart. Only the head can be dominated only heads can be reduced to slaves. The heart is always the king, the master.

And the third opportunity is death — the last. If you have missed birth, if you have missed love, don’t miss death. At least the last chance should not be missed.

Source – Osho Book “The Fish in the Sea is not Thirsty”

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