Question – What is Death, and what exists after death?
Osho – If you think about what is, you will pervert i t. If you think about it, then you will impose your own conceptions on it. ’What is’ can be revealed only when there is no conception, no thought, no theory in you; when your mind is totally vacant; when your mind has become an emptiness, a nothingness; when your mind is just a womb, a receiver. When nothing from your mind is imposed, when your mind is naked and empty, only then is ’what is’ revealed because there is no one to pervert it – no one to imagine anything, no one to dream anything, no one to project anything.
One must approach reality completely vacant and empty, without any preconceived thoughts, without any prejudices, without any preconceptions of what is to be there. You must go into nowhere, you have to go into nothingness. Only then does your mind become just a receiver, a receptivity. And then, what is is revealed.
Even after that, when you have to assert it, express it, you will not be able to. You won’t be able to express what has been known. Language is not adequate, words are not enough Something so vast, something so multidimensional, something so unimagined, something so unknown, has come over you that vou can be struck dumb. The greater the realization, the less the possibility of expressing it.
The truth has never been said. It has been known, it has been lived, but never said. No word, no scripture, has expressed it. They have tried, endeavoured, taken pains to express it, but it has remained unexpressed, unknown. You can come to it only when you do not come with your scriptures; you can come to it only when you do not come with your theologies; you can come to it only when you do not come with your questions. A mute quest is required, not a verbal questioning.
And you can come to it at any moment. When you are under a tree – just sleeping, relaxing, doing nothing – you can come to it. Near a seashore – just sitting, doing nothing – and it can overwhelm you. Under the starry sky – just existing, just being; just present, not doing anything – it can penetrate you.
That is why there are glimpses of it in love. When you are in love, words cease, thinking ceases. When you are in love, something becomes silent in you. Then there is no communication – and still there is a communication. You are silent, but communicating. In your silence, something comes to you and something goes out of you. Religion points toward total silence. One must be silent to hear the creative process: one must be totally silent to know that-which-is. Every moment we are thinking and thinking. This thinking creates a barrier.
If you are listening to me and still thinking within yourself, then there will be no communication. When I am answering you, if you are still creating new questions – comparing what I am saying, thinking about whether it is right or not – then we are poles apart. Then there is no communication. Your thinking has come between us as a barrier, and that barrier cannot be crossed.
If you are just listening – and that is the miracle: to be just listening! – then even this communication that is happening right now between us can become a communication of what is. If you are just here – present, doing nothing then something from my eyes, from my hands, from the friends who have gathered here, from the whole situation that exists right here, can become an awakening and you can come into contact with what is.
And you ask, ”What is death?” One cannot know before dying. How can one know? You can think about it, but that will not be death, that will not be real. One has to die to know death and one has to live to know life. Do not think about death. While life is, live! Know life! And if you know it then you will know death also, because death is pinnacle: the peak of life, the completion of life. So do not ask what death is. It will come, and you will go through it.
But it is possible to go through death and still not know it. We are passing through life and still we have not known it. We are asking, ”What is death?” while we are alive. The reverse can also happen: when we are dying we may be asking, ”What was life?” A dying person asks what was life and a living person asks what is death!
A living person can come to know life. Know it, be one with it. Absorb it, drink it completely – eat it! Then death comes. When yon have known the day, the night comes. When you have known the day’s awakening, you will have to know the night’s relaxation and sleep. It is there. It is coming, it is hiding somewhere. It will come, but do not ask about it. Know what is here and now. Become a knower, a seer, so that when death comes, you will know it also.
A person who knows life, ultimately knows death also. And when he knows both, he knows that life is not against death nor is death against life. When he knows both, he knows that something unknown has come into being and that something unknown has left. Birth has been a door and death, too, has been a door, Something (the existence) has come in, and something has gone out. Nothing begins, nothing ends. There are births beyond birth and there will deaths beyond death. There will be births beyond death and there will be deaths beyond birth. The process is endless, the voyage is eternal.
Know what is, do not ask what will be. How can you know it? You can only think about it and create theories. Theories are important, meaningless. Feelings are potent, meaningful, so while you are alive, feel life. Then you will become capable of feeling death when you die.
It is as blissful to know death as to know life. It is as blissful to awaken in the morning as it is to go into deep sleep at night. Both are blissful. But you must know them while they are happening; you cannot know them beforehand. And if you ask someone, then what you know is second-hand – not a first hand knowledge, not a felt knowledge, not a realized knowledge, not a knowledge that has penetrated your ultimate being, that has come to you through your innermost core. The real knowledge always comes through seeing, through knowing firsthand.
First know life; do not ask what death is. Know life, and by knowing life you will come to know death also. What you are transcends both. You are neither life nor death. You have been living, you will be dying – your being transcends both. Do not identify yourself with life. If you identify yourself with life then you will think of death as your enemy. Know life and then you know that you are beyond – unidentified, someone who has come to life. And you will know death too – as a door going back, returning to the source. Life comes, death
comes, but the source remains beyond both.
Source – Osho Book “The Eternal Quest”