You Want a Next Life To Perfect Yourself


Let us consider, go into, this question of death. Have you asked why you are frightened of death? Apparently most people are. Some don’t want even to know about it, or if they do, they want to glorify it. Or some invent a theory, a belief, an escape – an escape such as resurrection, or reincarnation. The majority of the people who live in the East believe in reincarnation – you all do, probably. That is, a permanent entity, or a collective memory, is reborn again in the next life – isn’t it? That is what you all believe; to have a better opportunity, to live more fully, to perfect yourself, because this life is so short, this life can’t give you all the experience, all the joy, all the knowledge, therefore – let’s have a next life! You want a next life where you will have time and space to perfect yourself, so you have that belief. This is escape from the fact – we are not concerned with whether there is or there is not reincarnation, or whether there is continuity or no continuity. That requires quite a different analysis. We can see briefly how that which has continuity is that which has been, that which has been yesterday will continue today, through today to tomorrow. And such a continuity is within time and space. This is not intellectual, you can observe it very simply for yourself. And we are frightened of this thing called death. We are not only frightened of living but we are also frightened of this unknown thing. Are we frightened of the unknown, or frightened of the known, of losing the known? That is, the family, your experiences, your daily monotonous existence – the known – the house, the garden, the smile to which you are accustomed, the food which you have eaten for thirty years, the same food, the same climate, the same books, the same tradition – you are frightened of losing that, aren’t you? How can you be frightened of something you don’t know?

So thought is frightened not only of losing the known but also thought is frightened of something which it calls death, unknown. As we said, fear cannot be got rid of, but it can be understood only when the things that produce the fear, like death, are understood. Now man throughout time has pushed death far away; the ancient Egyptians for instance lived to die. Death is something in the distance, that time-space interval between life and that which we call death. Thought, which has divided this, divided the living from the dying, thought keeps it apart. Do go into it, Sirs, it is very simple if you do so. Thought keeps it separate because thought has said, ‘I don’t know what the future is; I can have a lot of theories if I believe in reincarnation, it means I must behave, work, act, now – if I believe that. What you do now matters when you die – but you don’t believe that way. You believe in reincarnation as an idea, a comforting idea, but rather vague, so you don’t care what you do now. You really don’t believe in karma although you talk a great deal about it. If you really, actually, vitally, believed in it, as you believe in earning money, in sexual experience, then every word, every gesture, every movement of your being would matter, because you are going to pay for it in the next life. So that belief would bring tremendous discipline – but you don’t believe, it is an escape, you are frightened because you don’t want to let go.

And what are you letting go? Look at it. When you say, ‘I am afraid to let go’ – what are you afraid of? Letting go what? Do look at it very closely. Your family, your mother, your wife, your child? Were you ever in relation with them? Or were you related to an idea, to an image? And when you say, ‘I am afraid to let go, to be detached’ – what are you thinking of being detached from? Memories? Surely memories, memories of sexual pleasure, memories of your becoming a big man, or a little man climbing up the ladder, memories of your character, memories of your friendship – just memories. And you are afraid to let those memories go. However pleasant or unpleasant they may be, what are memories? They have no substance whatsoever. So you are frightened of letting go something which has no value at all, memory being that which has continuity, the bundle of memories, a unit, a centre.

So when one understands living, that is, when one understands jealousy, anxiety, guilt and despair and when one is beyond and above them, then life and death are very close together. Then living is dying. You know if you live according to memories, traditions, and what you ‘should be’, you are not living. But if you put away all that, which means dying to all that you know – freedom from the known – this is death, and then you are living. You are living, not in some fantastic world of concepts but actually living, not according to the Vedas, the Upanishads which have no validity; what has validity is the life that you lead every day, that is the only life you have, and without understanding it, you will never understand either love, beauty, or death.

We come back to that original thing, which is: why there is not this flame in our heart. Because if you have examined very closely what has been said (not verbally, intellectually, but examined it in your own mind, in your own heart), then you will know why you haven’t got it. If you know why you haven’t got it, if you feel it and live with it, if you are passionate in your search for why you haven’t got it, then you will find that you have it. Through complete negation, that thing which alone is the positive, which is love, comes into being. Like humility, you cannot cultivate love. Humility comes into being when there is total ending of conceit, vanity, but then you will never know what it is to be humble. For a man who knows what it is to have humility is a vain man. In the same way when you give your mind and your heart, your nerves, your eyes, your whole being to find out the way of life, to see what actually ‘is’ and go beyond it, and deny completely, totally, the life that is lived now, in that very denial of the ugly, brutal, in its complete denial, the other comes into being. But you will never know it either. A man who knows that he is silent, or knows that he loves, doesn’t know what love is, nor what silence is.