Death: An occurring art.

In the past two months, one of my very dear friends, a great soul whom I respected like my elder sister, passed away due to cancer. Three of my very close friends and one who is a fatherly figure to my wife, were detected with cancer and are fighting it gracefully. I was reminded of this question once asked to Osho, and his response.


“Death is already happening. Whether you face it or not, whether you look at it or not, it is already there.

It is just like breathing. When a child is born, he inhales. he breathes in for the first time. That is the beginning of life. And when one day he becomes old, dies, he will exhale.

Death always happens with exhalation and birth with inhalation. But exhalation and inhalation are happening continuously. With each inhalation you are born; with each exhalation you die.

So the first thing to understand is that death is not somewhere in the future, waiting for you, as it has been always pictured. It is part of life; it is an ongoing process — not in the future, here, now.

Life and death are two aspects of existence. simultaneously happening together.

Ordinarily, you have been taught to think of death as being against life. Death is NOT against life — life is not possible without death. Death is the very ground on which life exists. Death and life are like two wings: the bird cannot fly with one wing, and the being cannot be without death. So the first thing is a clear understanding of what we mean by death.

Death is an absolutely necessary process for life to be. It is not the enemy, it is the friend. And it is not there somewhere in the future, it is here, now. It is not going to happen, it has been always happening. Since you have been here it has been with you. With each exhalation it happens — a little death, a small death — but because of fear we have put it in the future.

The mind always tries to avoid things which it cannot comprehend, and death is one of the most incomprehensible mysteries. There are only three mysteries: LIFE, DEATH and LOVE. All these three are beyond mind.

So mind takes LIFE for granted; then there is no need to inquire. That is a way of avoiding. You never think, you never meditate on life; you have simply accepted it, taken it for granted. It is a tremendous mystery. You are alive, but don’t think that you have known life.

For DEATH, mind plays another trick: it postpones it. To accept it here and now would be a constant worry, so the mind puts it somewhere in the future — then there is no hurry. When it comes, we will see.

And for LOVE, mind has created substitutes which are not love. Sometimes you call your possessiveness your love; sometimes you call your attachment your love; sometimes you call your domination your love — these are ego games. Love has nothing to do with them. In fact, because of these games, love is not possible.

Between life and death, between the two banks of life and death, flows the river of love. And that is possible only for a person who does not take life for granted, who moves deep into the quality of being alive and becomes existential, authentic. Love is for the person who accepts death here and now and does not postpone it. Then between these two a beautiful phenomenon arises: the river of love.

Life and death are like two banks. The possibility is there for the river of love to flow, but it is only a possibility. You will have to materialize it. Life and death are there, but love has to be materialized — that is the goal of being a human. Unless love materializes, you have missed — you have missed the whole point of being.

Death is already happening — so don’t put it in the future. If you don’t put it in the future there is no question of defending yourself. If it is already happening — and it has been already happening always — then there is no question of protecting yourself against death.

Death has not killed you, it has been happening while you were still alive. It is happening just now and life is not destroyed by it; in fact, because of it, life renews itself each moment. When the old leaves fall, they make space for the new leaves to come. When the old flowers disappear, the new flowers appear. When one door closes, another immediately opens. Each moment you die and each moment there is resurrection.

A person who is really living is not in any way afraid of death. If you are living rightly you are finished with death, you are already too grateful, fulfilled. But if you have not lived, then the constant worry continues, ‘I have not lived yet and death is coming. And death will stop all; with death there will be no future.’ So one becomes apprehensive, afraid, and tries to avoid death.

In trying to avoid death, one goes on missing life. Forget about that avoidance. Live life. In living life, death is avoided. In living life, you become so fulfilled that if this very moment death comes and the future stops, you will be ready. You will be happily ready.

You have lived your life; you have delighted in existence; you have celebrated it; you are contented. There is no complaint, no grumbling; you don’t have any grudge. You welcome death. And unless you can welcome death, one thing is certain — you have not lived.

The proposition ‘God is’, is not a proposition; it is a statement of someone who has lived unexpectedly, without any expectations, who has lived in wonder. God is not a logical hypothesis; it is an exclamation of joy. It is just like, ‘Aha!’ — It doesn’t mean anything more. It simply means, ‘Aha!’ so beautiful, so wonderful, so new, so novel, and beyond anything that you could have dreamed. Yes, life is more adventurous than any adventure that you can imagine. And life is pregnant, always pregnant, with the unknown.

Once you expect, everything is destroyed. Drop the past; that is the way to die each moment. Never plan for the future; that is the way to allow life to flow through you. And then you remain in an unfrozen state, flowing. This is what I call a sannyas — no past, no future, just at this moment alive, intensely alive, a flame burning from both the ends, a torch burning from both the ends. This is what LET-GO is.”

Osho: Ancient Music in the Pines Chapter #8 Chapter title: Three Mysteries Q 1 (Excerpts)

ज़िंदगी इक हादसा है और कैसा हादसा
मौत से भी ख़त्म जिस का सिलसिला होता नहीं……………… जिगर मुरादाबादी

zindagī ik hādsa hai aur kaisā hādsa
maut se bhī ḳhatm jis kā silsila hotā nahīñ ………………JIGAR MORADABADI

Life is a mishap and what a mishap it is,
death too can’t end the succession of life.

Two songs were gushing to be featured here. One was from “Safar” – Hai ye kaisi dagar, chalte hain sab magar, koi samjha nahin, koi jaana nahin….Zindagi ka safar…” and the other one was sung by Manna Dey of “Anand” (1971), written by Yogesh and composed by Salil Choudhary – Zindagi Kaisi hai Paheli Haaye…and I thought of picking that one here.

ज़िंदगी ...
कैसी है पहेली, हाए
कभी तो हंसाये
कभी ये रुलाये
ज़िंदगी ...

कभी देखो मन नहीं जागे
पीछे पीछे सपनों के भागे
एक दिन सपनों का राही
चला जाए सपनों के आगे कहाँ
ज़िंदगी ...

जिन्होने सजाए यहाँ मेले
सुख-दुख संग-संग झेले
वही चुनकर ख़ामोशी
यूँ चली जाए अकेले कहाँ
ज़िंदगी ...

8 thoughts on “Death: An occurring art.”

  1. Fantastic as usual. We live and die with every breath. But, we cannot hold the breath and not exhale for fear of death!!

  2. So beautifully explained. One of the best blogs from you Rajiv. Your concepts are so clear… Or on preparation of this blog they get clear… Always keep wondering 😊

  3. The line : In trying to avoid death, one goes on missing life!
    It touched me. Rajiv bhai gave us a very good food for thought as every time.
    Live life fearlessly without fearing death.
    Every thing or anything has an expiry date, we can not read for all.
    You put it so simply, inhale and exhale.
    So let us all enjoy 🎊

  4. “My candle burns at both ends
    It will not last the night;
    But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
    It gives a lovely light.”

    – Edna St. Vincent Millay

  5. Rushikesh Rajendra

    Vagaries of life and the postponement of death it seems dries up the flow of the river of love. An unabated overflow of unconditioned and eternal love possibly could breach these ‘banks’ or boundaries and then what would we experience … Pure Bliss 🌷🙏🌷

  6. Pratapsingh Patankar

    Fantastic, true philosophy of life and death but no one accepting it. It is very difficult to digest the reality because possessive nature of human mind. Great article !!!!!

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