Of Death and Dying
DEVOTEE: I would like you to speak of death and dying. What can you tell me of death and dying?
PAPAJI: How will you know if I speak of death, how will you know and how will I know? Nobody has described what death is. No one has described it.
If at the time of death, you remove your dress, this garment, if you remove your dress who dies? Is it the dress or you? The dress is removed, you still remain, you see. Now what difference is there between removing the garment and removing the body, too, when it’s all worn out? What difference does it make to you? Nobody has been able to say, ‘I am dead’. Only others say, ‘He is dead’. No one says, ‘I am dead’. I can never die. Clothes can be thrown away. Bodies can be thrown out. You see many times in the dream you have been attacked by a tiger or bitten by a snake and you have seen your own death, isn’t it? You have seen your own death. When you wake up you know you were never dead. It was only a dream.
[After a pause, Papaji adds]
There’s no other heaven after death. Heaven is here now itself.
DEVOTEE: And hell is also here now.
PAPAJI: Here yes. Now you are in heaven. But that’s only a notion. Are you in heaven or not?
DEVOTEE: I’m in heaven, yes.
PAPAJI: It’s a notion imposed upon you that you are not in heaven. It’s a notion imposed by your own self and that is the impediment. You have to rid of all the impediments that I am not free and you must do it yourself. That’s all you have to do. You have come here and you have affirmed, you have stated that you are bound, haven’t you? That’s why you are here.
You have repeatedly affirmed ‘I am bound. I am suffering. I will die.’ Isn’t it? These are the notions you have entertained till now and to get rid of these notions you have simply to get rid of these ideas that you’ve affirmed generation after generation. That’s all you have to do. You don’t have to call for freedom anywhere. Freedom is within you, waiting with outstretched hands to hug you, but you turn your back on it. You have your own notions, your own ideas, and your own intentions. ‘I am bound. I am suffering.’ Who is now bound and who is suffering? Find out who you are. You cannot be the dress. You cannot be the hair. You cannot be the nails. You cannot be the skin. You cannot be the bones. Likewise, you cannot be the mind. You cannot be the ego. You cannot be the senses. Rejecting this which you are not, see what is revealed in front of you. These you are surely not.
You are not the hair. You can throw away the crop of hair, still you are there. If your hand is bad, have it amputated, still you are there. Fix another wooden hand, still you are you. Likewise, if the eye is taken out, still you are there. Which is why after having given up everything, thrown away everything, still you remain, you see. ‘I’ will still remain. That does not die. So your question pertains to whom? That I do not know. It is not for the one who dies, because that one I am pointing to does not die and is never born. So you have to arrive home and recognize yourself, know who you are. Simply get rid of the wrong notions that you have entertained all these years. You have full conviction that I am, I am the body, I am the mind, I am the senses, I am this manifestation. These are all notions and these vanish when you are sleep. Sleep also is an ignorant state. Even then you don’t see anything, do you? You don’t see any of these things that you see in the waking state, but you sleep happy and you experience happiness also. You say next morning, ‘I slept very happy. I was very peaceful. I didn’t dream anything’, you see. Don’t you say it? So who was awake when you slept? That you are. That you must be. That is already free. Even the states of sleeping and dreaming and waking doesn’t touch that, you see, let alone death. That does not die. That will never die and That you are. When you are not that? Even when you say, ‘I am not’, even then you know, you know that who is not. You are conscious of ‘I am not’. You are conscious of even this, ‘I am not’. ‘I am suffering’, you are conscious of this suffering. ‘I am happy’, you are conscious of this happiness. You are somewhere else, isn’t it?
Now from there you can ask a question about death and dying. Reach there and see. Go back home and see who dies. Notions will die, wrong notions will die. They don’t exist. What exists now will always exist. What does not exist, it can’t exist even now. Reality is reality. Reality is always real and unreality is always unreal. What is unreal is not here even now. What is real must be here even now and at all times.
[Later] Keep quiet. Get rid of all notions, intentions, and ideations. That’s all you have to do.
DEVOTEE: Sounds like quite a bit of unlearning. Sounds like unlearning to me.
PAPAJI: Unlearning, yes. Unlearn. That’s it! Because learning is notions only. Get rid of all learning, all knowledge that you have stored in the bag, all what you have seen, heard, smelt, tasted, just for a while. All these belong to the past. Keep aside what you have heard. What is unlearned will reveal itself.