A TALK TO STUDENTS ~ AFTER THE DEATH OF A STUDENT
DECEMBER 31, 1971
“Why is it necessary to have it brought close to us when death is the surrounding condition of this kind of existence in which we are? And ten million people are dying every day. Tens of millions of people. It is because we have no real imagination. We only have subjective imagination. What we ourselves subjectively feel. We see somebody we know lying dead before us and death becomes real. When people die somewhere else, it is not real for us. The whole of mankind is caught in an inexorable position from which there is not such very great hope of escape. When we see something immediately in front of us; when we have a shock in seeing the consequences of our own stupidity, then we become aware of something. This universal stupidity, this universal recklessness is again part of the general conditions of our existence. Yesterday we spoke about love and we said that to love means to love all. It means to be able to put oneself in the place of all that exists. It is to share in the joys and sufferings of all, at least of all life. But who is capable of this? Only a soul of very great strength who has passed through a very great deal of suffering. But it cannot be otherwise than a reminder for us, something to bring us back to the reality that we don’t wish to be facing. All of us may say quite glibly, “we may die at any minute”. But this means nothing, if we say or think it. Why is this? Because of man’s roots that are deeply embedded in illusion. He can’t tear himself out of this illusion. It is so deeply built into us to turn our backs on reality, to clutch at our dreams, that even if we are brought out of them by some shock, we come back again. Don’t think that I have set myself the task of bringing you into an awareness of reality in this time that we are together. This is not possible. If some of you can do this in your life, and find what it really is, then this will be a wonderful thing, because not so many people do. But at least every one of us should set ourselves not to turn our faces away. It is very hard for me to convey this to you in a way that doesn’t seem as if it is something negative or unhappy. It isn’t like that. This unhappiness is really the condition of this illusory existence. Unhappiness comes from there being something in us which knows that this life oughtn’t to be as it is, and yet we will continue to cling to it. Everyone who let’s go is happy for letting go. You see, you oscillate between a false kind of happiness and a false kind of unhappiness. But where is there real suffering and real joy? When you once begin to understand you will no more run away from suffering than you will cling to joy, because you will know that these two are twins, inseparable from one another.”
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