Osho: What happens to Human Consciousness after death?

Osho Rajneesh on deathThis article, a word by word transcription of one of Osho’s talks from 20-30 years ago is very enlightening. You will see what is between you and enlightenment. Also, the stories and jokes are wonderfully funny… Read it.

What happens to Human Consciousness when the people of the world suddenly realize they are in the midst of an unstoppable, devastating plague that will kill most of the people they know?

It depends on different people. For one who is absolutely conscious, nothing will happen; he will accept it, just as he has accepted everything else. There will be no struggles, no anxieties.

As he can accept his own death, he can accept the death of his planet too. And this acceptance is not in any way a kind of helplessness but on the contrary, just seeing the suchness of things — that everything is born, lives and has to die.

This planet was not here four million years ago; then it was born. Perhaps it has lived its whole life. And anyway, even if the human mind manages to pull through this crisis created by the politicians, the planet cannot live long because the sun is dying. In four thousand years’ time it will have exhausted all its energy; and once the sun dies, this planet cannot remain alive. Our whole life energy comes from the sun.

The man of perfect awareness will simply accept it as a natural phenomenon. Just now, leaves are falling from the trees; the other evening, the wind was blowing strong and the leaves were falling just like rain. But what can you do? This is the law of existence. Everything comes into form and disappears into formlessness. So for the man who is awakened, there will not be any change in his consciousness. For the unawakened man there will be different reactions.

osho vertical horizontal

I have heard…

a man was dying; he was very old, had lived his life — there was no need to be worried about death. It was getting dark as the sun had set. The man opened his eyes and asked his wife who was sitting by his right side, “Where is my eldest son?”

The wife said, “He is sitting just in front of me on the other side of the bed. Don’t be worried about him; don’t be worried about anything in this moment. Relax and pray.”

But the man said, “And where is my second son?”

The wife said, “He is sitting by the side of your eldest son.” And the old man who was almost on the verge of death started to get up.

The wife said, “What are you doing?”

He said, “I am looking for my third son.” And the wife and the sons all felt how much he loved them. The third son was sitting just near his feet.

He said, “I’m here pappa. You relax, we are all here.”

He said, “You are all here, and you want me to relax?. Who is tending the shop?”

At the moment of death he is still concerned about the shop. It is very difficult to predict how different people’s unconscious minds will react. Their whole life will be reflected in their reaction, that much is certain. But everybody’s life has moved through different paths, different experiences, and the culminating point is going to be different. Death brings to the surface your essential personality.

Another old man was dying — he was a very rich man. His whole family was gathered there. The eldest son said, “What should we do when he dies? We will have to rent a car to take him to the graveyard.”

The youngest son said, “He always longed for a Rolls Royce. In life he could not sit in one, but at the least, dead, he can enjoy a ride — a one-way ride of course — to the graveyard.”

But the eldest son said, “You are too young, and you don’t understand a thing. Dead people don’t enjoy anything. It does not matter to the dead person whether it is a Rolls Royce, or just a Ford. A Ford will do.”

The second son said, “Why are you being so extravagant? Anyway, a dead body only has to be carried. I know a person who has a truck — it will be more comfortable, and cheaper also.”

The third son said, “I cannot tolerate all this nonsense. What is the need to be worried about Rolls Royces and Fords and trucks? Is he going to be married? He is going to die. We will just put him outside the house where we put all our garbage. The municipal truck will take him automatically, no expense at all.”

At this moment the old man opened his eyes and said, “Where are my shoes?”

They said, “What are you going to do with your shoes? You just rest.”

But he said, “I want my shoes.”

The eldest son said, “He is a stubborn man. Perhaps he wants to die with his shoes on. Let him have his shoes.”

And the old man, as he was putting the shoes on, said, “You need not be worried about expenses. I still have a little life left; I will walk down to the graveyard. See you there! I will die exactly by the grave. It hurts me that you are all so extravagant; even in my life I only dreamt about a Rolls Royce, or some other beautiful car. Dreaming is inexpensive, you can dream about anything.”

And, it is said, the old man walked to the graveyard, his sons and his relatives following him, and he died exactly by his grave — to save money. The last thought in a dying man is very characteristic of his whole life, his whole philosophy, his whole religion. It is a tremendous exposure.

One of the followers of J. Krishnamurti — an old man and very respected in India — used to come to me because his son was attorney general of Madhya Pradesh, and the MP court is in Jabalpur. He used to come to visit his son, and whenever he was there he made it a point to see me if I was in town. The old man had been Krishnamurti’s follower for almost fifty years. He had dropped all rituals, all scriptures; he was absolutely convinced logically, intellectually, that Krishnamurti was right. I used to say to him, “You should remember, intellectual conviction, logical or rational conviction is very superficial. In times of crisis it disappears, evaporates.”

But he used to say to me, “Fifty years — it cannot remain superficial.”

One day his son came to me and said, “My father is dying and I could not think of anybody else whom he would like to have near him — he loves you so much. So you just come with me; I have brought the car, there is not much time.”

So I simply went with him. As I entered through the door of his father’s room, very silently his lips were moving. So I went in, also very silently, because I wanted to hear what he was repeating. He was saying, “Ram Ram Ram,” the Hindu name of God. And for fifty years he had been saying there was no God.

I shook him. He opened his eyes, and he said, “Don’t disturb me. This is no time forĀ argumentation.”

I said, “I am not going to argue, but just to ask: what happened to those fifty years? From where does this repetition of the name of God come? You insisted that there is no God.”

He said, “That was okay at that time, but now that I am dying — and the doctors have said I cannot survive more than half an hour — just don’t disturb me; let me repeat the name of God. Anyway, who knows? He may be. If there is no God, there is no harm in repeating his name. But if there is a God, and you don’t die repeating his name, then you are on the blacklist. And I don’t want to go to hell, I have suffered enough here on the earth.”

I said, “That’s what I was saying to you, that intellectual conviction is of no use.”

He did not die; he survived. After three, four days I went to see him. He was sitting in the garden and I said, “What about that evening?”

He said, “Forget all about it. It was just a time of weakness, a fear of death that made me start repeating the name of God. Otherwise there is no God.”

I said, “It means you need another experience of dying? This was your first heart attack: you survived — the second will be coming soon. At the most you can survive the second, but the third you will not be able to survive. And remember what you were saying to me.”

He said, “Forget all that. I am absolutely certain there is no God.”

I said, “Just let death start approaching near you, and immediately your superficial, intellectual convictions will disappear. This idea that there is no God is not your own, it is borrowed. It is not your own exploration; it is not your own insight; it is not part of your consciousness but only part of your mind.”

People will behave differently.

You are asking: “What happens to human consciousness when the people of the world suddenly realize they are in the midst of an unstoppable, devastating plague that will kill most of the people they know?”

A few points can be certainly asserted. One, when the whole world is dying, all your relationships — your mother, your father, your girlfriend, your wife, your husband, your boyfriend, your children — do not mean anything. When the whole world is on the point of disappearing into death, into a black hole, the relationships that you have created in life cannot remain intact. In fact, behind our relationships we are strangers.

It makes one feel afraid, so one never looks into it. Otherwise, even when you are in the crowd, you are alone; even if your name is known to people, does that make any difference? You are still a stranger. And this can be seen… a husband and wife may have lived thirty years, forty years, fifty years together, but the more they live together, the more they become aware that they are strangers.

Before they got married they had the hallucination that perhaps they were made for each other, but as the honeymoon ends, that illusion disappears. And every day they start becoming distant and more distant — pretending that everything is all right, everything is fine, but deep down they know that their strangeness is untouched.

This whole world is full of strangers. And if it was going to disappear the next moment, if it was announced on all the radios and all the televisions, suddenly you would see yourself in your utter nudity — alone.

A small child had gone to the zoo with his father, and they were watching a very ferocious lion in his cage — he was walking up and down. The boy became very much afraid; he was not more than nine. He asked his father, “Dad, if this lion gets out and something happens to you… please just tell me what number bus I have to take to reach home!”

In such a situation he is asking a very relevant question. He cannot conceive that if something happens to his father, something will also happen to him; but in case something happens to his father and he is alive, he needs to know the number of the bus. The father was shocked that he was not concerned about him at all. Whatever happens to him happens — his concern is to know the number of the bus.

The very climate of death suddenly takes away all your masks, suddenly makes you aware that you are alone and all your relationships were deceptions, ways to forget your aloneness — somehow to create a family in which you feel you are not alone.

But death exposes without fail. And this is only about small deaths; if the whole world is going to die, all your relationships will disappear before it. You will die alone, a stranger who has no name, no fame, no respectability, no power — utterly helpless. But in this helplessness people will still behave differently.

An old man is about to have a date with a young woman; so he goes to the doctor, who prescribes him an aphrodisiac that will increase and prolong his libido. He takes his date to one of the best restaurants in town. When they have ordered their soup, he sends his date to powder her nose and then takes the waiter aside. “Put these pills into my soup,” he confides in him, “just before you bring it out from the kitchen.” The young lady comes back, but when, after fifteen minutes, the soup has not been served, the old man calls the waiter over. “Where is our soup?” he demands.

“It will be here in a few minutes,” replies the waiter, “just as soon as the noodles lie down again.”

At the time of death, the most important subject in the minds of people who are not conscious is going to be sex — because sex and death are two sides of the same coin.

Life is so full of mysteries: you will be surprised to know that when people are crucified, just as they are crucified they almost always ejaculate. Doctors have been thinking why, and they have come upon the explanation that those sperms, which are alive, seeing the situation — that the body is dead — rush out of it. Their life out of the body is only two hours, but in two hours they may find some other body, some other center.

First it was thought to be a very mysterious thing, that crucified people should ejaculate — but it is just as though your house is on fire and you start escaping out of it. Your sperms are living beings, and you are dying — why should they die with you? You have been just a house to them and the house is on fire — and everybody has the right to make an effort at least to save his life.

When the whole world is dying, most of the unconscious people who have been repressing their sexuality will think only of sex. They cannot think of anything else; all their interests and hobbies and religions will disappear — the world is dying, perhaps they can make love one more time before death destroys everything. They have been repressing their whole life’s libido, the sexual urge, according to the priests, according to the society and the culture — and now it does not matter. Everything is going to disappear; they don’t need any respectability, they don’t care about religion.

One man was told by his doctor that this would be the last night in his life. “As the sun rises in the morning, you will be dead. Everything has been done, but nothing seems to succeed. What do you want? If you have any wishes to be fulfilled, you have one night.”

The man simply rushed home. He told his wife, “This is my last night and I always wanted to make love to you with totality, but there were so many hindrances, inhibitions. And at this moment the only idea in my mind is, before I die, I should at least experience a total orgasm.”

He made love. In the middle of the night he again nudged the wife and said, “The morning is coming close. I will never be able to see you again. If I make love one more time, it won’t harm you.”

So he made love a second time, and as he felt — because he could not sleep; when death is going to knock on your doors, how can you sleep? As the morning was very close he again nudged the wife and said, “Darling, just one time more.”

The wife said, “Listen, you never think of others. You don’t realize the simple fact that in the morning I have to wake up. You will be gone, that’s okay, but I have to wake up — so just let me rest a little. And when you die there is going to be so much fuss, so much trouble — crying and weeping and all those things. You just go to sleep.”

Once you know the person is going to die, suddenly the small thread of relationship breaks down. The world disappearing into a black hole, in the ultimate death, perhaps may make people almost crazy, may bring out all their repressed sexuality, sensuality. But it will all depend on different individuals, how they have lived. If they have lived an uninhibited, natural life, each moment given its total share, then perhaps they will simply watch it — it is going to be the greatest tragedy, the greatest drama in the world. They will not do anything but sit silently and watch. But no general law can be established as to what people will do.

Only about the enlightened people can it be said, with absolute guarantee, that there will be no difference at all. They know that such is the nature of things. This is the whole approach of Gautam Buddha — the philosophy of suchness — that there is a time when the fall comes, and the leaves have to leave the tree.

When the spring comes there are flowers, and in the East particularly… the West has no idea about it; in the East it is not one creation, but every creation that goes into a de-creation — just as every man, after the whole day’s work, goes to sleep in the night. This a very potent idea. Each creation, after a time — they have even talked about the exact time, how long one creation lasts — goes into de-creation. It also needs rest. So for the enlightened person it is not anything unusual; it is part of existence itself. As the day has ended, the night will end also — and again the creation wakes up.

Modern physics is coming closer to the idea. First they discovered black holes: that in space there are strange black holes and if any planet or any sun comes close to the black holes it is pulled in and simply disappears. But science understands the balance in nature, so now they are saying that there must be white holes; perhaps the black hole is one side of the door, and the white hole is the other side of the door. From one side a planet or a star goes into the black hole and disappears from us, and from the other side, the white hole, a new star is born.

Every day new stars are born and old stars are dying; life and death is a continuous circle. If life is the day, death is the night — it is not against it; it is just rest, sleep, a time to be rejuvenated.

The man of understanding will not be disturbed by it. But the unconscious people will simply freak out, and they will start doing things they have never done. They have been controlling themselves and now there is no point in controlling, there is no need.

If it is known beforehand — which is not very possible, because with nuclear weapons it will take only ten minutes for the earth to disappear, so there is not much possibility that you will be informed in advance. Get ready! Just the shock of hearing on your radios or on your television sets that within ten minutes the world is going to collapse, you may get simply frozen, paralyzed — the shock will be so big and so unfamiliar.

Perhaps most of the people will die from shock, not from nuclear weapons. Just hearing that within ten minutes the whole world is going to die will be enough — the shock will destroy their fragile existence. So how people will behave is going to be only hypothetical.

Only about the enlightened ones I can say with absolute guarantee, on my own authority, that there will be no difference. If they are drinking tea, they will continue to drink tea; their hands will not even shake. If they are taking a shower, they will continue to take a shower. They will not be in shock; neither will they be paralyzed, nor will they freak out. Nor will they indulge in things which they have been repressing, because an enlightened man has no repressions in his being; he knows always only one word to say to nature — “yes.”

They will say “yes” to the disappearing earth, to the ultimate death — they don’t know the word “no.” There is not going to be any resistance on their part; and they will be the only ones who will die consciously. And the one who dies consciously enters into the eternal flow of life; he does not die.

Those who die unconsciously will be born on some other planet, in some other womb — because life cannot be destroyed, even by nuclear weapons. It can destroy only the houses in which life exists.

Article truth value: 5% (meaning: 95% is made up)

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