The second thing to understand about death is that death is the only certainty. Everything else is uncertain: it may happen, it may not happen. Death is certain, because in birth half of it has already happened, so the other end must be somewhere, the other pole must be somewhere in the dark. You have not come across it because you are afraid, you don’t move in the dark. But it is certain: with birth, death has become a certainty.
Once this certainty penetrates your understanding, you are relaxed. Whenever something is absolutely certain, then there is no worry. Worry arises out of uncertainty.
Watch: a man is dying and he is very worried. The moment death becomes certain and the doctors say, “Now you cannot be saved,” he is shocked. A shivering goes through his being, but then things settle, and immediately all worries disappear. If the person is allowed to know that he is going to die and death is certain, with that certainty a peace, a silence comes to his being.
Every person who is dying has the right to know it. Doctors go on hiding it many times, thinking, “Why disturb?” But uncertainty disturbs; certainty, never. This hanging in between, this being in limbo – wondering whether one is going to live or die – this is the root cause of all worry. Once it is certain that you are going to die then there is nothing to do. Then one simply accepts it, and in that acceptance a calmness, a tranquility.
So if the person is allowed to know that he is going to die in the moment of death he becomes peaceful. In the East we have been practicing that for millennia. Not only that, in countries like Tibet particular techniques were evolved to help a man to die. They called it Bardo Thodol. When a person was dying, friends, relatives and acquaintances would gather together around him to give him the absolute certainty that he was going to die, and to help him to relax, because if you can die in total relaxation, the quality of death changes. Your new birth somewhere will be of a higher quality, because the quality of birth is decided by death. And then, in turn, it will decide the quality of another death. That’s how one goes higher and higher, one evolves. And whenever a person becomes absolutely certain about death, a flame arises on his face – you can see it. In fact, a miracle happens: he becomes alive as he has never been before.
There is a saying in India that before a flame dies it becomes tremendously intense. Just for a moment, it flares up to totality.
I was reading a small anecdote:
Once there were two little worms. The first was lazy and improvident, and always stayed in bed late. The other was always up early, going about his business. The early bird caught the early worm. Then along came a fisherman with a flashlight, and caught the night crawler.
Moral: You can’t win.