You are jogging along the road. Your shadow appears behind you; it also runs with you. Everyone can see the shadow; no one can deny it. And yet it can be said that there is no shadow because it has no entity of its own. The shadow exists because your body obstructs the sunlight. When the light is covered by your body, a shadow is formed; when the sun comes above your head, no shadow is formed because the sunrays are not obstructed. If we were to make a human figure of glass, no shadow would ever appear because the rays would pass through the glass.
When light is hindered, a shadow is formed; a shadow is merely an absence of light. So if a person says the shadow exists, he is not wrong. But this is a half-truth. He should further add that the shadow does not exist. Then the truth becomes complete. This means a shadow is something which exists and yet does not exist. But with our way of thinking, we cannot see anything unless it is divided into two independent parts.
Once a man was tried for murder. He had killed a man, and those who had seen the crime being committed had come forward as witnesses.
One witness said, “The crime was committed in the open and there were stars shining in the sky. I saw the stars as well as the murder.”
He was followed by another eyewitness who said, “The crime was committed inside the house, near the door, close to a wall. There are bloodstains on the wall, and since I was standing beside the wall, my clothes were also stained with blood. This murder took place inside the house.”
The judge was puzzled. How could both be telling the truth? Obviously, one of them was lying.
The murderer began to laugh.
The judge asked what was so funny.
The man said, “Let me tell you that both of them are right. The house was incomplete; the roof had not yet been laid – the stars could be seen above. The murder took place under the open sky, but close to the door, close to the wall which bears the bloodstains. The house was almost ready; the walls had been raised, only the roofing was not yet done. So both are right.”
Life is so complicated that even the things we find contradictory in it turn out to be right. Life is highly complex. Life is not the way we think it is – it contains many contradictions; it is very vast.
In one sense, death is the greatest truth – because the way we are living will come to an end; we will die the way we are, and the framework we have created will also be destroyed. Those we see as constituting our whole world – wife, husband, son, father, friend – they will all die. And yet death is a falsehood, because there is someone who dwells inside the son who is not the son and who will never die. There is someone who dwells inside the father who is not the father and who will never die. The father, of course, will die, but there is someone within him besides – different from the father, separate, more than any relative – who will never die. The body will die but there is someone within the body who never dies. Both these things are simultaneously true. So both these things need to be kept in mind to understand the nature of death.