Cancer is basically a psychological disease; it is basically a disease of the mind, not a physical one. When the mind becomes very tense, so tense that it is intolerable, it starts affecting the body tissues. That’s why cancer exists only when civilization becomes very, very sophisticated. In primitive societies you cannot find cancer. People are not so sophisticated. The higher — by ‘higher’ it means complicated — the more sophisticated, the more complex a society is, the more cancer will happen….
Cancer has to disappear. Cancer can exist only in a certain neurotic state of mind. If the mind relaxes, sooner or later the body will follow and will relax. It is because of this fact that scientific investigation has not yet been able to find a cure for cancer. It is almost impossible to find a cure for cancer – and the day they find a cure for cancer they will create even more dangerous diseases in the world — because the cure will mean repression. The day they can find strong enough drugs to repress cancer, then some other disease will erupt. That poison will start flowing through some other channel.
That’s how it has happened down the ages. Simple diseases were cured and difficult diseases came into being You cure one disease, another disease comes in and the second one is more complex than the first. The first was a natural reaction of the body, the second is an unnatural, abnormal reaction of the body. You repress the second and the third will come, and the third will be even more difficult to tackle…and so on, so forth. Now cancer is at the top. If cancer is repressed then even more difficult diseases will erupt in the human body and the human mind.
For the last week I have known that 1 have cancer. From that time, except for a few moments of panic and fear, I have felt a deep calmness and relaxation coming into my being. Have I already given up my life, or is this the quietness of acceptance?
We have given up our lives at the very moment when we were born, because
the birth is nothing but a beginning of death. Each moment you will be dying more and more.
It is not that on a certain day, at hundred years old, death comes; it is not an event, it is a process that begins with the birth. It takes hundred years; it is mighty lazy, but it is a process, not an event. And I am emphasizing this fact so that I can make it clear to you that life and death are not two things. They become two if death is an event which ends life. Then they become two; then they become antagonistic, enemies.
When I say that death is a process beginning with birth, I am saying that life is also a process beginning with the same birth — and these are not two processes. It is one process: it begins with birth, it ends with death_ But life and death are like two wings of a bird, or two hands, or two legs. Even your brain has two hemispheres, separate — the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere. You cannot exist without this dialectic. Life is a dialectic — and if you understand this, a tremendous acceptance of death naturally comes to you. It is not against you, it is part of you; without it you cannot be alive.
It is just like the background of a blackboard on which you write with white chalk: the blackboard is not against the white chalk; it simply gives it emphasis, prominence. Without the blackboard your white writing will disappear. It is like day and night — you see it everywhere, but you go on behaving like blind people. Without the night there is no day. The deeper you enter into the dialectics…it is a miraculous experience. Without inaction there is no action; if you cannot relax, you cannot act. The more you can relax, the more perfection will be in your action. They appear to be opposites; they are not. The better you dissolve into sleep in the night, the sharper, the younger you will wake up in the morning. And everywhere in life you will find the same dialectical process.
You are fortunate to know that within seven days you are going to die, that you have cancer. Everybody has cancer, just a few people are lazy. You are speedy! American! Most people are Indians; even in dying, they will take time. They are always late, always missing the train.
I say you are blessed to know — because everybody is going to die, but because it is unknown when, where, people go on living under the illusion that they are going to live forever. They always see others dying. That logically supports their standpoint that, “It is always the other who dies. I never die.” You must have seen many people dying, giving you a strong support, a rational background that it is always the other who dies. And when you die, you will not know, you will be unconscious — you will miss the opportunity of knowing death. Those who have known death are unanimous in their opinion that it is the greatest orgasmic experience of life.
But people die unconsciously. It is good that there are diseases which are predictable. Cancer means that you have known seven days before — or seven months, whatever the time may be — that death is coming closer each moment. These seven days are not allowed to everybody. Cancer seems to be something you must have earned in your past life — because J. Krishnamurti died of cancer, Ramana Maharshi died of cancer, Ramakrishna died of cancer. Strange…three enlightened people who are not mythological, who have lived just now, died of cancer. It seems to be something spiritual! It certainly has a spiritual dimension.
I am not saying that all those who die of cancer are enlightened beings, but they can become enlightened beings more easily than anybody else because others go on living under the illusion that they are going to live; there is no hurry. Meditation can be postponed — tomorrow, the day after tomorrow. What is the hurry? — and there are more urgent things which have to be done today. Meditation is never urgent because death is never urgent. For the man who comes to know that cancer is going to strike within seven days, everything in life becomes meaningless. All urgencies disappear. He was thinking of making a beautiful palace; the very idea disappears. He was thinking to fight the next election; the whole idea disappears. He was worried about the third world war; he is no longer worried. It doesn’t matter to him. What happens after him does not matter — he has only seven days to live. If he is a little alert in those seven days he can live seventy years or seven hundred years or the whole eternity — because now meditation becomes a priority, love becomes a priority…dance, rejoicing, experiencing beauty, which were never priorities before. This week, the full moon night will be a priority because he will never see the full moon again. This is his last full moon. He has lived for years: moons have come and gone, and he has never bothered about it; but now he has to take it seriously. This is the last moon, this is the last chance to love, this is the last chance to be, this is the last chance to experience all that is beautiful in life. And he has no energy anymore for anger, for fighting. He can postpone; he can say, “After a week I will see you in the court, but this week let me be on a holiday.”
Yes, in the beginning you will feel sadness, despair that life is slipping out of your hands. But it is always slipping out of your hands, whether you know it or not. It is slipping out of everybody else’s hands whether he knows it or not. You are fortunate that you know it.
I have heard from the ancients that those who know how to live, automatically come to know how to die. Their death is a thing of beauty, because they only die outwardly; inwardly the life journey continues.
Your coming to know that you have cancer certainly will be shocking, will bring sadness and despair. But you are my sannyasin; you have to make this opportunity into a great transformation of being. These few days that you will be here should be the days of meditation, love, compassion, friendliness, playfulness, laughter; and if you can do that, you will be rewarded by a conscious death. That is the reward of a conscious life.
An unconscious life comes to die unconsciously. A conscious life is rewarded by existence with a conscious death. And to die consciously is to know the ultimate orgasmic experience of life, and to know simultaneously that nothing dies, only forms change. You are moving into a new house — and of course a better house, on a higher level of consciousness. You use the opportunity to grow. And life is absolutely just, fair. Whatever you earn you never lose it, you are rewarded for it.
Accept that death is just part of your life, and accept the fact that it is good that you have come to know beforehand. Otherwise, death comes and you cannot hear the footsteps, the sounds of death approaching you. That’s why I said you are fortunate: death has knocked seven days before. Use these days in deep acceptance. Make these seven days as joyful as possible; make these seven days, the days of laughter. Die with a joke on your face — the smile, the thankfulness, the gratitude for all that life has given to you.
And this I say to you: death is fiction. There is no death because nothing dies, only things change. And if you are aware, you can make them change for the better. That’s how evolution happens. That’s how an unconscious man becomes a Gautam Buddha.
In December last year they discovered a cancer of my uterus. For me it was like deciding to die and go on suffering, or come out of it. I let you come in totally, and became drowned in your love: the cancer disappeared. The last six months, even when it was not possible to see you, I felt you very close to me. Some friends of mine are sannyasins, and when I tell them this, they say I am running away from reality. Sometimes I think, and have doubts about what [feel. Are they right? What is reality?
Always listen to your own experience, because that is reality. You had cancer. And often happens that cancer can become a great opportunity, because now death is certain. Now there is no question of holding yourself back — death is going to take you away anyway. And because death was so close, you remembered me more, you loved me more — because there was no more time to postpone. For the first time you allowed me totally to be with you, and the cancer disappeared.
Cancer has many causes. One of the reasons is that your life is meaningless, loveless, that you are not really living — just dragging. You don’t have any reason to live, and the trouble is you don’t have any reason to commit suicide either. So in a sleepy way — like somnambulists, sleepwalkers — people go on from their cradle to the grave. It is a long journey, yet sleeping, they manage. They reach to the grave — or wherever they reach it turns out to be the grave….
I have been telling you continually to love, to be total. And for these few days there was no other alternative — death was coming already, you loved totally. You allowed me to be within you, and the cancer disappeared. Not that I have done anything; you have done something. If you had listened to me before, the cancer would not have happened at all. If you had loved with such intensity and totality before, you would not have been available to cancer. Now, after the cancer has disappeared, you are again getting into the mind, thinking that perhaps I have done a miracle. I have not done anything. You have done a miracle, and because you have been telling your friends, “My master has done the miracle,” they are telling you be more realistic, and then doubts arise in you. Your friends are right. Be realistic — although they themselves are not realistic. The only real thing is that the cancer disappeared because for the first time you had a totality of being, a togetherness of being which was more powerful than any cancer.
Now doubts are arising, and you will ask friends, and anybody will say, “Don’t be foolish. Don’t be superstitious” — although they cannot explain how and why the cancer disappeared, and they are asking you to be realistic. You ask them, “Then you be realistic and tell me how the cancer disappeared.” Let them have a little experience of cancer! Just let them think it over, let them waste their sleep over it —how did the cancer disappear?…because that is where the reality has to be decided.
And don’t expect a miracle from me. That is fiction. You have done a miracle; there is no doubt about it. And everybody is capable of doing such miracles. Life is such a mystery that if we really become silent, total, loving, it will change many things in you — in the body, in the mind, in the soul.
But don’t get foolish ideas from your friends; otherwise the cancer can appear again — because it is not my doing, it is your doing. If you become doubtful, and if you don’t know how it has happened, your doubt can create the cancer. It was your totality which dissolved it; your doubt can make a way for it to come back. And then none of your friends will say, “Be realistic.” Then you will have to go back to the same attitude, but it will be more difficult this time.
It is better not to get into the same trouble again. It will be difficult this time because you will be expecting — which was not there before. The first time you had cancer you were not expecting any miracle. Now if it happens, you will be loving, you will be trying to be total — but trying to be total is not total, trying to be loving is not loving. And deep down expecting that the cancer will be dissolved — it is not the same situation. And remember, don’t blame me, that the next time I have not helped you. The first time I had not helped you either. It is always you. Whatsoever happens to you, you are responsible.