Osho questions the assumption that illness causes death, and that it is death we are afraid of….

  Illness and death                                    

The fear of death is the sum total of all our illnesses. Death in itself, however, is not an illness. Death has nothing to do with illness; it is not even remotely connected with it. It is a different matter if illnesses precede death, but there is no cause-and-effect relationship between the two. It is beside the point that man dies following an illness, but one need not be mistaken and think that illness causes death.

Perhaps the reverse is the case: because a man comes close to death he grabs on to illness. No one ever dies of illness. As death approaches he begins to catch illnesses. As death draws near his body becomes weak and his receptivity towards sickness increases. He becomes vulnerable and he begins to look for illnesses. The same illness would not be able to affect him were the man closer to life. Perhaps it would not have been able to catch hold of him.


Do you know there are some moments when you are more receptive to illnesses, while there are some when you are not? In moments of disappointment and sadness a person becomes vulnerable to illness, while a man full of hope and optimism becomes unreceptive to it. Even illness does not enter you without your willingness to accept it. Your inner acceptance is needed.

Hence, no matter how many medicines are given to them, those who are of a suicidal mind can never be cured. Their minds remain unreceptive to medications. Their minds go on seeking illnesses, inviting diseases with open arms, but keeping their doors very tightly closed as far as medications are concerned.

No, no one ever dies of illness. Rather, one becomes vulnerable to illnesses because of approaching death. That’s why illness occurs first, then death follows. We normally think what happens first is the cause, and that which follows it is the effect. That’s erroneous thinking. Illness is not the cause. Invariably the cause is death. The illness is merely the effect. So the fear of death in our minds is really the fear of illness. First of all, we create the fear of death by adding up all our illnesses.

We are not afraid of death,
we are afraid of illness.

You will be surprised, but the mind is so possessed by the known that we find it difficult even to let go of our known illnesses. It is even difficult to give up our known miseries. Most physicians hardly ever cure your illness, they merely persuade you to drop the illness. Most medicines do nothing to your illness, they simply give you courage to get rid of it. …

(Osho: And Now, And Here)


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