Alive or dead

‘Some people’, said the Mulla to himself one day, ‘are dead when they seem to be alive. Others, again, are alive although they seem to be dead. How can we tell if a man is dead or if he is alive?’
He repeated this last sentence so loudly that his wife heard. She said to him: ‘Foolish man! If the hands and feet are quite cold, you can be sure that he is dead.’
Not long afterwards Nasruddin was cutting wood in the forest when he realised that his extremities were almost frozen by the bitter cold.
‘Death’, he said, ‘now seems to be upon me. The dead do not cut wood; they lie down respectably, for they have no need of physical movement.’
He lay down under a tree. A pack of wolves, emboldened by their sufferings during that harsh winter, and thinking the man dead, descended upon the Mulla’s donkey and ate it.
‘Such is life!’ the Mulla reflected; ‘one thing is conditional upon another. Had I been alive you would not have taken such liberties with my donkey.’

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A person in meditation may look dead, but that person would be extremely alive. An office going person may look alive, but in reality would be more dead and more dangerous than a dead.
It is not the physical condition that Nasruddin is here referring to know the live status. However, we are conditioned to just see the externals and so his wife represents majority of people who do not understand what is being alive.