How Do We Prepare For Death?

Path to Siva Commentary, Lesson 34


For our "Great Departure" we prefer to be at home in a religious, uplifting environment, in a clear minded high state of consciousness, having resolved all differences and fulfilled all obligations. There is nothing to fear: "Death is a blissful, light filled transition." We then get settled in the inner worlds with like-minded people of similar religious beliefs.

Path To Siva, Lesson 34.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

This morning we're reading from Path To Siva, Lesson 34.

"How Do We Prepare For Death?

"Our rishis and holy scriptures assure us that death is a blissful, light-filled transition from one state to another, as simple and natural as changing clothes. It is not a horrid experience to be feared. In fact, ancient sages called death man's most exalted experience. Our soul never dies; only the physical body dies. We neither dread death nor look forward to it, for we know that life, death and the afterlife are all part of our path to perfect oneness with God. Death is a quick transition from the physical world to the astral plane, like walking though a door, leaving one room and entering another. If we are blessed with the knowledge that our transition may be soon, we fulfill obligations so that we have nothing on our mind except our sadhanas. We make amends and resolve differences with others, forgiving and letting go of conflicts of the past so that we are free of guilt and worry and don't carry these karmas into future births. We also execute our will, distributing our possessions and duties, not leaving these tasks to others. Then we turn to God through meditation, japa and study of our holy teachings. Many Hindus go to sacred places to make their Great Departure, as it is called. Varanasi is the most famous for this. It is ideal to be conscious and clear of mind at the time of death. Therefore, we minimize the use of drugs and heroic efforts to keep the body alive. When nearing transition, if hospitalized, we return home to be among loved ones. In the final hours of life, we seek the Self God within and focus on our mantra while family keep prayerful vigil. At death , we seek the grace of God Siva as we strive to leave the body through the crown chakra at the top of the head, entering the clear white light and beyond in quest of liberation."

And then we have Gurudeva's quote:

"Death itself is not painful. Death itself is blissful. You don't need any counseling. You intuitively know what's going to happen. Death is like a meditation, a samadhi."

Thought it was interesting, I was reading the Lesson of The Day this morning and the Nandinatha Sutra of the day was on this subject.

"Seeking A Natural Death At Home.

"Siva's devotee welcome life-saving medical interventions, but in their last days avoid heroic, artificial perpetuation of life and prefer not to die in a hospital but at home with loved ones, who keep prayerful vigil."

Interesting timing. So that definitely is a key point and we made this in a number of articles we've published over the years about death and dying. That we want to be in a religious environment during your last few days. An environment that's uplifting. Cause the goal it to be in as high a state of consciousness as you can at the time of transition. Not to be groggy or kind of just sleepy and not really in a positive and religious state of mind. So we want to get into a religious state of mind, the highest state of consciousness we can be in. And to do that it's very helpful to be at home and to be surrounded by family.

The other point that's made in the sutra. We welcome life-saving medical interventions but not in the last days. So we don't want to be hooked up to machines that manage to extend our life two more weeks but lower our consciousness. You know it's not worth it for two more weeks of life that we don't avoid those kind of things when it's actually going to help us come back to normal living. But if it's just adding a couple of weeks to our life that wouldn't normally be there then it's not really recommended by Gurudeva. And of course, doctors may have to be convinced of that because the western approach to medicine is, there is no afterlife. Therefore, every day you can add to this life is a valuable addition. Doesn't matter what the quality of life is, it's the quantity of life. Cause this is the only life you've got so we're going to stretch it out two more weeks. Fortunately insurance pays for it so.

Well we don't believe that. We believe in reincarnation. So we're going to come back. Plenty of days in the future to live. More interested in the quality of life than the quantity of life during the last portion of life. And the quality of life is increased by being at home, being in a religious atmosphere and then going in in consciousness as far as you can.

In terms of preparation, how do we prepare for death? The question itself, its text is nicely specific. We want to fulfill any obligations we have so that our mind is clear of those. Want to make amends and resolve differences with others. And of course it's always best if we don't put that off to the point of death. It might take quite a while trying to do some of that every year. Better approach but we resolve things cause we want to be free of guilt and worry and not carry these karmas into future births.

On the practical side we need to take care of a will that distributes our possessions and duties, anything of a legal nature in documents should be taken care of. And then, we've got all that out of the way. We only have to one thing which it says: Turn to God. That's what's left. So we do these steps systematically and then we're free and can just focus on our mantra and trying to be in a nice religious mood and higher state of consciousness.

As it says earlier in the text here, there's nothing to fear about death. Sometimes I'm asked about what happens at death and part of the answer I always give is: Well you're the same person. You don't become a different person just because you don't have a physical body. You're the same person. As it says here it's like moving to a different room. But you're the same person. If your physical body's in a lot of pain then you don't have that pain anymore so maybe a little bit happier person. Free from inconvenience of pain. But you're the same person. You haven't, nothing really has happened except you dropped of the physical body. But the physical body is just physical. It's not really who you think you are as a person. Your likes and dislikes, your abilities. You know, you're the same person. Well in that sense there's nothing to fear, you're just in a different place. And in terms of the place its the same place we experience in our deeper dreams.

Many, there's a few different types of dreams. The simplest type of dream is just our own imagination, playing back recent mental impressions. Sometimes in a reasonable way, sometimes in a comical way, sometimes in a scary way. But what the impressions that have gone into the mind recently tend to play back in just an ordinary dream. But deeper dreams, we're actually interacting with other people. And that's the same place we go to when we drop off the physical body. We're interacting with other people who don't have physical bodies. But we're the same person. So in that sense there's nothing to fear.

And, one of, some of Gurudeva's writings talk about where when we get settled in the inner worlds, like-minded people group. In the physical world like-minded people are all spread out. So they're not all in one place. You take Kauai. The musicians in Kauai they don't all live on the same street. Music street. So some live over there on the west side, some on the north shore, some here, some there. They're all spread out. But in the inner worlds people with similar interests tend to group together. We could have all the musicians in one place trying to talk about creating new forms of music or something interesting.

Likewise people of similar religions group together on the physical plane they're all spread out. So we tend to group together. And as well as low-minded people group together. All the criminals get together and start discussing how to be a better criminal. So they don't, they're not spread out either. Interesting way the inner world works there.

The key point just to summarize it is trying to make it a, the final days a religious experience. Not just getting stuck in hospital consciousness, emergency room consciousness, extended life machine consciousness. To try and get into a religious frame of mind in a religious environment. Going within. Having settled everything.

Thank you very much.

Aum Namah Sivaya.

Photo of  Gurudeva
When heart and mind are freed of baseness, when desires have been tempered and excesses avoided, dharma is known and followed, and good conduct naturally arises.
—Gurudeva