Path to Siva: A Catechism for Youth

34 How Do We Prepare For Death?§


An artist captures the cremation fires. The body has been cleaned, wrapped in white cloth and placed on a pyre of wood. Though a natural sadness attends death, there is no reason for fear.§


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 through 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.§


GURUDEVA: 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.§