The dictionary meaning of death is ‘the permanent end of anything.’ So when we feel we are going to die, it is such a fearful state and many a times we feel that all others may die except me. Or, most of the times we just shy away from the very thought. People fear death because they do not know what will be after death. Fear is due to ignorance. We feel, but we cannot understand; we fear but we do not know. In darkness there is great fear; in light everything is clear. Krishna explains in the Gita that this knowledge is like the light that reveals everything in truth. Krishna is dispelling all fear of death which is the ultimate fear of this whole creation and if we hear it (Bhagavad Gita from Krishna) submissively we can overcome the principle of death. Krishna is revealing that transcendental wisdom, which brings us beyond death. He awakens us to that eternally blissful, joyful state of eternal consciousness. He explains that the soul, who is the real person, who lives within the temporary residence of this material body is a part of Him and it is the soul, the conscious person that is the enjoyer and the sufferer. The body is just a place, a field where we either enjoy or suffer.
Radhanath swami has beautifully explained in his teachings- “Each moment of life is infinitely precious, if we utilize it for the purpose that lord Krishna has given. “ayur harati vai pumsam” Srimad Bhagavatam describes the nature of time in this way. That with every rise and every setting of the sun, we are one day closer to death. Time is such an inconceivable energy of god. You cannot see, touch, taste, or hear it. It is so subtle and invisible but yet at every moment it is destroying everything. The highest of the highest of the Himalayan Mountain, time will make it into little piles of dust. It will burnout the sun, will evaporate every ocean and will devastate the physical lives of every living being right from Brahma down to the little insects.”
Radhanath Swami in his book ‘The Journey Home’ explains how he once saw a hawk taking a large fish to the abode of death. In his own words he says,“The unsuspecting fish, who knew nothing but a life in the river, went about its routine like any other day, but in an instant was ripped out of its reality to meet with death. Like that fish, we routinely live our lives hardly aware that, at the least expected moment, the yellow-eyed hawk of fate in the form of crises, tragedy or even death, may wrench us out of our comfortable environment. We regularly hear of it in the news or see it around us but rarely take seriously that it could happen to us. Perhaps the lesson here is to guard against complacency and give a higher priority to our spiritual needs. If the fish swam deeper, the hawk would not be able to reach it. Similarly, if we go deeper into our connection to God, we will find an inner reality so deep and satisfying that it lifts the consciousness to a place where we could deal with the effects of unforeseeable fate with a stable, detached mind.”
Spiritualists know that the ultimate aim of their spiritual practice is to meet such fateful death gracefully and in spiritual consciousness. Such spiritual consciousness cannot be gained until we use our lifetime in practice. The most merciful lord grants us unlimited practice opportunities and awaits our win. One such real practice opportunity is our relationship with others, especially our spouse, children, parents, in-laws, relatives, friends, etc. As we deepen our spiritual practice, we realize that we cannot make spiritual progress without deepening our affection and love for others and ultimately can see the Lord in every living entity. It means our constant endeavor has to be a sure win over our hatred, anger, envy, lust, pride and madness. Until perfection is reached, we can train our minds in such a manner to ward off all negative feelings brought about by our restless mind.
One way to train the mind when it presents us with a negative thought which we want to unmindfully & immediately embrace is to develop a watchful attitude and seek if the thought helps you in your spiritual progress or is detrimental to it. All we have to do in the beginning of our training is to simply be able to recognize that a thought is detrimental to our progress. Then, slowly over time we can train our mind to reject the negative thought. Our mind wants some thought to latch onto, it does not care if it is a positive thought or a negative one. So, when we reject a negative thought, mind hatches a plot to bring that thought right back in. In this situation, we can feed our restless mind with a positive thought. This exercise might seem extremely difficult and painful in the beginning but with constant practice, it becomes a possibility and when you eventually start relishing the nectarean taste of positive thoughts, it becomes your second nature. Then, you have a well trained mind.
The same is applicable in every relationship aspect as well. Every time there is some friction or argument or judging propensity or hurt ego condition, please remember that it is a practice opportunity for us presented by the most merciful Lord and when we come in contact with such negative situations, we have the possibility of not getting swayed by it. Simply recognize the state of mind as detrimental to our spiritual progress and take heed to start seeking positive qualities of the other person. It is possible to count the positive aspects of the other person(who has hurt you or has engaged you in an argument etc) even in the middle of a heated situation but for this to happen, we have to have a single minded focus on our ultimate goal in life and not endeavor to find a comfort zone for our hurt false ego. When we have our eyes firmly set on the goal, only then can we reach the goal. With constant training, it becomes very easy for one who has a trained mind to get over such frivolities and refocus on the essence. If we don’t prioritize in training our minds from this moment on, other differing priorities will take over and in the end, when we are face to face with death and have not enough time to go back and do it all over again in the right manner, all we are left with is a deep regret or unmanageable bewildering thoughts!
Death can come anytime my friends, let us gear ourselves to welcome it with grace.