Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Phenomenon Of Death

vàyuranilamamçtamathedaü bhasmàntaü ÷arãram
OM krato smara kçtaü smara krato smara kçtaü smara

(May my) Prana melt into the all-pervading Air, the eternal Sutratman, and may this body be burnt by fire to ashes. OM! O mind! remember my deeds! O mind! remember, remember my deeds! - Isavasya Upanishad

Before I get deeply into the concept of death, astral world and reincarnation, lets see the definition of Death.

According to Swami Sivananada, death is separation of the soul from the physical body. Death becomes the starting point of a new and better life. Death does not end your personality and self-consciousness. It merely opens the door to a higher form of life. Death is only the gateway to a fuller life.

Birth and death are jugglery of Maya. He who is born begins to die. He who dies begins to live. Life is death and death is life. Birth and death are merely doors of entry and exist on the stage of this world. In reality no one comes, no one goes. Brahman or the Eternal alone exists.

Just as you move from one house to another house, the soul passes from one body to another to gain experience. Just as a man casting off worn-out garments, takes new ones, so the dweller in this body, casting off worn-out bodies, enters into others which are new.

Death is not the end of life. Life is one continuous never-ending process. Death is only a passing and necessary phenomenon, which every soul has to pass to gain experience for its further evolution.

Dissolution of the body is no more than sleep. Just as man sleeps and wakes up, so is death and birth. Death is like sleep. Birth is like waking up. Death brings promotion to a new and better life. A man of discrimination and wisdom is not afraid of death. He knows that death is the gate of life. Death to him is no longer a skeleton bearing a sword to cut the thread of life, but rather an angel who has a golden key to unlock for him the door to a wider, fuller and happier existence.

Every soul is a circle. The circumference of this circle is nowhere but its centre is in the body. Death means the change of this centre from body to body. Why, then, should you be afraid of death?

The Supreme Soul or Paramatman is deathless, decayless, timeless, causeless and spaceless. It is the source and substratum for this body, mind and the whole world. There is death for the physical body only, which is a compound of five elements. How can there be death for the Eternal Soul which is beyond time, space and causation?

If you wish to free yourself from birth and death, you must become bodiless. Body is the result of Karmas or actions. You must not do any action with expectation of fruits. If you free yourself from Raga-Dvesha, or likes and dislikes, you will be free from Karma. If you kill egoism only, you can free yourself from Raga and Dvesha. If you annihilate ignorance through knowledge of the Imperishable, you can annihilate egoism. The root-cause for this body is therefore ignorance.

He who realises the Eternal Soul, which is beyond all sound, all sight, all taste, all touch, which is formless and attributeless, which is beyond Nature, which is beyond three bodies and five sheaths, which is infinite and unchanging, self-luminous, frees himself from the jaws of death.

To be contd..


Blogger Parvati said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Parvati said...

@Arjuna: You have written -

"The Supreme Soul or Paramatman is deathless, decayless, timeless, causeless and spaceless. It is the source and substratum for this body, mind and the whole world."

How can the source and substratum of the body be deathless, decayless, timeless, causeless and spaceless, and the body itself just the opposite - full of death, full of decay, temporal, in space, bound by cause and effect? I think that this stage of the body is a temporary phase until THE BODY LIVES AND TRANSFORMS ITSELF IN THE IMAGE OF ITS DEATHLESS SOURCE THE SUPREME SOUL, THE PARAMATMAN.

If you think a little you will see the complete uselessness of the body in the scheme of things, IF WHAT YOU SAY IS TRUE.

If the body is so ignorant and is meant ALWAYS AND FOREVER to be ignorant and dark and full of death etc etc, why SHOULD THE BODY BE THERE AT ALL? WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE BODY AT ALL? God could have made us all pure souls wandering in eternal immortality WITHOUT BODIES, WITHOUT DEATH, DECAY AND DISEASE. Couldn't He have?

You say in previous paragraph that "the Supreme Soul, the Paramatman is the source and substratum of the Body", and in a later paragraph you contradict yourself and say that "The root cause of the body is therefore Ignorance."

Why all this confusions and contradictions?

Answer one simple question - let us assume I have no fear of death at all. I am fine with the concept and accept all that you have written about death etc, the soul, the body etc etc.

My question is - "Why did the Supreme Lord think that there was a need for this permanently useless ignorant and death filled body at all?"


Enlighten me.

8:04 PM  
Blogger kitchenette soul said...

Dear parvati

I could help posting this. It just came through as I read your comment

Shiva and Shakti

The source and the expression
One cannot exist without the other

The human body, mind give expression

To the soul within

The soul has to express
And express and experience
It needs a vehicle
The body and the mind are such

Vehicles by which the soul
Takes an opportunity to express
And experience the divine
This is the basis of all human actions
Performed consciously or unconsciously

The body shall die without you saying, “okay now you may go”
The mind too shall walk away at too without your permission
They are just around for you to be used
As an expression of the divine, to experience the divine

When the realization of this ultimate goal of this life

All ‘doership’ in actions ceases
All karma ceases

From then it is just one
Journey to merge into the Infinite
One as ONE

12:19 AM  
Blogger Parvati said...

@Dear KS: Thank you very much for the explanation.
The problem is that I do not think that the body, mind and life are only the instruments of expression for the soul. I don't think that the only purpose of being born on earth is to SEE TO IT THAT WE NEVER WILL BE BORN AGAIN. If that is so, God has unnecessarily created a futile world, where there is a lot of useless expression with useless and temporary instruments which anyway cannot do much by way of expressing the vibrations of the immortal soul, as these instruments are themselves so pathetically weak and ephemeral.

I think that there is an objective and a very positive purpose to our Births, which is not cessation of birth, but a divinisation of ALL THAT IS OF THIS EARTH, WHICH INCLUDES THE MIND, THE LIFE AND THE BODY TOO.

In this I am freely voicing what I have learnt from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
The Mind should be filled with the Golden Light of the Supreme, and be Omniscient as He is, the Life of man should be Omnipotent and all capable and ever skilful, and the body of course should be Immortal and filled with the Beauty of the Divine.

And to this end I think is our birth and the earth and the creation or the world. Otherwise, if only after death all glory awaits us as Mukti or Heaven, we might all as well commit suicide and rush on to those great glorious non-bodily, non-human lives beyond birth.

The purpose of Birth, of the human being cannot be in his extinction, but in his transformation in the exact and precise content and image of his Soul.

"Escape however high redeems not life" - again I cannot repeat it too often, we cannot run away from the world just because the world or our births are all so very terrible. The horror of the world and our births should become a glory by virtue of God's Light, Power and Beauty.

:)Hope I haven't been too aggressive in the manner in which I have spoken. Please bear with me.

3:16 AM  
Blogger kitchenette soul said...

"I don't think that the only purpose of being born on earth is to SEE TO IT THAT WE NEVER WILL BE BORN AGAIN" Very true.

Sprituality is not escapsim to find bliss in the distant future in another world called heaven, but here and now by experiencing the divinity within you and seeing the same all around

This birth is a gift a divine one to experience the divine here and now.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Parvati said...

@KS: Aaah! How true and how simply and beautifully expressed! But then, I am speaking to a born Poet, nothing less is expected :)

9:26 AM  
Blogger kitchenette soul said...

Dear Arjuna,
A beautiful post, contempletive too.
I wanted to say is this
Keep up this work
Its great and I realize the time and effort on your part and truly,truly, appreciate it. You posts trigger a lot of contempletion amongst readers. Each of us do benefit by the other's comments.

Missed your posts when you were away in India.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Ganesh said...

the only thought that came to me after reading this one is

'Setthu Paar Puryium'

only when the mind dies one wins the so called death, doesn't need to be a physical death.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Parvati - once again you have made me spell bounded by ur comments :)..

I shall quote from what I read in a book called "The Soul and Its Destiny" by Swami Nikhilananda

"From the absolute standpoint, the soul is non-dual, immortal,
ever pure, ever free, ever illumined, and one with Brahman.
It is untouched by hunger or thirst, good and evil, pain and
pleasure, birth and death, and the other pairs of opposites.
That is the soul's true nature. The realisation of which is the
goal of a man's spiritual aspiration and striving. From this
absolute standpoint, the soul is called PARAMATMA or Supreme Soul.

But from the relative standpoint, the Vedanta philosophy
admits the existence of a multitude of individual souls called JIVATMAS, and distinguishes them from the Supreme Soul.
Attached to the body, the individual soul is a victim of the
pairs of the opposites. Entangled in the world, it seeks deliverance from the eternal round of birth and death, and with that end in view, studies the scriptures and practises spiritual disciplines.

The embodied soul is associated with the sense organs, the
mind and vital breath (Prana). There are ten sense organs,
all subordinate to the mind as the central organ; five organs
of perception and five organs of action. The five organs of
perception comprise the organ of taste (tongue),smell (nose),
vision (eyes), hearing (ear), and touch (skin). The five organs
of action are the hands, the feet, the organ of speech, the
organs of evacuation and the organ of generation.

The presence of an irrefragable Self or consciousness is
assumed in all acts of thinking. The Self or consciousness,
which is the true 'seer' or subject, is unchanging intelligence,and can never be imagined to be non-existent. Atman
(the Self) in man and Brahman in the universe are completely identical.

The idea of body, senses, and the mind, associated with
the non-self, is falsely superimposed upon the Self, and the
Self, which is of the nature of pure consciousness, appears
as a jiva, or phenomenal being, subject to the various
limitations of the physical world.
The Rishis speak of two souls: the real soul and the apparent
soul. The real soul is birthless, death less, immortal, and
infinite. The same real soul, under the spell of ignorance,
appears as the apparent man identified with the body, mind
and senses. This apparent man becomes, on account of his
attachment to the body, a victim of birth and death, virtue and
vice, and the other pairs of opposites.The apparent man is
bound to the world, and it is he,again, who strives for liberation.

The enjoyment of material pleasures, and the subsequent
satiation and weariness; the consciousness of bondage, and
the struggle for freedom; the injunctions of the scriptures, and
the practice of moral and spiritual disciplines- all this refers to the apparent man. Again, it is the apparent man who performs virtuous or sinful deeds, goes, after death, to heaven or hell, and assumes different bodies. But it must never be forgotten that rewards and punishments are spoken of only with reference to the reflected, or apparent soul. The real soul is forever free from the characteristics of the relative world.

But the real soul is always free, illumined, and perfect.
The real sun, non-dual and resplendent, shines brilliantly
in the sky, though millions of its reflections are seen to
move with the movement of the waves.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

PArvati - regd ur questions about why we were born and the purpose of this body - please do refer this site :)..It will give u all the answers to ur questions :)


1:03 PM  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

KS - Madam thanks a lot for all ur wonderful comments, poems and appreciation :)..Its indeed my punya to be associated with great souls like you and Parvati :)..

1:04 PM  
Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Ganesh - well said - ur right :)

1:10 PM  
Blogger Parvati said...

@Arjuna: :D !!! What's all this about my being a GREAT SOUL?! Cut it buddy - I am just a good blogger; nothing more, nothing less...Anyway, thanks for the compliment. They are so hard to come by in these busy times!!!

I will go to that website, read through what you have written out here. You give me a lot of homework to do all the time - maybe practising to be the teacher of tomorrow? :)

12:07 AM  

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