“A colloquy between the god of death and the spirit of Nachiketas, forms the quintessence of ancient Indian thought on the subject. It is symbolic that even Death can be persuaded to yield, even its inflexible law can change and its secret revealed if we know how to persist and persevere against the dark denial.”
Death is nothing but life fallen from its purpose of constant progression towards the divine. When man refuses to live for and by the separative ego and begins to live for the divine, then the reign of death will end. And that hour will surely come.
These are the various attitudes that man has adopted towards death. Or the different psychological and philosophical positions that death has instilled in our life. Let us see these different positions one by one so that we may know all the masks that this great shadow wears to hide itself.
We started with the necessity and inevitability of death. Let us end with the certainty of the end of death and of all that it so far stands for; the end of ignorance and falsehood and with it the end of evil and suffering and pain.
As of now, Death is a temporary release from earthly joys and suffering; the joy that ends too soon into its opposite, the suffering that necessarily follows when the immortal soul assumes the mask of imperfection, ignorance and limitation. It will drop off and cease to exist when all life will become a wave of the Supreme Ananda.
“… body it will still be subject to decay and age and consequent death. For these are but processes, and not the real inner reason for the existence of death. Even if all the outer causes are mastered, death will find its entry through the door of ignorance within the human body. And the body will change only when the consciousness within changes.”
Sooner or later, the biological sciences are bound to stumble into the territory of the occult much as physics stepped into the inner terrain unwittingly and thereby came closer to the hidden dimensions of matter. So too there are hidden dimensions of life that we need to understand and enter into.
We know that man is a complex entity and often harbours contradictory wills. A part of him may want a temporary respite from suffering through death but another part may not like to give up the struggle and perhaps yet another part may be actually enjoying it! So the question is, which part is in front when he is choosing to embrace death?
Instances of radical personality change, and that too for the worse following survival after prolonged and near fatal illness have been documented in history. What about prolonging life in a body that the soul has already decided to quit? What if life returns and continues but not the soul?
Death raises many an ethical question and as with everything else related to death, none have a simple answer. To name a few of the ethical dilemmas, there is euthanasia, artificial life support, resuscitation, post-mortem examination, abortions, suicide victims and survivors, homicide, capital punishment and animal experiments.
Excerpts from “Life After Life” by Raymond Moody
Experiencing the physical body as separate from the self is an indication that the power of the senses does not come from the organs that conduit them but from another layer of consciousness deeper than the physical. The method of investigating these truths would be through a development of the subtle senses or by evolving the sixth sense, termed as intuition in ancient psychology.
The soul is clothed in many sheaths that protect the divine seed till it becomes ready and mature to express itself. The soul moves from birth to birth through a series of identifications with one or the other sheaths, which creates a false sense of self called the ego. Sheaths dissolve one by one during the intervening period after death, and we begin to forget our ego-identity of who we were in our outer aspects, and wake up to the true soul.
The issue of existence of the soul cannot be settled by an armchair discussion or a seminar and debate in the prestigious centers of learning, which excel only in the mental domain and have little knowledge of what lies beyond the range of our limited senses. However there is a possibility of exploring and realising deeper truths within us.