A few months ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine about death and dying. After our chat I wrote down some of the questions he had asked me and my responses. I’d like to share them with you in today’s blog post. I’d also love to hear any questions you have on this topic that is not talked about much but an experience all of us have to have. Here’s part of the conversation:
Friend: Are you afraid to die, Dandapani?
D: I’m not afraid to die. But I may be afraid of how I may die.
Friend: Can you elaborate a little on that?
D: For sure. I look at death as a natural part of life. Death really is the wrong word to denote what actually happens. But let’s touch on that next. With regards to fearing how I may die. What I mean by this is if I were in a plane flying at 38,000 feet and it decided then to plummet to the ground I’d be afraid. I’m not fond of dropping at high speeds. So, in that sense I may be afraid of how I die. But death itself I am not afraid of.
Friend: Before you touch on the point you brought up about “death” not being the right word for the process I have another question for you. What’s your preferred way of dying if you could choose one?
D: For me, a conscious exit from the body. In my tradition that would be the ideal that all souls seek. It is certainly my goal.
Friend: Can you talk a little more about this?
D: Yes, for sure. If you have enough control over your mind, your life force and your karmic patterns you could really work with yourself to consciously exit your body. Most people just go through their karma in life which really dictates then how and when they die. Whereas if you knew how to work with your karma and had enough control over your life force you could make a conscious choice of existing your body. Many monks have been known to do this. And individuals who are not monks too. But this takes a lot of training and working with yourself.
Friend: That’s very interesting. I’ve never heard of that. Lets talk about the word death. I’d like to hear why you say it is not the right word to describe what is happening.
D: Yes, lets clarify this. It’s not the right word depending on what your belief is. If you feel like we only have one life and that when we die it’s all over then the word death best describes this.
In Hinduism, we view it this way. We are a soul that lives in a physical body and when “death” happens, what is essentially happening is that the physical body stops functioning. The soul that was within the physical body is still alive and continues to function in the astral plane until it reincarnates. So, death which is defined as the end of life of a person, is not the right term if you subscribe to this Hindu belief system or one similar to it. Because life has not ended. Life goes on. Only the physical body, one aspect of the soul in its current existence, has come to an end. So death is not the right word to use. Transition would be a better word. It’s a better word because the soul is transitioning from one plane of existence to another.
Did you enjoy reading this? Would you like me to share more conversations like this in my blog? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you.