Nature has provided a tiny glimpse of death to you in your everyday life: your sleep. Death is akin to your sleep. When you’re awake you’re engaged in various activities, and the moment you hit the bed, what happens to you? Where do you go?
However the day has been, pleasant or unpleasant, sleep provides you deep rest. Sleep just takes you in its arms and comforts you and makes you fresh to worry again next day! Sleep heals you, comforts you, and enriches your waking state of consciousness. If you don’t sleep, even your wakefulness will be dull and really not awake.
Sleep and wakefulness appear to be contradictory, opposite poles. They complement. Good sleep makes you more awake and alert. Isn’t it? If you observe your sleep you will know a lot about your death. We sleep every night, but we have never met our sleep. Have you noticed the last thought in your mind just before falling asleep is the same as the first thought you get as soon as you wake up? The same happens. Death is a long sleep. You drop one body and get into another body.
Death is a friend of life, which doesn’t mean you should commit suicide! So many people commit suicide thinking they would get rid of the anguish, agitation, agony, but they will be born with the same thing next time. Suicide is not death. Deep desire to live makes you commit suicide. When life is just a game and you have lived life, then you embrace death naturally when it comes. It is the fear of death that dampens life, and fear is there because we don’t know what it is.
Sleep, meditation and love are synonymous to death. You see Christ on the cross. That indicates love-death-pain are together.
Death means what? Dropping the past. Die every moment, and you’re born every moment. Just like sleep, in meditation, there’s deep comfort. And you realise that everything in this universe is changing; everything is dying. Tell me one thing that is not dying — plants, animals, human beings… everything dies — and everything is renewed. Millions have walked on this planet, stood up perpendicular on this planet, sat down perpendicular, and then became horizontal underneath!
Just wake up and see, what is the fear? You know, some people are afraid to go to bed. The fear is that you think you may not wake up. Lack of understanding of life causes fear. People are afraid of love, people are afraid of meditation, people are afraid of death, people are afraid of themselves. Ignorance, lack of awareness is the cause of fear. Just a glimpse of the being, of the self that you are — that you are beyond death — roots out the fear totally.
That’s what happens to people who clinically die for a few moments, and when they are revived they know it’s nothing to be afraid of. You simply know you are much more than your body. The self is beyond death. As I was saying the last thought in
our mind before falling asleep will be the first thought, so also will be the last impression in our mind will come to us in the next life as the first impression.
You would see in a house, in one family, children are born — same genes — but they are very different. Even twins are different. This is because though they have a lot of similarities — physical, mental, emotional — there is something different that comes from the previous impressions.
Law of Thermodynamics says ‘energy can neither be created nor destroyed’. Our mind is energy and energy cannot be destroyed. What happens to this mind when it leaves the body? It capsules itself in the impressions like an invisible balloon… and remains for a time when it again gets another body to come back. There is a saying in India that it doesn’t matter how your life has been but the last thought is very important.
Knowledge of death makes you immortal. It’s wrong to even say ‘it makes you immortal’. It makes you aware that you are immortal anyway. Do you see the difference? You are already immortal. Something in you never dies. You might have noticed that when you turn around and look at people you feel, ‘‘oh, they’re all grown up’’ and you feel you have not aged. But we fail to notice that something in us is not changing or aging. Just stand by the beach all by yourself and ask yourself: ‘have I aged? have I changed? Or is there something in me that is the same from my beginning?’.
Truth in the void
When someone dies a vacuum is created suddenly, and being totally with that vacuum you know that you also are that vacuum. What are you? What is your life? It’s total void. Not just death is void, life is also void. That is Nirvana. Buddha said that life is void and void is truth. He said the forms are illusive and they have no existence. The formless is the only existence — the formless governs the form.
Your mind has no form. Does your mind have any form and shape, any colour, any taste? Have you tasted someone’s mind? Mind is beyond taste, sight, any of these five senses. Mind is formless, and is it not the mind which is ruling your body? For example, what is moving the cars… the body or the mind? The mind. If the mind is not in the body, body alone cannot do anything. The body without the mind is horizontal under the ground!
The formless is ruling your life. The formless is ruling the world. And there is a greater formlessness that is ruling the entire creation. And you are the center of that greater formlessness whatever you call it, God, consciousness, no mind, Nirvana, spirit, anything you call it by name.
Death creates a void. In ancient days people were asked to go and sit in the burial grounds and meditate. You know why? Because that gives you dispassion… your mind doesn’t wander here and there. Meditation is similar to this experience of void. In meditation you realise that you are not just the body, but you are more than the body. That annihilates the fear of death.
Attending to the breath, a lot of secrets about your life will be revealed. Knowledge of death will improve the quality of your life. Knowledge of your breath will do the same — make you so stable, so strong. That is called ‘immortal life’. Your memory becomes so sharp that you know all that has happened thousands of years ago, and will get intuitive thoughts about the future.
All that we did in our life will just come to us like a flash the last moment. If you keep doing something that is life supporting, the same impressions will carry on. That is why all the human values — friendliness, compassion — is given great importance because they are investments for the future.
Why are some people born in a very violent environment and others in a comfortable environment? It just indicates the impressions one carries on from the past. That is why the human body is so precious because in this body you have the ability to erase all the unwanted negative impressions.
The last impression or the strongest impression in the mind (and you don’t know when the last moment comes). When the last moment comes, you cannot have a new impression. Whatever is the oldest and strongest will pop in when the last moment comes, so don’t wait for the last moment.
There is this practice when someone dies or someone is dying — it’s in all religions — one sits and prays to send some good vibrations, thoughts. There is some truth to it. When you meditate or pray, when you are in that space of vastness, calmness and love, you emit certain vibrations and these vibrations transcends physical reality and reach the subtle levels of existence.
Prayer means not just sitting and saying so many words, but being in that serene, calm space, meditative state. So, when you meditate it sends out such a peaceful radiation, waves of light, and then those who left their body, who have reached the other shore, benefit from that.