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Fear of Death | Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Wisdom

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Fear of Death | Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Wisdom
Your thoughts are very powerful; you can create what you want. First, believe that it is possible for you to live in a state of unconditional love, peace and tranquility. As a child you have lived in this state. As children we all have done it. We were bubbling with enthusiasm. - Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Death brings you in touch with the reality of life. It is as mysterious as birth. Everything around you has an end. This realization is liberating in itself. Since there is a feeling of vacuum and void associated with Death, it also brings in anxiety and fear.

But if 'Death' is certain, why fear it? Here is what Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has to say about it:

Death brings you in touch with the reality of life. Death creates a vacuum, a void. Void is the fertile ground for the spirit to manifest. All talents, invention, creativity springs forth from the void, and creation has a tendency to return to the void.

Bharat says, 'All the problems come when you avoid the void' (Laughter). All the places of worship in all religions are connected with places of burial/cremation, as the awareness of death alone can bring dispassion and make you well-grounded in knowledge. According to the Indian mythology, the abode of Shiva is in Mount Kailasa as well as in Samshana (the cremation ground). Kailasa means 'where there is only celebration', and Samshana is where there is only void.

Thus the Divinity dwells in the void as well as in celebration. And in you there is void, in you there is celebration.

Everyday nature provides a tiny glimpse of death to you: your sleep. Death is akin to your sleep. When you are awake you are engaged in various activities, but the moment you hit the bed, what happens to you? Where do you go?

However your day has been, pleasant or unpleasant, sleep provides you deep rest. Sleep takes you in its arms. It comforts you and makes you fresh to worry again the next day! Sleep heals you, comforts you, and enriches your waking state of consciousness. If you do not sleep, your wakefulness will be dull. Sleep and wakefulness appear to be contradictory, or on opposite poles. However, they complement each other. 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 have 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. This does not mean you should commit suicide! So many people commit suicide thinking they will get rid of the anguish, agitation, and agony, but they will be born with the same thing next time. Suicide is not death. A 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 there is fear because we do not know what it is.

Sleep, meditation and love are synonymous to death. You see Christ on the cross; this indicates that love, death, and pain are together. What does Death mean? Dropping the past. Die every moment, and you are born every moment. As in sleep, even in meditation, there is deep comfort. And you realize that everything in this Universe is changing; Everything is dying. Tell me one thing that is not dying - plants, animals, and 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 and 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. This happens to people who clinically die for a few moments. When they are revived they know death is 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 the mind before falling asleep will be the first thought when we wake. In the same way, the last impression in our mind will come to us in the next life as the first impression. There is a saying in India that it doesn't matter how your life has been but the last thought is very important.

In one house, in one family, children are born with the same genes but they are very different. Even twins are different. Though they have a lot of physical, mental and emotional similarities there is something different between each child that comes from the previous impressions.

The first law of thermodynamics says that '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 until it again gets another body to come back.

Knowledge of death makes you immortal. It is wrong to even say that 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 notice that when you turn around and look at people you think, 'oh, they're all grown up' and you feel you have not aged. We fail to notice that something in us is not changing or ageing. Just stand by the beach all by yourself and ask yourself: 'Have I aged? Have I changed? Is there something in me that is the same from my beginning?'

When someone dies, a vacuum is created suddenly and being totally with that vacuum you know that you are also 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 or shape? Any colour? Any taste? Have you tasted someone's mind? The mind is beyond taste, sight, or any of the five senses. The mind is formless, and is it not the mind that is ruling your body? For example, is the body or the mind moving a car? It is the mind. If the mind is not in the body, the 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. There is a greater formlessness that is ruling the entire creation. You are the centre of that greater formlessness whatever you call it, god, consciousness, no mind, nirvana, spirit, etc.

Death creates a void. In the ancient days, people were asked to meditate in burial grounds. Do you know why? This gives you dispassion so your mind does not wander. Meditation is similar to this experience of void. In meditation, you realize that you are not just the body, but you are more than the body. This realization annihilates the fear of death. Many secrets about your life will be revealed by attending to the breath. Knowledge of death will improve the quality of your life. Knowledge of your breath will do the same. It makes you stable and strong. That is called 'immortal life'. Your memory becomes so sharp that you know all that has happened thousands of years ago, and you will have intuitive thoughts about the future. At the last moment, all that we did in our life will come to us in a flash. If you always do things that are life-supporting, the same impressions will carry on. That is why all human values, like friendliness and compassion, are given great importance. They are investments for the future. Why are some people born in violent environments and others in comfortable environments? It indicates the impressions one carries from the past. The human body is so precious because in this body you have the ability to erase all the unwanted negative impressions. No one knows when their last moment is. When the last moment comes, you cannot have a new impression. The last impression or the strongest impression in the mind is what will pop into your mind at the last moment. Don't wait for the last moment to have a good impression!

In all religions, there is a practice that when someone dies or is dying, one sits and prays to send good vibrations and thoughts. There is some truth to this. When you meditate or pray, and when you are in that space of vastness, calmness and love, you emit certain vibrations. These vibrations transcend physical reality and reach the subtle levels of existence. Prayer is not just sitting and saying so many words but is being in that serene, calm, meditative state. When you meditate, you send out peaceful radiation and waves of light. Those who have left their body, who have reached the other shore, benefit from that in your life.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you isolate and think only of yourself then you will have the fear of death. Once you are in service, there is no fear of death. Terrorists are committed to something so they are not afraid of life or death. If you want to do good for others, your commitment to it will take care of this fear.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If a bud feels, anyways I have to wither away, why should I blossom, what will you think. A bud has to blossom and bring joy and fragrance in this world and then it withers away, right. If a tree thinks anyways a fruit has to become a seed so why should I bear fruit? So nature is such; as long as you are here on the planet see how much guidance you can give.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is good to have some suspense!

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By doing meditation.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, don’t worry, this is all illusory. Sometimes it can come true but it doesn't need to always come true. Everyone has come at a certain time and will go at a certain time.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation, and Meditation. Meditation, and Knowledge: only two things will help you overcome this fear.