Understanding Death the Vedic Way


Though the ordinary human looks upon death with dread and sadness, those who’ve gone before know it as a wondrous experience of peace and freedom.

Every one of us is going to die someday, so there’s no use in being afraid of death. You don’t feel unhappy at the vision of losing awareness of your body in sleep but you accept sleep as a state of freedom to look forward to. So is death; it’s a state of rest, a pension from this life.

There’s nothing to fear. When death comes, laugh at it. Death is only an experience through which you’re meant to learn a great lesson — you aren’t born, you can’t die.

The soul is neither born nor does it ever die; nor having once existed, does it ever cease to be. The soul is without birth, eternal, immortal, and ageless. It’s not destroyed when the body is destroyed. 

Bhagavad Gita 2:20

Our real self, the soul, is immortal. We may sleep for a little while in that transformation called death, but we can never be destroyed. We exist, and that existence is eternal.

This body has come, and it will vanish, but the soul essence within it’ll never cease to exist. Nothing can terminate that eternal consciousness.

As a person sheds worn-out garments and wears new ones, likewise, at the time of death, the soul casts off its worn-out body and enters a new one. 

Bhagavad Gita 2:22

Even a particle of matter or a wave of energy is imperishable, as science has proved; the soul or spiritual core of human is also imperishable. Matter changes; the soul experiences changing experiences. Radical changes are termed death, but death or a change in form doesn’t change or destroy the spiritual essence.

Some of these souls enter into the womb, to embody again into organic beings, others assemble unto immovable things according to their deeds, according to their knowledge. 

Katha Upanishad 2.5.7

The body is only a garment. How many times you’ve changed your clothing in this life, yet because of this you wouldn’t say that you have changed. Similarly, when you give up this bodily dress at death you don’t change. You are just the same, an immortal soul, a child of God.

Weapons can’t shred the soul, nor can fire burn it. Water can’t wet it, nor can the wind dry it. 

Bhagavad Gita 2:23

Death isn’t the end — it’s temporary emancipation, given to you when karma — the law of justice — determines that your present body and environment have served their purpose, or when you’re too weary or exhausted by suffering to bear the burden of physical existence any longer.

To those who’re suffering, death is a resurrection from the painful tortures of flesh into awakened peace and calmness. To the elderly, it’s a pension earned by years of struggling through life. For all, it’s a welcome rest.

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