A human birth is sublime. This is not because we can procreate, work hard and make money, eat and sleep. Animals can procreate, work, eat and sleep. But an animal cannot know itself. Our ability to know our inner awareness, to turn our awareness upon itself and know we are universal consciousness, makes a human being divine.
Graveyards hold a high teaching. For every one of us, this is our destination. Both a tombstone and a cremation ground are reminding us that our body and our desires are fleeting. It all ends in dust. So why do we grasp for wealth, for power, for love. Why do we cling to beauty. They will all leave us because they are fickle friends. Our attachments fail us in the end. Only supreme consciousness remains our eternal support. God alone is our eternal friend. A peaceful death is only obtained when we realize the source and essential nature of mind; supreme consciousness There is only one reality that remains; we are within God and God is within us. Revealing this experience in life is our preparation for death.
We fear and deny death. We live for what is always out of reach and long for survival in the future, and that makes us incapable of living in the present moment. We fear our impermanence and busy ourselves accumulating and selling samsara. Because death is our one certainty, we must come to terms with it. We are all always dying. Receive death’s teaching on the importance of a wisdom-filled life. Receive death’s blessing that shows us life’s impermanence. Our time of death is set at our time of birth. It is always on time.
Just as we cast off worn clothes to receive new ones, our Self casts off old bodies to receive new ones. Why cry and fear. When we live in misperception we think I am my body, I am an individual, I am separate. When we live with knowledge, we think I am eternal consciousness, I am one with God. We realize the individual is really emptiness. When we understand this, fear has no place to land.
As we die the senses and the elements of our body (earth, water, fire, air and space) disintegrate. Our senses gradually stop functioning. As earth dissolves we lose strength. We may become agitated and then drowsy. As earth is dissolving into water we lose control over bodily fluids. We may twitch and begin to smell. As water dissolves into fire, we dry up and get cold. We can no longer digest or drink. As fire dissolves into air as the basis for our consciousness, it becomes harder to breathe. Intellect dissolves. We may hallucinate. When the final three breaths are taken and the outer dissolution finishes, it takes approximately 20 minutes until the inner dissolution finishes as space dissolves into luminosity. The inner dissolution is a succession of experiencing subtler and subtler states of consciousness, eventually ending in the clear light, the luminosity of pure awareness. A practitioner who recognizes this luminosity may merge with it and obtain enlightenment. If we do not recognize this ground state, we enter a period of unconsciousness, up to 3 days. Then we will reawaken in our mental body and our tendencies will also awaken. We may not realize we have died. After this experience, all our past actions appear before us in the land of our ancestors. We feel and experience their effects in the world. We are the judge and the judged. As time for rebirth nears, our attachments and tendencies strengthen and we are drawn to a particular rebirth on earth or in a higher or lower realm.
In the inner dissolution we have a chance to experience great peace and the clear light of mind, but we must recognize it. How our mind is now is how our mind will be in our transition into death and if we live in the false identity of grasping ego, that will not allow us to let go and see. The juncture of life and death is a power point for liberation or fear where we will experience the fruits of our life, where we see the innermost nature of our mind.
Ramakrishna was dying of cancer and was asked by his disciple to cure himself. He responded, “Why should I consider my cancer a negative thing. Why shouldn’t I consider it a blessed gift of God?” How we die is the fruit of how we lived. It will reflect our non-attachment and pure awareness of now-ness or our clinging and grasping. Our last thought is the fruit of how we thought throughout our life. It is that thought that propels us.
Divine wealth reveals God. Divine wealth is love and compassion, meditation and devotion. Divine wealth allows us to be happy in life and that wealth follows us into death. It is our past actions that determine our state when we die and whether we proceed upon the path of light or darkness. We may drop the body, but our mind and our actions follow us into death.
We can free ourselves from the wheel of birth and death by meditating and knowing the Self, universal consciousness. The grasping ego, which is our sense of limited individuality, attachment and identification, is what locks us in this cycle. The ego dissolves when we realize we are universal consciousness. Then death no longer exists for us and the cycle ends. For one who knows the Self, the prana does not leave the body upon death. It merges in the sahasrara and the wheel of birth and death stops.
Bartruhari said, “As long as the body is healthy, as long as old age is far away, as long as your senses are strong, you should remember the Lord.” At the moment of death there are two things that matter most; our past actions and our state of mind in that moment. Trying to save ourself when on our deathbed is like trying to dig a well when our house is on fire. Prepare now. Honor time. Be free of attachment. Know the Self. Find peace of mind. Walk with death. Remember God now so His name will be on our lips as our final thought.