The Fear of Death
Q: I am a student. Sometimes, when I am asleep, I see my own funeral. I also see dead bodies of my mom, dad and sister and I get afraid. I never look at any funeral procession because I get afraid. If I see a funeral procession, I cannot sleep for 3 or 4 days. Why it is so? Is something wrong with me? What does all this indicate?
A: Ruchi, nothing is wrong with you; the only thing is the idea of death for you is a big ghost & you are scared because of that. But you have to understand that even when you are asleep, in deep sleep in a way your mind dies to the world, to the samsara, to the family, because at that time you are not aware that your name is Ruchi & your surname is Vaidya or that you are a student; also, how many sisters & brothers you have & what your parents do?
At that time you have totally forgotten everything & deep sleep takes over and for that time period, you have no remembrance of samsara, of your family, of the world, of things, of death & birth and yet you enjoy your deep sleep. Is it not so? I would say that deep sleep is like a mini death, a miniscule death which comes to us for a few hours and then we come back to consciousness and we are with the body and live our life.
Death is not something to be scared of. Death is part of life. The moment birth happens, death starts to follow us. Death is not just disintegration of the physical body; death can also be called that when we have exhaled the breath & when we are not able to inhale it back, that would be death. So isn’t that small death happening to you every time when you are exhaling out? The cycle of death & birth is there for us and it is nothing to be scared of.
But for now, to help your mind to be strong enough to understand what I am saying, I would suggest you do the mantra japa of “Om Namah Shivaya” everyday. Sit down after taking bath; sit straight, lumber area erect and then just chant it. There is a beautiful CD of mine called Shiv Namonkar and there is another CD called Shiva’s Ecstasy. May be you should get those CDs and do lot of mantras with that, do lot of kirtan with that and need not worry at all.
You need not worry at all, death would come only when it supposed to come. Why be fearful now & why live your life with this great shadow of death lurking on your head all the time. Do not be afraid, death would come only when it has to come & death is not again the end of the whole story, it just an ending of one episode. Then there is another episode & then another & then another & then another & this would go on as long as you want. So why be scared of death?