Are you afraid of death?

I exist.
I will always exist.
I am the eternal spark of life
Only temporary in this mortal frame
The body will die
But I will never die.
- Jagad Guru (Author of Who are You?)

There’s a true story of a woman whose husband died after being married for 50 years. She said, “The pain is so great that it’s ripping my heart apart.” It's like undergoing surgery without anesthesia.

When a loved one dies, those left behind feel pain because of the separation.
If the attachment is so great, the surviving spouse will not stay long as they can’t live alone.

“It’s normal to cry because after all you have been together with your loved ones for years. It is not bad to shed tears because crying is not a symptom of weakness. But not to the point that it will lead to your own death, too. One saintly person said, the greatest illusion in life is to think that only others die and we forget our own death. In fact, at the time of death we are all feeling hopeless, lost and afraid.”

“But, if you have knowledge about what death really is and who you really are, you can apply that knowledge and comfort yourself,” said Tulsi Dasi, of the Science of Identity Foundation in Libertad Street, Jaro, Iloilo City.

She suggested that in a loved one’s parting or even in one’s fear of death, we can turn to Scriptures for assurance and see that leaving is not the end of the world.

“What is death? It says in the Vedic Scriptures that death is a separation of the spirit soul or self from the material body.”

For a perfect yogi, dying is like an adventure, we leave the mortal frame and go up to the highest spiritual realm.

According to Bhagavad-gita, the spirit soul is an eternal person inside the body. It does not die.

“For the living being, there is neither birth nor death; nor having once been that he ceased to exist. The spirit soul or self is eternal and ever existing and does not die when the body dies. Only the material body dies because it is composed of material elements like air, water, fire, earth and ether.”

“That is why when somebody dies, we say, ‘Bakit mo kami iniwan?’ That points to awareness that the spirit soul has left the body.” That is common knowledge, she said.

There's a proof in medical studies that the material body is different from the self. The cells that make up the body are constantly changing and there is a complete turnover of atoms in the body at least every five years.

“But, despite the molecular changes in our body, the consciousness remains, our memory stays. We remember the past, like our body when we were younger and its changes to becoming an adult. You remain the same despite that the cells are changing. Thus, you are not the body,” she said.

She also narrated the story of Socrates, a great sage.

He was condemned to death for teaching ‘strange doctrines’, so he was made to drink poisonous brew. His student, Crito, asked, “How are we to bury you?” To which he answered, “However you like as long as you can catch me. And prevent my escaping you.”
Socrates was not interested with his body. An intelligent person knows he is not the body.
“If you erroneously identified yourself with your body, you think you will end if your body ends,” Ms. Tulsi said.

Ms. Tulsi quoted Jagad Guru as saying, “The soul is not slain when the body is slain. The body changes, the self endures. The spirit can’t be destroyed by any weapon, drowned by water or withered by the wind.”

In Bhagavad-gita it is said that the self is invisible, inconceivable, immutable and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body. Your body has beginning and end, your body is subject to birth and death but you, the spark of life within the body, is eternal.”

Ms. Tulsi said that the spirit soul is a spark of life and part and parcel of God.

“The spirit soul is atomic in size. You can’t see it with a microscope or by the bare eyes. But in the Vedic scriptures, it says only a person who has the proper intelligence can see the spark,” she said. A person who has proper intelligence is someone who has achieved perfection of life because he is a lover of God.

“In the Bible, Jesus said, blessed are the pure in hearts because they can see God.” A person who has seen God can also see all living beings as part and parcel of the Supreme. At present, we are conditioned souls, so our intelligence is improper. The perfect soul is one who has achieved love for the Supreme Person,” she said.

She explained that while a spirit soul is all-beautiful as it is part and parcel of an all-attractive God, what we see now are temporary covering of our real selves.

“The spirit soul is covered by two kinds of bodies. One is the physical or gross body. The other one is the subtle body which is composed of the mind, intelligence and false ego. Both are temporary.”

Thus, due to our material covering, we experience the feeling of death.

She also quoted the Bible, specifically 2 Corinthians 5:6,8 which says, "Therefore we are always of good courage, and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We are of good courage I say, and prefer to rather be out of the body and be home with the Lord."

If everything is falling apart and we don't know what is happening in our lives, we should take shelter in Him, remember Him as our Supreme Lord and rest our hearts and mind in Him.

In Bhagavad-gita 18.65, the Lord said, “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.”

“So, we really need to know (1) who we really are – that we are not the body and mind but eternal spirit souls, (2) live by it, (3) know our essence, our natural position and function and (4) connect ourselves to the Supreme Person, through a process,” she said.

Most of us are afraid of ghosts but Ms. Tulsi assures us that there is no reason to fear.

“Ghosts are persons like me or you but there is no physical body, only subtle body. They can’t be seen but there are symptoms of their presence,” Ms. Tulsi said.

Most ghosts are those whose material body were killed through accident, calamities, murder, suicide and overdose of drugs and alcohol.

“They become ghosts because their life quotas have been cut short,” Ms. Tulsi said.

“For example, a person’s life quota is 50 years but he killed himself at age 20. So, he has to be a ghost for 30 more years. It is very offensive and sinful to kill your body, ” she said.

“Ghosts also result when those who died are attached to their houses and families.”

She narrated a story of a grandmother who used to work as an abortionist. She buried the dead babies at her backyard. In that area, she can hear voices of children in a chorus.

But, what about ghosts who move objects?

“There are ghosts who can move objects just like a person who develops a mystic power can bend spoons through his mind. So, it would depend on the mind power of the ghost,” she said.

Ms. Tulsi admits that there are also ghosts who play pranks on the living.

“Some of them make us feel their presence because they are envious and unhappy. They see other people enjoying but they cannot because they do not have the physical senses. So they cause trouble. This also happens when a loved one misses you. Like a ghost who is touching her child’s hair,” she said.

She also admitted that ghosts also take possession of a living body if one is always thinking of them.

“There is greater harm if you always think of ghosts because they communicate through the mind.” she said.

Although it is easier said than done, Ms. Tulsi said we should not be afraid of ghosts because they cannot harm us. “Fear more those people with bodies,” she concluded.*

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