Enlightenment raises us from the fear of death to the death of fear
The fear of death haunts all living beings. This fear actuates the many intricate adaptations for self-preservation among nonhuman beings as well as the elaborate plans for self-defense among humans.
Sadly enough, all these arrangements are ultimately futile, because nothing can save us from the cruel clutches of death.
Moreover, acknowledging this fear often erodes, even evaporates, the joy of living by keeping our thoughts constantly in the scary shadow of death. To avoid becoming paranoid, we subconsciously neglect and forget the inevitability of death. But despite our denials, death grinds on relentlessly, reducing our dreams to debris by it ruthless march in one brutal moment.
If neither acknowledging nor denying the reality of death helps, what helps?
Only enlightenment helps.
Enlightenment catapults us to the spiritual level of reality that is beyond the jurisdiction of death. The Bhagavad-gita (02.24) helps us understand that we are spiritual beings, souls, who can’t be destroyed by any of the things that destroy everything material. We are meant for an eternal life of love with Krishna. By progressive spiritual illumination, we realize ourselves to be indestructible. This realization sets off a wondrous event in our heart – the slow but sure death of our fear of death.
When we train ourselves to live at the spiritual level by practicing devotional service, this training improves our life even at the material level – we may not live longer, but we live better. Rather than living in pursuit of illusory enjoyment in the arena of fear and death, we live for enlightened fulfillment in the arena of selfless devotional service to Krishna and all his children. We make the best contribution in this life while progressing towards the best destination in our afterlife. What can be a better way to live?
“This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.”