We talk frequently about death without actually talking about death

“Ten things to do before you die” – such lists are often found in self-help circles. Most readers, however, focus on the things to do, not on death.

Though we talk frequently about death as depicted in news, movies and so forth, we hardly ever actually talk about death. We rarely think of death as something that will happen to us, especially as something that can happen in the near future. Of course, if we are asked whether we are mortal, we will answer yes. But that admission has a hollowness and remoteness to it, as if it referred to someone else.

If we unflinchingly contemplate death, we will be forced to ask ourselves: Does anything last beyond death? If death destroys everything, then what matters ultimately? Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita indicates that knowledge-seekers ponder life’s inescapable evils such as death (13.09), thereby spurring themselves to seriously enquire about life’s spiritual side (13.12).

Won’t dwelling on death be life-sapping? Not necessarily. It can be life-expanding, especially if we are guided by Gita wisdom.

The Gita explains that we are essentially souls who belong to an arena beyond death. We can attain that arena by raising our consciousness to the indestructible, spiritual level. Our consciousness resides wherever we are most attached. To raise our consciousness, we need to become attached to spiritual reality. Gita wisdom introduces us to the all-attractive supreme spiritual reality, Krishna, and helps us become attached to him by practicing bhakti-yoga.

Guided with spiritual knowledge, we won’t restrict our to-do-before-death list to things that will purportedly help us experience life fully before death. Instead, we will focus on those things that will help us shift our attachment to Krishna. Thereby, as we become increasingly, lovingly absorbed in Krishna and his service, we will relish life before death – and eternally thereafter too.

Think it over:

  • Even while talking about death, how do we not actually talk about death?
  • How can contemplating death be life-expanding?
  • How will spiritual knowledge change our to-do-before-death list?

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