Your Death Will Be According To Your Wishes

Spirituality, Interfaith, Vivekananda

 “ Is n’t gospel the study of death? True proponents are always enthralled in the practice of dying. ” — Plato 

 Death is certain. We all know that. What we don't know is when we will die and how our end is to come. That's one big source of anxiety in our lives. It may not be always apparent on the face, but deep down in the unplumbed depths of our mind this anxiety is ever-present and is veritably strong. It shoots up sometimes when someone close to us dies, or when we're in a profoundly despairing mood, or when we begin to question the meaning of life and mortal actuality. 

 

 We generally try to keep down from the study of death( or, more directly, we try to help it from sticking around too long in the mind) by involving ourselves with life and its enterprises. We spend hours planning how to do this and that, or deciding what untreated job is to be completed over the weekend, or wondering where we should go during recesses, or figuring on meeting someone for commodity, and so on. Not every plan works out the way we want it to. Some of our plans miscarry miserably, some go crazy interior, some need to be drastically modified, some bear last- nanosecond differences and, if we're lucky, a many of our plans are fulfilled impeccably. 


 Life is full of inconsistencies. It isn't surprising that utmost of our plans fail, what's amazing is that a many do manage to succeed. The topmost riddle enterprises our paradoxical geste 

 . We're eager to plan our life which is only a crazy pack of misgivings, but we don't indeed feel the necessity to plan our death, although it's the only event we can be absolutely certain about. also, plans about life depend on numerous variables over which we've no control, but a plan about death is entirely a particular affair involving only the existent, and hence far easier to carry out successfully. Who's further intelligent and practical — bone

 who plans to pluck the stars from the sky or bone

 who plans to pick apples from a tree in the vicinity

 

 The sense behind this thinking can be questioned, of course. We can point out, for case, that if life has its misgivings, so has death. Just as we can not be too sure about the how and when of anything in life, we're also not sure about the how and when of death. So in what way is death less uncertain than other events in life? This is a valid question. And the answer is that, in this respect, the event of death is indeed analogous to other events. 


 One big difference still is that, while some awaited events may noway take place, or if they do, not in the way we allowed

 they would, death always takes place and every time in the same way, videlicet, by the stopping of the breath. Everything in life is continuously changing; only the fact of death has remained unchanged. We can be absolutely certain about nothing except our eventual death. In Swami Vivekananda’s words 

 

 “ The whole world is going towards death, everything dies. All our progress, our vanities, our reforms, our luxuries, our wealth, our knowledge, have that bone

 end — death. That's all that's certain. metropolises come and go, conglomerates rise and fall, globes break into pieces and deteriorate into dust, to be blown about by the atmospheres of other globes. therefore it has been going on from time without beginning. Death is the end of everything. Death is the end of life, of beauty, of wealth, of power, of virtue too. Saints die and wrongdoers die, lords die and mendicants die. They're all going to death. ”( CW, 2. 92- 93) 


 We don't know in advance the exact time of our death or under what garb our death is to come. But this depends on circumstances beyond our control anyway, and knowing or not knowing about it can not alter what's to take place. What's within our control is how we encounter death whenever it chooses to come. Our internal medication and station are the crucial factors that decide how we ’ll face our death. While we can not choose the external manner of our death, we can surely choose how we're going to face this great event. We do thus have some choice in the matter. 

 

 occasionally we can exercise our choice indeed in the external circumstances leading to our death. The great Greek champion Socrates( 470- 399 BCE) did it — and in what a staid manner! His musketeers had come to the captivity and offered him an easy escape, they had bought all the officers who stood between him and liberty. Had Socrates accepted the offer, he'd have been less great than he was. But he gave them the repulse without indeed a moment’s vacillation. At the trial the judges had wished to let Socrates go, but the angry crowd had suggested for his death this was indeed a singular evidence of Socrates’s conviction that the state be administered by its wisest men and not guided by the mob. 


 Socrates also explosively believed and tutored that death wasn't the end of everything. “ When you lay me down in my grave, say that you're burying my body only, and not my soul, ” he told his votaries. Socrates was no armchair champion. He lived what he tutored. He was quick to realize that the time had now come to die for what he tutored. “ Let us face death as we've faced life — dauntlessly, ” he said. The wisest man in Greece knew his death was essential for the survival of hisphilosophy.However, his gospel would warrant credibility, If he compromised his values in order to save his life. He might live but his gospel would die. Plato’s description of the event not only brings gashes to our eyes but also fills our heart with profound admiration for this stalwart, wise man. In choosing the right time and manner of his death, Socrates made himself and his training immortal. 

 

 Another illustration comes to mind. Sambhāji( 1657- 89), Hindu king Shivāji’s eldest son, was locked by Aurangzeb after Shivāji’s death. The emperor offered Sambhāji a choice “ Convert to Islam and you ’ll be set free, or differently get ready for torture and death. ” The stalwart son of the stalwart father chose the ultimate. branch by branch his body was crippled and at every stage he was offered the volition. Sambhāji’s resoluteness was unyielding. He stuck to his ordnance till the last. He failed a idol’s death, because he'd made a idol’s choice. 


 The stories of Socrates and Sambhāji are corridor of given history. There have been innumerous others each over the world who chose their deaths intelligently and came icons in their own little way, but we know nearly nothing about them. There's no record available of their frippery, wisdom and achievements. The recorded history of the world is too partial, too sketchy, and not indeed balanced and representative, because it’s not entirely free from the particular prejudices and predispositions of those who recorded it. 

Nonetheless, we do know of the martyrdom of the early Christians; the gallant Rajput soldiers ’ fight- to- death with the Muslim raiders indeed when defeat was imminent; the mass tone- sacrifice( jauhar) of the Rajput women when the megacity fell and the raiders marched in; and the joy with which the youthful, provocateur Indians went to the gallows during the struggle for freedom from the British rule in India. 
 
 There are innumerous analogous exemplifications of nameless individualities from different corridor of the world. In every case, the persons involved could have lived, had they chosen to compromise their principles or adulterate their ideals or to slacken their tone- discipline. But they chose death over concession, thrall and moral depravity. They did n’t court death. They did n’t go out of their way to seek it. But when it came on its own, they encountered it with courage and wisdom, and embraced it joyfully. 
Joy and wisdom mark the deaths of these icons , while suffering and surrender mark the deaths by self-murder. Do n’t the self-murders choose their deaths? supposedly yes, but really no. self-murders do n’t actually “ choose ” death. They turn to death only when they feel they've no choices left. To them, death appears as the only exit- route to escape from the burdens they can no longer bear. Unfortunately, death is no escape at each, it’s only an fresh burden if it comes about through self-murder. self-murder is an admission of defeat. self-murders do n’t choose their deaths. It's death that chooses them when they're worn- eschewal and defeated. self-murder is no act of frippery. It’s not a death by choice. It’s a death by a vague and tone- convinced sense of coercion. 
 
 We may not be recreants, but we may not also get the occasion to choose the external circumstances leading to death. similar openings come to veritably many. But that should n’t count really. Our choices in the external world are limited. In the internal world, still, we've all the possible choices. Outside, we're our own masters. Our word reigns supreme within. It's in the inner world, thus, that we must choose our death before death chooses us in the external world. 

The only way to neutralize the terror of death is to “ die ” before dying. This was the tutoring of Prophet Mohammed. He said, “ Be in the world like a rubberneck, or like a passer on, and reckon yourself as of the dead. ” German Jeremiah and minstrel Abraham von Franckenberg( 1593 – 1652) advised “ Who dies not before dying, perishes when he dies. ” His Lutheran convert Daniel von Czepko( 1605 – 60) expressed the same idea in a different way “ She can not die, for she failed before her death, in order to be living when she failed. ” Yekiwo, the sixteenth century Japanese Zen Master, tutored “ If you're really desirous of learning Zen, it's necessary for you to formerly give up your life and to plunge right into the hole of death. ” In our own times, Sri Ramakrishna( 1836 – 86) made the idea clear through his life. His votaries set up him one day in a high state of samādhi, addressing the Divine Mother about his own approaching illness “ O mama, what will you negotiate by killing one who's formerly dead ” 
 
 A story from the Bhāgavata, which Sri Ramakrishna recited frequently, helps us understand what it's that prevents us from “ dying ” before our death 
“ In a certain place the fishers were catching fish. A vampire swooped down and snared a fish. At the sight of the fish, about a thousand crows chased the vampire and made a great noise with their cawing. Whichever way the vampire flew with the fish, the crows followed it. 
 
 
 “ The vampire flew to the south and the crows followed it there. The vampire flew to the north and still the crows followed after it. The vampire went east and west, but with the same result. As the vampire began to fly about in confusion, lo, the fish dropped from its mouth. The crows at formerly left the vampire alone and flew after the fish. therefore relieved of its worries, the vampire sat on the branch of a tree and allowed
 ‘ That wretched fish was at the root of all my troubles. I've now got relieve of it and thus I'm at peace. ’”( The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,p. 314) 

 Sri Ramakrishna also explained the moral of the story 
 
 “ The Avadhuta learnt this assignment from the vampire, that as long as a man has the fish, that is, worldly solicitations, he must perform conduct and accordingly suffer from solicitude, anxiety, and restlessness. No sooner does he renounce these solicitations than his conditioning fall down and he enjoys peace of soul. ” 

 In the below story, the fish fell from the vampire’s mouth accidentally and the raspberry was at peace, chancing to its relief and joy that the root cause of its trouble had faded. 
 
 Let us now try making a slight variation in the story. Let us suppose that our vampire is intelligent and has ever developed the capacity to suppose deeply. Chased by the legion of crows and flying helter- skelter, it begins to suppose 

 
 “ There's no way I can eat this fish until these crows leave me, and these lubbers aren't going to leave me in peace so long as the fish is with me. It's insolvable for me to outfly such an inviting number of them. The only way I can free myself is by letting go of the fish. After all, the fish is n’t everything. I can fluently do without this bone
 . It can not be the end of the world for me. Why, I can indeed get a bigger fish latterly on if I try hard enough. ” 
 Allowing therefore, our intelligent vampire drops the fish purposely and freely. The crows give up the chase and swoop on the falling fish. From the height over, the wise vampire looks down and smiles peacefully. 
 
 What do we learn? The shadowing crows emblematize death, the fish is the attachment to the world, and the vampire is you and me. Just as the vampire is noway sure when and how the crows will catch up with it, we too are noway sure when and how death will catch up with us. So long as the fish remained with the vampire, the crows didn't give up the chase; so long as the attachment to the world remains in us, death isn't going to stop chasing us. Once the vampire detached itself purposely from the fish, the crows desisted to afflict the vampire. When we detach ourselves purposely from the world, death will cease to afflict us. The presence of the crows came inapplicable to the vampire when it gave up its claim on the fish; the presence of death will come inapplicable to us when we give up our claim on this world.
 
 Commodity must be said about the word “ world, ” to clarify what's intended in the use of expressions similar as “ attachment to the world ” and “ detachment from the world. ” What's this world? typically we'd at formerly point our cutlet to everything around us and say, well, this is the world. That would n’t be an accurate answer, still. A pupil of Vedanta learns to look at everything from the private viewpoint. The world isn't out there, it's right then. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, “ It's then, I'm carrying it all with me. My own body ”( CW 4. 244). 
 
 To go back to the story of the vampire. There were any number of fish in gutters, lakes, and abysses, and there were thousands in the nets of fishers. But they weren't the cause of the vampire’s problem. The problem- creator was the one fish the vampire had fiercely held in its beak. also, our so- called world isn't at each the cause of our problem. The real problem- creator is this little bit of the world called “ my body ” to which I'm desperately adhering. I need everything in the world only if it's applicable to my own body and mind. Vivekananda’s words convey the idea most forcefully 
“ The circle of vision has come so narrow, so demoralized, so brutal, so beast! No bone
 desires anything beyond this body. Oh, the terrible declination, the terrible misery of it! What little meat, the five senses, the stomach! What's the world but a combination of stomach and coitus? Look at millions of men and women — that is what they're living for. Take these down from them and they will find their life empty, pointless, and intolerable. similar are we. And similar is our mind, it's continually yearning for ways and means to satisfy the hunger of the stomach and coitus. All the time this is going on. ”( CW, 8. 118) 
The crows, which emblematize death, or the destruction of my own little world, are going to hang me so long as I hold on to the fish, the attachment to my body which produces everlasting worldly solicitations. So I begin to reflect, as the vampire did in our story 
 
 “ There's no way I can enjoy perfect peace and fulfillment until the fear of death is going to hang me. I can not help the destruction of my body, which is what death really is. This destruction, indeed the study of which gives me the jitters, appears terrible because ever I've begun to feel myself one with the body — and that's responsible for all the mess I find myself in. Like the vampire let go of the fish, I shall let go of the supposition that the body is “ me ” — and, like the vampire came free from the chasing crows, I shall be freed from death. ” 
 Letting go of the body- knowledge is, of course, not as easy as letting go of the fish. But for the vampire in the original story, letting go of the fish wasn't easy moreover. It shielded the fish from the raiding crows as if its very life depended on it. It was only through accident that the fish fell down. But in the modified interpretation of our story, the vampire let go of the fish purposely and freely. 
 
 The parallel can be drawn to our mortal situation. utmost of us are like the vampire in the original story. Just as the fish was each-important to it, the body — our “ little world ” — is all important to us. Big and small problems afflict us from all sides all the time, but we dare not suppose of anything beyond this little body and its requirements. Whether we admit it or not, whether we're conscious of it or not, the simple verity is that for utmost of us the whole world revolves round our own body- mind axis. We're hysterical to let it go. Who knows, this may hurl us headlong into the vast, unknown emptiness where we may have nothing to hold on for support. That’s the implied study and the unvoiced fear. 
But the world is noway without at least a many stalwart explorers who dare to let go their hold on the body- mind axis and jump into the transcendent hugeness that lies beyond. They're like the vampire in the modified story. They've learnt to suppose deeply. Floating on the face of life satisfies them no more. They want to plunge deep within. 
 
 In the inmost and deepest recesses of their heart they discover the way to overcome death. They realize that they can not — indeed, no bone
 can — disconnect the body from death; so they do the coming stylish thing. They disconnect themselves from the body, and smile — like our vampire did — when death comes to claim the unclaimed lump of meat and bones. That’s it! The body — not the Ātman is dust and unto dust it has to ultimately return. 
What's the body- knowledge of these stalwart souls replaced by? By the Ātman- knowledge or God- knowledge. Their attachment to the body is replaced by the attachment to God. Their attachment to material life is replaced by the attachment to spiritual life. Dying to the world, they begin living in God this sums up stylish the lives of all true spiritual campaigners. intricate Christian monk and minstrelSt. Symeon the New Theologian( 949 – 1022), whose riotous jottings are included in the Philokalia, says 
 
 “ A man who has attained the final perfection is dead and yet not dead, but infinitely more alive in God, with whom he lives, for he no longer lives by himself. ” 
‘ Abd al- Qādir al- Jilāni( 1078- 1166), the great Persian Sufi of Baghdad, explains how to die to the world in order to begin living in God 
 
 “ Die, also, to the brutes, by God’s leave, and to your heartstrings by His command, and you'll also be good to be the lodging- place of the knowledge of God. The sign of your death to the brutes is that you detach yourself from them and don't look for anything from them. The sign that you have failed to your heartstrings is that you no longer seek benefit for yourself, or to shield off injury and you aren't concerned about yourself, for you have committed all effects unto God. The sign that your will has been intermingled in the Divine Will is that you seek nothing of yourself or for yourself God’s Will is working in you. Give yourself up into the hands of God like the ball of the polo- player who sends it to and down with his mallet, or like the dead body in the hands of the bone
 who washes it, or like the child in its mama ’s blood. ” 

As respects Meister Eckhart( 1260- 1327), the German Dominican theologian, it can nearly be said that every runner of his workshop proclaims death. “ The soul must put itself to death, ” he says. “ The area of God is for none but the completely dead. ” And, again, “ One must be dead to see God. ” We find this in Theologia Germanica, a fourteenth century textbook said to have been written by a clerk of the Teutonic Order “ If the Creator shall enter in, the critter must depart. Of this be assured. ” 
 
 Again and again, through different imageries and words, the same communication comes across. So long as we do n’t come eyeless to the world, we can not open our eyes to behold God. So long as we do n’t die to the world, we can not begin to live in God. We can not live in reality until we've failed to vision. 
The world — or the “ vision ” — is first and foremost my own body and mind, their requirements and solicitations, and my identification with them all. How do I die to the world? By refusing to identify with my body as “ me. ” I also come, in the words of Rumi, “ a dead man walking. ” “ The dead body resents nothing, ” said Swami Vivekananda. “ Let us make our bodies dead and cease to identify ourselves with them ”( CW, 7. 89). By dying to the profane world, the candidate gets a mystical birth in the spiritual world. 
 
 Those who take to monastic life are anticipated to renounce everything internally as well as externally. The “ everything ” includes the attachment to the body, that is, to our “ little world ” that connects us to the larger world outdoors. The monastic has to come “ dead ” to the world, both inwardly and outwardly. The internal death occurs when the body- knowledge is replaced with God- knowledge. In India, this death is represented externally by the burial solemnities( śrāddha) which the monastic performs a day previous to entering the sannyāsa promises. The monastic is thenceforward dead to the world. Just as nothing in the world can attract, repel, scarify, bait, agitate, and excite a dead body, so it can not a true monastic. 
The monastics are anticipated to remain supremely detached, in peace with themselves and in peace with the world. Their detachment doesn't meannon-participation in the conditioning of the world. They share wholeheartedly, with total fidelity, but without any tone- interest and emotional trap. They continue to work generally further than indeed the so- called workaholics but they've no layoff to grind, no score to settle, no ambition to prod them on, no duty or obligation to anybody anywhere anytime. They work for the good of others as naturally and freely as the sun gives light. The true monastics are free because they're dead to the world and have now begun to live in God. 
 
 To be suitable to live in God, thenon-monastic spiritual candidate must also “ die, ” but only internally. They may also, at some stage, want to perform the śrāddha ritual and ramify the ties with the world but this also must be done only mentally. Outwardly, thenon-monastic candidate continues to live like all others, interacting with the world to the extent it's necessary, carrying out all the duties and shouldering all the liabilities without any tone- interest, and inwardly remaining completely concentrated on God. This applies also to monastics who are members of a spiritual community. unqualified Jeremiah and nun of the Franciscan Capuchine order, Family Consolata( 1903- 46) related her own experience “ As regards the community, I try to consider myself as formerly dead. In this way, everything becomes indifferent to me and I remain in peace. ” 

 Peace is, of course, one of the first effects we witness when we die to the world. This is only the launch of richer treasures that come as we begin to learn the art of living in God. Total fulfillment, freedom, and perfection are attained when our body- knowledge is completely and irrevocably replaced with God- knowledge. 
 
 Death by choice can not be separated from life by choice. At present utmost of us are dead to God because we've chosen to be alive to theworld.However, our choice must now be reversed, If we want to be true campaigners of God. We must now choose to die to the world in order to begin living in God, and we must choose to live in God in order to die to the world. We can not have the one without the other 

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