Answers to the question of DEATH !

 

One of the most puzzling questions humans have tried to answer is that of “DEATH” ! 

 *Why do we die ?
* What happens to us after death ?
* Do we “live on” in some way after death ?
* Will we be alone after death ?
* Who will  I meet after death ?
* Will I meet my family, friends, enemies there ?
* Can we dictate when we die ?
* Can we direct our course after death ?
* Can we conquer death ?
* Is it possible to live forever ?

 

As thinking entities, humans have tried desperately to understand death and all that it stands for –

* Loss of “life”.
* Sudden separation from everyone and everything we are “familiar” with.
* As far we know, it’s a one way trip.
* Not knowing what’s beyond.

 

Each and every culture has tried to answer these crucial questions. 
Each and every culture has its own stories to provide a logical or mythological reasons to explain puzzling questions around this subject.
Each and every religion has tried to reassure its followers that if you follow their teachings, you too can get over your fear of death.
Each and every major prophet, divine entity, avatar has said that they have gone beyond death !

 

Here is quick look at how death and resurrection is viewed by some of Hinduism’s various sects and some of the world’s other religions.

Religion / Sect / Philosophy

 

Ideas related to death

How to Conquer death

Hinduism

* Death is but an aspect of the divine, hence it is not to be feared.

* Body is made of the 5 “elements” and hence subject to decay and death.  But the soul is immortal.  Hence death does not impact the soul – only the body.

* Death is a bridge between two “lives”.

* Life continues after death in an eternal cycle.

* As souls, we are bound by karmic bonds and hence concepts such as “relationships” are limited to a few lifetimes.  Family, friends, enemies, advisors are but temporary titles to these ever-changing relationships.

 

* There is nothing to “conquer”, death is a natural phenomena.

* Laws of Karma dictate what sort of life we have in the future.  Do good karma now and reap its rewards in lives to come.

* Physical immortality is granted to but a few.

* Through yoga, anyone can control the life force, “prana”, and live in their physical body for extended periods of time.

* Through the help of the divine, (choosing a form of God that best resonates with their nature), devotees can help smooth the path they must tread after death – either into another “life” or into another “realm”.

* Through the grace of God(s), soul can enter the various divine abodes – Svarga, Bhrama-lok, Kailash, Vaikuntha etc.

 

Hinduism / Shivaism

* Death is an integral part of the cycle of “life”.

* Shiva’s cosmic dance – Tandava – creates and dissolves the universe in endless cycles.
Death is but a devotee of the great Lord Maha Mrutyunjaya – The Great Conqueror of Death !

* Shiva consumed poison, and yet lives.  Death has no fear for Shiva.

 

* Shiva’s compassion extends to ALL creatures / souls and he can’t bear to see them cry.  For this reason, he chooses to sit in the charnel ground, waiting to comfort and receive the dead.

* Devotee simply has to have faith in Shiva, for death can do no harm to Shiva’s followers.

Hinduism / Shakta

* Death is an inescapable reality of life.

* Like a caring mother, the great Goddess will protect and revive her devotes after death.

 

* The Great Mother loves her “children” so much, she will abandon them, not even in death, so have faith and you will not suffer during or after death.

Hinduism / Advaita

* Life, Death – they are both an illusion, born of our ignorance.  Soul has no beginning and hence no end.  It can not die, so what is the point of weeping for the deathless soul ?

* Body is made of ever changing, organic materials.  It is bound to decay !  Why weep for that which is bound to transform and change ?

* Soul is immortal.

* Who are we to weep for ?

* Through study, contemplation, meditation and self realisation, we can appreciate the “bigger picture” and understand the complex bonds of karma and dharma that bind us to this body.  Once we recognise the temporary nature of this, we can rise above life, death and all that comes inbetween.

 

Hinduism / Vaishnav

* Death is a temporary interlude.

 

 * Faith in Vishnu, and his avataras, will lead the devotees to the “divine abode” (Vaikuntha / Golok / Saket etc - beyond heaven of Indra) after death.

 

Hinduism / Vaishnav / Pushti Marg / Shuddhadvaita

* We are all part and parcel of the divine.  For sake of divine lila (play), we have been separated from the divine.  Death simply propels us from one life to another till we recognise or true “nature” (swabhav). 

* Once initiated into Pushti Marg, through divine grace, we return to our divine source.

* Death, Yama, is the brother of Shri Yamunaji.  Drinking the water of river Yamuna makes the devotees nephews and nieces of Yama.  Yama would never be mean to his own relatives !

 

* Shri Krushna will protect his devotees even after death.  Devotees will return to Golok and join Shri Krushna in his eternal lila.

 

 

 

Jainism

* Life and death are part of this eternally transforming, decaying world.

* Once the soul becomes aware of karmic intricacies, it can work towards replaying its karmic debts and eradicate last vestiges of these.

* Through mediation, scriptural studies and strict practise of non-violence, the soul can free itself from all karmic bonds.  It will than become free from the cycles of life and birth and attain Moksha.

 

 

 

 

Buddhism

* Life is full of pain due to our karmic actions in the past or our present.

* Death is inevitable.

* Rebirth is equally inevitable.

 

* Through meditation and study of scriptures, wipe away all karmic debts and enter the state of Nirvana – free from cycle of birth and death.

 

 

 

Judaism

* Death is inevitable.

* You only live once.

* Heaven is eternal.

* Evil will suffer hell for a year before being destroyed.

* As off-shoots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam carried these idea forward and added their own slant.

 

 * Follow the 600 plus laws (mitzvahs) of the Torah and the Good will be rewarded with eternal stay in Gan Eden.

 

 

 

 

Christianity

* Death is the wage of “sin”.  Due to Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden of Eden, all humanity is conceived in sin, hence it is doomed to die.

* We have but one life.

* After death, we will be reunited with our friends, family and foes in heaven or hell, depending on where we are sentenced to go to.

* Burial is essential for a physical resurrection on Judgement Day.

* Sojourn in heaven or hell are both eternal.

 

* Physical Resurrection is only possible through God’s grace, which can only be achieved through Christ. 

 

 

 

Islam

* Death is inevitable.

* Burial is essential for a physical resurrection on judgement day.

* Heaven or hell will be decided by God on Judgement Day.

 

* Belief of Koran, its prophet and his God will allow the believers to request entry into haven.

 

 

 

 

 

© Bhagwat Shahhh   
Bhagwat_s@Yahoo.com

 

 

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