Art Of Dying

Art Of Dying – In the previous article, we discussed how Bhakti Yoga teaches us the Art of Living. Here we will see how Bhakti Yoga also teaches us the art of Dying. Those, who have perfected in the art of living, always remember Krishna and never forget Him. They are sure to achieve the highest destination at the time of death as well.

Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita:

anta-kāle ca mām eva
smaran muktvā kalevaram
yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaṁ
yāti nāsty atra saṁśayaḥ

[Bhagavad Gita 8.5 ]

Translation – “And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering me alone, at once attains my nature. Of this there is no doubt.”

yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ

[Bhagavad Gita 8.6]

Translation: “Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunti, that state he will attain without fail.”

This is the art of dying as prescribed in Bhagavad Gita by Lord Himself. One of the Mahajanas, Bhishma Pitamah is the epitome of this art. Even while lying in the bed of arrows, Bhisma Deva taught rajadharma to Yudhisthira, and left his body while offering wonderful prayers at the lotus feet of Krishna

His passing away is so auspicious that all sages from different planets gathered to witness the divine departure of this great soul. Lord
Krishna was personally present at his deathbed. He voluntarily left his body while offering choicest prayers to the Lord. The consciousness of Bhismadeva, while departing this world, is depicted as follows:

Thereupon that man who spoke on different subjects with thousands of meanings, and who fought on thousands of battlefields and protected thousands of men, stopped speaking and, being completely freed from all bondage, withdrew his mind from everything else and fixed his wide-open eyes upon the original Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who stood before him, four-handed, dressed in yellow garments that glittered and shined.

Art Of Dying

Actually, he didn’t die. He conquered his death by the sheer power of his devotion. A perfected soul never dies – he gets back his spiritual body and dwells in the spiritual world eternally while rendering loving devotional service. So, loving devotional service – Bhakti yoga – is the essence of our existence.

This is called the Art of Dying which means that finally when the time of death comes we should have developed so much of detachment from this world, detachment from our achievements, detachment from our position, detachment from our family members, detachment from so many designations we might have, that we remember only Krishna at that time. And if we remember Him, then Krishna is promising that we will attain His divine nature.

Lord Krishna is saying that whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, he will surely attain that state in next birth. If A man is eating meat and other abominable foods; in his next life he is sure to get a body of a hog who eats anything and everything, whereas A man approaching a woman with the bestial consciousness of lust, gets a dog’s body. Whatever the state of consciousness you will have at the time of death, exactly a body befitting that state you will attain.

Meaning of Art Of Dying

We should not think that death is very far away from us. Death will come any time; how and when only Krishna knows. That’s why we should not waste our time. We should utilize our time by meditating on Krishna. In this world people will give you many dreams, but all those dreams have no value if you are not able to connect yourself to Krishna through those dreams. You should have big dreams but those dreams should connect you to Krishna. Those dreams are suicidal that take us away from Krishna.

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