Fear of Death – Part 2 of 2

Can the fear of death be overcome?

Yes, it can. It is actually very simple. All that is needed is a little knowledge and a little experience. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be a little quiver of trepidation when the time comes, but that’s just the body having its say.

Stories and teachings about death and the afterlife are found in sacred writings of most spiritual and religious traditions, so finding a spiritual path and bothering yourself to try to understand the teachings of that path is a good source of knowledge. If an experienced teacher comes with the package, all the better.

Knowledge is a good thing, but personal experience is even more convincing. The practice that will give you the necessary experience to relieve the fear of death, is meditation. The sages tell us that even a little bit of meditation can accomplish this. Unfortunately, what many people think of as meditation isn’t really meditation at all. It is authentic meditation to which the sages refer.

Before you get in a swivet about having to ferret out this meditation business and then go the trouble of doing it, let me reassure you that it is no trouble at all. When I discovered that I didn’t have to twist the body into a pretzel or make it rigid with pain in order to meditate, I got excited. I could actually do this!

With everything one has to do to navigate life, it may seem like a challenge to find the time to meditate, but if I could only convey with words, all the gifts and wonders that it will bring you, you would be jumping up and down with delight, eager to begin.

Through meditation you can reap a huge harvest of benefits and wonders beyond your imagining. All you have to do is do it. It will be the smartest thing you’ve ever done in your life. I speak from experience. But let me be more specific:

♦ Through this practice, you will experience for yourself, that you do not need a body to see, hear, feel, smell or taste.

♦ You do not need a body to go places. In fact, you can go to more places more easily without one.

♦ You will even discover a multitude of undreamed of places that surpass imagination.

♦ With time, possibly only a year or two, you will experience what it is like on the other side of life without having to die for a few minutes and come back.

♦ With this practice, you will discover through your own experience, that your body is just a temporary residence and that YOU NEVER DIE.

Granted, you have to do this practice for a substantial amount of time on a daily basis. Some exceptions are inevitable, but you get my drift.

What Is a Substantial Amount of Time?

You need two hours a day. You can cut this time shorter, but I recommend that you don’t. Most people who cut the time shorter give up out of impatience. We are an instant gratification society. If you are patient and persistent, you might get away with it. If you are young, you may be tempted to put it off. Do not make this mistake. You have advantages now that will go away with age.

If you really want something and it costs more money than you have, you would probably find a way to come up with enough money over time. Well, if you can do that, you can do this practice. Give something else up if you have to. There is always something we do that we don’t really have to be doing. The only reason people don’t do this is because they don’t know what they are missing. Rather than repeating myself, I will send you to this web page to find out more. It opens in a new window.

I can assure you that if you are willing to take a chance that what I am telling you is true (it is) and put the time into it, you will never regret it.

Durga Ma

Fear of Death – Part 1

Are You Afraid of Death?

This is a question I have either been asked, or heard others ask, innumerable times. From person to person, answers to this question vary from yes, to no, to I don’t know, and other similar vagaries of uncertainty, denial or self-deceit. Mostly, we just don’t want to think about it. But then someone close to us dies, and there it is, glaringly conspicuous in its full glory without so much as a word, much less a question, and the mind goes to work to bury it asap. (The mind can be amazingly efficient with its burial processes.)

Those who contemplate this question sincerely will most likely sense a disquieting quiver of trepidation buried somewhere deep inside. This is fear. With very few exceptions, those who actually do bother to contemplate this question seriously, and are able to be honest with themselves, are aware of this sneaky little quiver that tells them that they are afraid of death.

Who Isn’t?

It has been said that even the sages experience this quiver of fear when the time of their death becomes known to them, but being sages, upon letting go of all attachment to the body, they quickly establish equilibrium, all fear abandoned. They know that this fear is coming from the body itself, that they are not bodies, and they know that what comes next is preferable to their current situation. They know this because they have already been there by means of a certain spiritual practice.

Most of those who have had after-death experiences—people who are said to have died for a short time and come back to tell about it—speak of a light that is filled with love, acceptance, family or other loved-ones welcoming them, other notable characters, even God or some “voice” giving them a choice to stay or go back. The scenarios vary, but they have one thing in common: They tell us that they no longer fear death, that there is nothing to fear.

In some after-death experiences, individuals have been “dead” considerably beyond what is medically accepted as an amount of time in which the body can be revived without permanent disability. There are people who have proven this generality to be just that, a generality that doesn’t apply to everyone.

What Is Death, Anyway?

Death takes place when the life force leaves the body. The life force leaves the body when you do.

What about breathing, heartbeat, brain activity, all those things that stop beeping on the monitors?

Through a certain spiritual practice, there are times that these bodily functions stop, sometimes for long periods of time, and you don’t die. So it stands to reason that not breathing and having no heartbeat are, by themselves, not necessarily indicative of death.

Durga Ma

Guru Gita – Part 4 of 4

Concerning Discipleship, Practices, Actions and Benefits, and the Characteristics of a Liberated Person

From another version with a few footnotes.

Great Goddess, listen to the way of meditation on the Guru, which grants all joys, always brings all happiness, and gives worldly fulfillment as well as liberation:

I remember
venerable Guru as Parabrahman*, I speak about venerable Guru as Parabrahman, I bow to venerable Guru as Parabrahman, I revere venerable Guru as Parabrahman.

*The Absolute, God’s superior nature as opposed to God’s inferior, or secondary, nature, mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita.

I bow to the Truth-Guru, blissful God, bestower of the highest joy, the Absolute in the form of knowledge beyond duality, all-pervasive like the sky, the object of “Thou art That” and others. One, eternal, pure, unchanging witness of all thought*, beyond all modifications, and free of the three gunas**.

* Thought, meditation, reflection.
** Qualities of nature: sattva (smooth-flowing), rajas (passionate or intense activity), tamas (very slow moving or fixed).

I bow to the Guru as Brahman*, eternal and pure, beyond perception, without manifest form, and without impurity, eternal Truth, consciousness and bliss.

* God. God’s secondary, or relative nature. Brahman – “growth, expansion, evolution.”

One should meditate on the divine form of the Guru seated on the throne situated in the lotus in the center of the heart, shining like the crescent moon, holding the book of knowledge and bestowing the desired boon . . .


Who is clad in white garments, anointed with white paste and flowers, with the appearance of pearl, joyous, with two eyes and a gentle smile, treasure house of abundant grace, with divine Shakti on the left.

I bow always to venerable Guru, who is cheerful, who is bliss, who exudes bliss, whose nature is knowledge, who has awareness of the Self, who is the Lord of Yogis*, adorable, and who is the remedy for the disease of worldly existence.

* Shiva

I bow to that Guru in whom five natural, fundamental actions are constantly revealed: creating, sustaining, transforming, retaining, and the bestowing of boons.

Alternate translation of the five actions: creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment, and bestowal of grace.

In the morning, recite the divine name while thinking of the two-eyed, two-armed, peaceful Guru in the white lotus in the head, fearless and endowed with boons [grace].

There is nothing greater than the Guru. [This is repeated four times.] This is according to the teaching of Shiva [“Highest of Yogis”]. [This is repeated four times.]

This is also indeed Shiva. [This is repeated four times.] This is according to my teaching. [This is repeated four times.]

If the Guru is meditated upon in this way, knowledge arises by itself. Having done so, one feels/experiences thus: “I am liberated by the grace of the Truth-Guru.”

Even so, one should purify the mind by following the path shown by the Guru, so that whatever transient things that have been ascribed to the Self, may all be released.

By this, the essential nature of everything may be known. Knowledge is said to be of the mind. One should consider that knowledge is identical with the object of knowledge. There is no other way.

Great Goddess, once having heard all of this, one who speaks ill of the Guru falls into the most dreadful state as long as there is a sun and a moon*.

* So long as sun and moon—prana and apana—have not cancelled each other out as such, through union, yoga.

As long as there is a body, and even to the end of a kalpa,* one should never forsake the Guru, even if he behaves in a manner beyond one’s understanding.

* Kalpa – A time period, i.e., the period of a yuga, an age.

Before the Guru, wise disciples do not speak in any way that suggests doership on their part, nor do they not speak the truth.

Having spoken rudely before the Guru in this manner, or having arguments or confrontations with the Guru, one would be born as a brahmarakshasa* in a region of a waterless wilderness.

* Brahmarakshasa – One born with the tendency to be ruled by desires of the body, such as thirst, literally and figuratively; hence the metaphor a waterless wilderness.

Parvati, the Guru protects one if he is cursed by sages, snake demons, or even gods, and also from the fear of the time of death.

The gods, sages and others also, are surely powerless against the enmity of the Guru, by which they are soon destroyed. About this there is no doubt.

Goddess, the word “Guru,” composed of the two letters*, “gu” and “ru” is the greatest mantra which, according to their meaning as taught by ancient scriptures, Guru is actually the highest state.

* In Sanskrit, a letter is a syllable.

Indeed, only those who serve the Guru are true sannyasis [renunciants], whether they know the Vedas and Smritis or not. Other devotees are merely wearing the right clothes [uniform, i.e., traditional white or colors worn by aspirants of different ashramas].

Just as one lamp lights another, the Guru may impart knowledge that all is Brahman [God], imperceptible, eternal, highest, without form, and without the three qualities of nature [the three gunas mentioned above: ragas, tamas, sattvas].

By the path of the Guru, knowledge of one’s joyous Self arises spontaneously. By the gift of the Guru’s grace It is perceived directly.

I bow to this highest being whose own form is this world, from God to a blade of grass, and everything animate and inanimate.

I always bow to the Guru, who is the bliss of consciousness of Truth, who transcends all differences, is eternal, perfect, without form and without gunas, and who is established in the Self.

The Guru, who is higher than the highest, always bestows bliss, seated in the center of the space of the heart like a pure crystal, should be meditated upon.

Just as an image of a crystal may be seen in a mirror, bliss is reflected in the Self as consciousness. So, “I am That” indeed.

Listen as I speak of the feeling which arises as one meditates on the tiny person in the heart in the form of consciousness.

One should know that which is beyond perception and understanding, without name, form and sound. Parvati, that is God’s own nature.

Just as there is fragrance in flowers and camphor and other things by their own nature, and as heat and cold are what they are by their own nature, so also is God eternal by Its own nature.

Once aware that one’s Self is like That [God], one may dwell anywhere [or be everywhere, all-pervasive]. One’s meditation on the Guru becomes like that of a larva becoming a bee.

Practicing meditation on the Guru in that manner, one becomes one with God. There is no doubt that one is liberated as to pinda, pada and rupa.

Venerable Parvati said:

Mahadeva, what is pinda? What is pada? What is rupa and what is rupatita? Shankara [Shiva], please explain.

Venerable Mahadeva [Shiva] said:

Pinda is kundalini-shakti, pada is hamsa*, rupa is bindu,° and rupatita is that which is beyond rupa.

* Hamsa – The sound of the outgoing and ingoing breath. Esoterically, apana and prana, moon and sun, cool and warm, etc.

° Bindu – Seed. The seed, or potentiality, of manifestation, i.e., rupa, form or outward appearance(s).

With liberation* of pinda, liberation of pada and liberation of rupa, there is rupatita, liberation beyond form.

* In shaktipat kundalini yoga, sahaja yoga, Surrender Meditation, the liberation of pinda, pada and rupa would refer to releasing one’s control over them to God, thus making one free, liberated, at least in meditation, and ultimately, fully and finally liberated. When rupa is tita, one is free of outward appearances in every sense of the word. Tita means ‘gone beyond’; rupa-tita then, means gone beyond, or surpassed, form and outward appearances.

Oneself becoming one with everything, the highest Truth is perceived. This is  the Highest and nothing else. So all this is not anywhere [this world is not located any where].

Having perceived this by the grace of Guru, one can remain solitary, tranquil, desireless and unattached.

Whether one attains this completely or not, and whether attainment is great or small, there is delight indeed, for without desire, there is contentment.

Thus, the all-knowing state is that in which the embodied one is one with everything, so say the wise. Ever blissful and tranquil, one rejoices everywhere.

Wherever one lives, that place becomes an abode of merit. O Goddess, I have described to you, the characteristics of a liberated person.

♦ ♦ ♦

There you have it — the last of the four parts of Guru Gita installments. This one is a little long, but I didn’t get anything up last week, so I hope I’ve made up for that. I was upside down and going round and round. I believe I’m coming up for a landing soon and should be able to check out recent comments and make replies soon.

Love you all,
Durga Ma