Updated on: Friday, October 22, 2021, 12:42 AM IST

Guiding Light: Handling death


During these pandemic times, all of us have faced the death of someone known to us. As human beings, it is natural for us to mourn and one needs to do what is psychologically necessary to grieve and heal from the pain. At the same time, a spiritual seeker has an advantage. Firstly, the practical recognition that all who are born have to die and all those who are dead are going to be born again.

This idea of rebirth and many lives is a great solace if nothing else, to the human mind. Birth is not the beginning and death is not the end. There is a lot that has happened before our birth and there is a lot more that will happen after our death. We are going to live many lifetimes in our search for fulfillment and moksha. Even though death is inevitable and sometimes it all seems pointless, it is not pointless. Secondly, we are offered a chance by being sent here, to confront the ups and downs of life and to grow psychologically and spiritually so that we can discover the fulfilment that we are after.

Once we recognize this, although there are many lifetimes, death seems to give a poignancy to this lifetime itself. We know that we have limited time here and we have to make the best use of that time available, not merely to build up relationships, make money, etc., but to grow as human beings – to think clearly, feel deeply and act decisively. We learn to deal with gain and loss, victory and defeat, and take it all in our stride.

Of course, the final step of spirituality would be to discover oneself as completely free from birth and death. Birth and death are experiences that one goes through. One neither has birth nor death – this teaching is at the core of Vedanta. One who discovers this in this lifetime itself is considered a wise person. He/she would have gone through lifetimes of growth earlier. The more spiritual one is, the easier it is to handle loss and death.

(The writer is the founder of Aarsha Vidya Foundation. You can write to him at

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Published on: Friday, October 22, 2021, 07:00 AM IST