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Reflections On Life And Death-Part II

Continued From First Part

What is death?

Viewed from a scientific perspective, a person is considered to be alive when he is able to respond to certain stimuli that he receives through the sense organs. When an organism or individual stops responding to the stimuli, we say he/she is dead. Now let us analyze this please.

Who exactly is dead? We see that the body is still there; no part of it has gone away. The same body is lying there which was there before death. Yet, when we say Mr. X has died, what we really mean is that the mind and intellect which were receiving and responding to the outer stimuli have left the body. The mind and intellect are expressions of thoughts in two different functions: Feeling (mind) and thinking (intellect). Hence we conclude that Mr. X. the person who called himself "I" or "me" is other than the body. Though the physical body is still there the mind and intellect have left it.

This physical body is composed of the five great elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth. It is the nature of the body to merge back with the same five elements when it is dead, meaning, when the mind and intellect have left it. Therefore. I must conclude that I am the possessor or the indweller of the body. The body is just like a tenement for which I pay rent in the form of food, three to four times a day. If I forget to pay the rent you can imagine what a tragedy I will have to meet with!

Similarly this "dwelling" is but an instrument through which I express myself in this world, just like my car. If my car is destroyed, why should I think that I am destroyed?" I am not the car. I am only the owner of the car. In the same way, if the body is destroyed, I am not destroyed. I am other than the body. My senses are only those instruments through which I receive stimuli from the outer world. Therefore, it is the mind and intellect which is the real individuality of a person.

When we say we must develop the personality, we denote that the mind and intellect are to be developed. A truly cultured or civilized person is one who has a sharp and integrated mind and intellect. Due to our unintelligent ways of thinking, however we do not look beyond the body.

Courtesy - The Sages speak about Life & Death published by Chinmaya Mission. West

About the author

Swami Chinmayananda

Swami Chinmayananda the great master's lectures were an outpour of wisdom. He introduced the Geetha Gnana Yagna. He wrote a lot of books on spirituality, commentaries to Vedantic texts, children books etc. He then started spreading His teachings globally.....

Read more about: swami chinmayananda life death
Story first published: Monday, April 12, 2010, 11:45 [IST]
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