How to Die ?
Recently I was listening to a brilliant spiritual motivational speaker
in Tamil and I was intensely impacted when he said, “We all want to know
How to Live but do we know How to Die ? “.
I realised that there are numerous books and articles on “How to Live”
but I had never come across any book or article on “How to Die”.
So, I immediately sought the help of Google uncle and he obliged me with
14 billion references in 0.49 seconds ! (I thought that the very
response of Google was teaching me How to Die since it will take me the
rest of my life to sift through those responses!)
A cursory scan revealed that most of the responses related to Suicide or
something related to that when people feel an urge to enter death due to
many reasons like hopeless terminal illnesses etc.
I came across the mention of a book titled ” How to Die: An Ancient
Guide to the End of Life by the Roman Stoic philosopher Lucius Annaeus
Seneca (c. 4 BC–65 AD) who wrote “It takes an entire lifetime to learn
how to die”. The description of the book states “Seneca believed that
life is only a journey toward death and that one must rehearse for death
throughout life. Here, he tells us how to practice for death, how to die
well, and how to understand the role of a good death in a good life. He
stresses the universality of death, its importance as life’s final rite
of passage, and its ability to liberate us from pain, slavery, or
In our scriptures you have this famous quote from Bhagavad Gita
vāsānsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛihṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śharīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇānya
nyāni sanyāti navāni dehī
BG 2.22: As a person sheds worn-out garments and wears new ones,
likewise, at the time of death, the soul casts off its worn-out body and
enters a new one.
Also, many of us would have read this famous answer of Yudhistir to the
question of Yaksha
Yaksha: What is the greatest wonder?
Yudhisthir: Every day numerous living entities are dying and going to
the abode of Yama. Yet one thinks/believes one will live/remain forever
(Immortal). What can be more wonderful than this?
My grandmother often told me that the greatest blessing in life was
“anayasa maranam”. Effortless transition from the physical to the
Personally, I find the ancient “Mahamrityunjay” mantra as the greatest
advice on approaching death.
Om Try-Ambakam Yajaamahe
Mrtyor-Mukssiiya Maa-[A]mrtaat ||
Om, We Worship the Tryambaka (the Three-Eyed One),
2: Who is Fragrant (as the Spiritual Essence), Increasing the
Nourishment (of our Spiritual Core);
3: From these many Bondages (of Samsara) similar to Cucumbers (tied to
4: May I be Liberated from Death (Attachment to Perishable Things), So
that I am not separated from the perception of Immortality (Immortal
Essence pervading everywhere).
It very important to embrace death without fear. This will also make us
live well.- KRS Subramanian