Death behind a woman playing a vina

Scary Ayurveda: Tales of Death and Beyond

What if you knew the signs of death? Would you tell your client? How about their friends and family? Would you be in denial? Can you gather the strength to even look? You say you are “into” health, are you willing to look at the other side? Are you willing to look into the face of death? Scary ayurveda practices deal with not only life but death as well.

The pulse as an indicator of death

The Science of Pulse Examination in Ayurveda by Vaidya G.P. Upadhyay,13th chapter is titled Asadhyata Soochk Naddi Gati which means “The pulse indicating incurability.”

pulse“Ayurvedic Acharyas have described the incurability of diseases in detail.

The knowledge of curability and incurability is very essential in medical examination.”

The chapter goes on to describe the type of pulse and its qualities.  I will not go on to describe the many different types of pulses which indicate demise of the physical body. I believe that a trained vaidya and teacher needs to teach this  so you know you exactly what it feels like.  The description as written in a book can be deceptive. For an untrained person the wrong conclusion could possibly arise.

Dr. Lad, in his book “Secrets of the Pulse writes,

“We are born with death. Death doesn’t come from outside. As we grow, death also grows and the length of the death is exactly the length of the life.  If we live 70 years, death lives with us 70 years.  If we live 200 years, death lives with us 200 years. People fear death and that fear of death comes from attachment.  We are attached to life and are afraid of seeing its end.”

While ayurveda discusses the topic of impending death. Vedantic scriptures go beyond death and tell us of what may happen at the point of death and beyond.

The Source of all disease

Raga and Dvesha (attachment and aversion) are the source of all disease. They are the driving forces behind the web of karma and propels reincarnation.

In the words of Swami Jyotirmayananda

“It is the body that is tuned to a particular frequency of the spirit; and as long as the tuned on condition continues, one is said to live, to evolve, but when the body (machine) becomes out of order, when the heart fails, the spirit is no long tuned to the body.  This being out of tune is death.

The state of being out of tune, being disconnected from the mental or astral plane where the soul abides, is called death. After death, the soul is unable to operate through the old grooves of the brain, therefore, it exists purely in the mental substance.”

“Just as a man having discarded worn out clothes, puts on new ones, even so the embodied self, casting of worn out bodies enters into new ones.”
                                                                                                  Bhagavad Gita 2-23

From the unreal lead me to the Real, from darkness lead me to Light, from death lead me to immortality.
                                                                              Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1-3-28

Death cannot destroy him whose mind is not festered by worries, like a tree that inhabits poisonous snakes in its hollow.  Death cannot devour him who is not bitten by the snake of greed with its poisonous fangs of attachment and hatred.  Like the revolving mechanism of extracting oil from oil-seeds, one whose being is not churned by passion, him death does not wish to destroy.

                                                                              Yoga Vasistha – Nirvana Prakarana

I guess the tale was not so scary, unless you are afraid to face the concept of death.

You never really live without death. Why not face your fear of death?

As for me, I’ve been living under the shadow of Shani (Saturn) who is the brother of Lord Yama (the lord of death) for many years.  I have been at the bedside of my loved ones as they crossed over. I take it as a blessing, much like being present at a birth.

But it is hard! Each time I am forced to ask the questions “What is the meaning of life?” How long have I got? What needs to be let go of so I can fully live my meaning?

I think that I would have preferred for those people to outlive me to be spared the agony of the grief and its devastating aftermath.  Then comes the joy I feel every step taken towards discovering and living my meaning. Life is irreplaceable.

Happy Halloween! Scary Ayurveda not so scary.

One thought on “Scary Ayurveda: Tales of Death and Beyond

  1. Another great article! Love it. We don’t like to talk about death in the West. We like to pretend like it doesn’t exist. However, by facing the truth, we only learn to appreciate life.
    In fact, all the fears are rooted in the fear of death. Life without fear, what can it be like?

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