Understanding Death—The Vedic Way

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Though the ordinary man looks upon death with dread and sadness, those who have gone before know it as a wondrous experience of peace and freedom.

Every one of us is going to die someday, so there is no use in being afraid of death. You don’t feel miserable at the prospect of losing consciousness of your body in sleep; you accept sleep as a state of freedom to look forward to. So is death; it’s a state of rest, a pension from this life. There is nothing to fear. When death comes, laugh at it. Death is only an experience through which you are meant to learn a great lesson—you are not born, you can’t die.

The soul is neither born, nor does it ever die; nor having once existed, does it ever cease to be. The soul is without birth, eternal, immortal, and ageless. It’s not destroyed when the body is destroyed. Bhagavad Gita 2:20

Our real self, the soul, is immortal. We may sleep for a little while in that change called death, but we can never be destroyed. We exist, and that existence is eternal. The wave comes to the shore, and then goes back to the sea; it isn’t lost. It becomes one with the ocean, or returns again in the form of another wave. This body has come, and it will vanish; but the soul essence within it will never cease to exist. Nothing can terminate that eternal consciousness.

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. Bhagavad Gita 2:22

Even a particle of matter or a wave of energy is indestructible, as science has proved; the soul or spiritual essence of man is also indestructible. Matter undergoes change; the soul undergoes changing experiences. Radical changes are termed death, but death or a change in form doesn’t change or destroy the spiritual essence.

Some of these souls enter into the womb, in order to embody again into organic beings, others assemble unto immovable things according to their karma, according to their knowledge. Katha Upanishad 2.5.7

The body is only a garment. How many times you have changed your clothing in this life, yet because of this you wouldn’t say that you have changed. Similarly, when you give up this bodily dress at death you don’t change. You are just the same, an immortal soul, a child of God.

Weapons cannot shred the soul, nor can fire burn it. Water cannot wet it, nor can the wind dry it. Bhagavad Gita 2:23

Death is not the end—it’s temporary emancipation, given to you when karmathe law of justice—determines that your present body and environment have served their purpose, or when you are too weary or exhausted by suffering to bear the burden of physical existence any longer. To those who are suffering, death is resurrection from the painful tortures of flesh into awakened peace and calmness. To the elderly, it’s a pension earned by years of struggling through life. For all, it’s a welcome rest.

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5 Powerful Lessons From Quran

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It’s my strong belief that the Quran contains one of the best personal-development technologies in existence. Islam has all the tools we need to succeed and we must put them to use. The following lessons can transform our lives in profound ways:

Every little thing matters: 

Anyone who does an atom’s weight of good will see it, and anyone who does an atom’s weight of harm will see it. Quran 99:7-8

Human beings have the tendency to think that the small actions we do on a daily basis are irrelevant and that only big decisions have the power to affect the course of our lives. This view is mistaken. Small actions are our lives and they create our future because life builds on a moment-by-moment basis.

Value time:

Our time is truly our only resource in life and it is the most precious asset that we have. Unless we learn to manage our time, we will be unable to achieve anything of value. Mindless, meaningless continuous entertainment is a complete waste of life and is entirely against the teachings of Islam. It’s something followers must be very careful about since it is promoted constantly in our instant gratification and consumerism focused society. Followers must be vigilant about their time and consciously decide how to spend it.

Problems are opportunities:

And behold, with every hardship comes ease. Indeed, with every hardship comes ease. Quran 94:5-6

Problems and hardships are an inevitable part of life. They are indeed a sign of life. We will only stop having problems when we stop having life. Once we accept this reality, we can move forward and change how we view our problems. Problems have purpose and meaning. They are not random and they are not God’s punishment. They are placed by God in our lives for our own benefit and growth. Through problems we expand, become stronger and rise to a higher level.

Self-Confidence through reliance in God:

Lack of self-confidence is an epidemic in our society. People look for it in all the wrong places where it can never be found. Self-confidence comes from depending on God and knowing that He is there to help and protect us. In Islam, followers believe that everything comes from the grace of God. They have self-confidence because they have complete reliance and trust in the creator.

Will power as a result of faith: 

Strong will power and perseverance are required to achieve any goal in life. Without will power and sustained effort, a person cannot do anything. The Quran explains that one of the basic weaknesses in human nature which impedes self-development is the weakness of will. As most of us have experienced, it’s very difficult to achieve anything with will power alone. We need faith and prayer to sustain our efforts. Faith is the very thing that gives followers the strength to systematically and continuously persevere in our efforts.

A Different Perceptive On Religion, Dharma and Madhab

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The moment man became religious should have been the end of all conflict, but unfortunately, everywhere in the world, religion has become the main source of conflict. This has taken the maximum number of lives and caused the maximum amount of pain on the planet for thousands of years. This is only because people believe in something that is not a reality for them. Somebody believes in something, somebody else believes in something else, and naturally conflict cannot be avoided.

Religion started as an inward path; but over time they got twisted and have simply became a set of beliefs.

We need more people to understand the correct definition of religion and the ultimate meaning of the word religion. The word religion comes from the Latin word religare that means to re-join or re-connect. Re-connect with what? The answer according to me is re-connect with self, others and a divine. An even if we take out the divine part due to lack of scientific evidence, re-connection with self and others remain the goal. However, I then found on the internet that this origin of the word religion is in dispute. Does that mean that all fine sentiments about the word’s significance are worthless?

Nothing is worthless if something can be learned from it.

Religion is not a bad word. It doesn’t encourage people to stop thinking. In fact, religion encourages people to think about how they can re-join themselves or re-connect with an almighty who is infinitely more intelligent and loving. I have witnessed those that have dedicated their lives to reconnecting with the almighty, become infinitely happier than those that fight against almighty, or even the very idea of an almighty or intelligent designer. Almighty might also mean universe or supreme being or different things for different people.

There is massive controversy surrounding the word religion and the definition of religion. People define religion as a set of beliefs and duties, and then atheists assume that because a set of beliefs has become corrupt, religion is corrupt. But, ancient wisdom has a an interesting perceptive.

Let’s see what can I have understood after reading various ancient scriptures:

  • Dharma is a Sanskrit word, often mistakenly used as religion. But it’s not, in fact, Bhagavad Gita, in its introduction, gives a beautiful definition of धर्म—ultimate duty or can be interpreted as righteousness or love.  The world has seen a river of blood flowing all over in the name of religion. It’s the order, the law that governs that are all interconnected and interwoven with love and light.
  • Madhab is an Arabic word, often mistakenly used as religion. But it’s not, in fact the real meaning is something different—route or path.

Ancient wisdom provides clarity of what religion is and as per that we can clearly see that HinduismIslam, Sikhism, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, ZoroastrianismJudaism etc. are all ways or paths to reach religion—not religion itself; as per my limited knowledge and perspective.

3 Types Of Happiness As Per Bhagavad Gita

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This is a whole new thing, a very unique perspective on happiness that the Bhagavad Gita speaks about and it’s in the very last chapter. Speaking to Arjuna, Lord Krishna says:

O best of the warriors, now please hear from me about the three kinds of happiness by which the conditioned soul enjoys, and by which he sometimes comes to the end of all distress. Bhagavad Gita 18:36

We’re talking about three different types of happiness, three different categories of so-called joy or joyful experience. And sometimes by experiencing one of these particular types of joy, it may help a person come to the end of all distress. These types are decsribed as modes of material nature:

  1. Mode of goodness: In this condition, you’ll see people being more attracted to simple lifestyle, natural kind of lifestyle, not being overly agitated and driven crazy by so many desires and things. People that live in a more peaceful existence.
  2. Mode of passion:  This is usually epitomized by intense desire and longing; so, this is intense agitation. The creative impulse is because of this mode of passion and so people are driven to build massive cities and to engage in passionate undertaking. But the result, the end result of this mode of passion is distress; it’s inescapable.
  3. Mode of ignorance: It’s epitomized by laziness, sloth in general, a very depressed mental and physical state or a state of intoxication when you cannot think clearly and you’re unaware of how you’re behaving and what you’re doing and it always ends in darkness; in darkness and great distress, in different forms of craziness or insanity.

So, it’s not that a person—even within a day, a person may be feeling in different times the influence of these three different forms of energy in different times and responding differently to different types of stimulation. The quest for happiness or pleasure is also very shaped by which one of these types of energy or a combination of them that we’re being influenced by.

Non-Violence: The Half Truth

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The phrase अहिंसा परमो धर्म, largely popularized by Mahatma Gandhi is repeated by many across the world to emphasize non-violence. The phrase was first used in the epic Mahabharata and means non-violence is the ultimate duty.  But, this is the half truth. The full phrase is:

अहिंसा परमो धर्म:

धर्म हिंसा तथिव च

The second line means “so too is violence in service of duty.” The word non-violence in English is in absolute send but the word अहिंसा is relative; specifically to one who has renounced. In Sanatana Dharma it’s the moral duty of a person to practice violence if it’s used to stop a greater violence or evil. For example, in order to keep peace and order in his country, a king has to be strict in his punishment – he may have to kill someone to safeguard his kingdom.

During the war of Mahabharata when Arjuna—the great warrior—wants to leave battlefield, Lord Krishna address him through the holy Bhagvad Gita and explains him that he would be sinner if he gives up the holy war for righteousness, and runs away from his duties to establish faith and justice.

Even for a householder the act of non-violence may not be practical. For example, practicing non-violence when someone enter the house and molests his wife and child would be an act of cowardice. Similarly, a soldier cannot put down his weapons and let the opponent attack his country.

To protect the righteous, to annihilate the wicked, and to re-establish the principles of dharma I appear on this earth, age after age. Bhagvad Gita 4:8