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Chapter 7: Death

Some years ago there used to be a yogi in South India called Brahmayogi. He demonstrated an experiment in dying at three universities - Oxford, Calcutta and Rangoon. It was a highly valuable experiment. He used to die for ten minutes.

When he demonstrated it at Oxford University, there were doctors present. He said to them, “Over the next ten minutes, please examine me and then write down on your certificate whether I am alive or dead.” Then he stopped breathing, his pulse stopped, his heart stopped beating, and all symptoms of blood circulation ceased. The ten doctors - all from the medical faculty at Oxford University - wrote him a death certificate saying, “This man is dead. This man has all the symptoms of a dead person,” and all the ten doctors signed the certificate.

But after ten minutes Brahmayogi came back to life again. His breathing resumed, his heart started beating again, the blood started circulating and the pulse came back. And then he asked the doctors to write another certificate saying what they thought about him now. The doctors said, “We are in great difficulty. We hope you are not planning to file a lawsuit against us in the court! We have only said what medical science could say..”

Brahmayogi said, “Say in writing that any death certificates you may have issued up until now have all become suspect.”

Actually, what we call death is nothing but life slipping out of the body. Just as the rays of a lamp slowly fade away, so the manifestation of life returns to the seed form and takes off on another new journey. But from the outside, this fading away of life is what we believe to be death.

It is as though an electric light was on, you pressed the switch, and the rays disappeared. Now all that surrounds the bulb is darkness. Did the electricity die? No, only its manifestation stopped. We press the switch again and the rays of light once more begin to flow. Did the electricity come back to life? To say something that has not died in the first place has resurrected is meaningless. The electricity was present all along, only its manifestation had ceased.

So what we call “death” is only the manifest returning again to the un-manifest, and what we call “birth” is a re-manifestation of the un-manifest.

Krishna is saying that the being neither dies when the body is killed nor is saved when the body is saved. The being neither dies nor is saved. In fact, the being is only that which is beyond dying and beyond being saved.

The rest we will discuss in the evening.