Everyone dies sooner or later. Modern medicine and technology can stave it off for a while. We can be put on life support: machines can breathe for us, pumps can keep our hearts beating, and dialysis can flush our kidneys. We can be fed, irrigated and evacuated through tubes; but ultimately, death wins. We all fall down. Everyone dies.
We don’t like to admit that death exists; we don’t like to think about it. It’s considered in some circles impolite even to talk about it. The pragmatists among us try to plan for it by making out a will, buying a burial plot, and writing up detailed end-of-life instructions.
Death is the one certainty of life - perhaps the only certainty. But, steeped in denial as we are, we live our lives from occasion to occasion, holiday to holiday, event to event, refusing to give death the thought and respect it deserves. But we know it lurks, always - a specter hiding in the shadows. Death, like the weather, is something we can talk about or choose not to talk about, but we can do nothing to avoid it.
If we were to ask most people about death and the afterlife, they would probably tell us that they won’t know about them until they die. In contrast, the teachings of Sant Mat propose that we find out what death is like while we are alive: to actually take our consciousness, our spirit, our soul, our essence, to where we go when we die, and to do it while we are living in the body. When we die while living, in this way, we can find out if death is merely a sequel to life or, in reality, greater than life.
Sant Mat teaches us that our purpose is to go home: to become one with God. Or more to the point, to rediscover the God that we are - that we have always been. Our souls, hearing the Lord’s call, are spiraling upward on an inevitable inner journey homeward. The Creator has not abandoned nor forgotten us. There is a plan, a system, and a path for our safe and certain return to our true and original home, Sach Khand. And that plan includes a true living Master, who can tell us the truth about death and how to prepare for it through the process of meditation.
Maharaj Charan Singh explains in Die to Live:
Meditation is nothing but a preparation to leave the body. That is the real purpose of meditation. Before you play your part on a stage, you rehearse the part so many times, just to be perfect. Similarly, this meditation is a daily rehearsal to die, so that we become perfect at how to die.
In meditation, we withdraw our consciousness to the eye centre in the same way that we all die when death comes…. When the soul withdraws from the nine apertures and comes to the eye centre, it leaves the body.
Maharaj Charan Singh further explains that when we practice dying while living, and begin to feel the withdrawal of our soul and mind from the body, we should not be afraid. He says in the same book:
When you go up, don’t be frightened that you’ll never come back to the body. Then nobody would sit in meditation. This whole Sant Mat way of life and attending to our meditation is nothing but a preparation for that particular time….
Why should death be terrible when we are trying to experience that same death every day? Unless we start preparing ourselves for that time, death is terrible and painful. But when we sit in meditation every day, it means we are preparing ourselves. Even though we have no experience to our credit, we are preparing ourselves every day to leave the body, and when that achievement finally comes, then why should we be frightened?
What is there to lament and weep about? At death, we are getting what we have been trying for our whole life. That is rather a happy moment.
Through meditation we fulfill the very purpose of human life. Meditation is the only worship that pleases the Father. Through meditation we become worthy of his grace and receptive to his love. We build and grow the love and devotion which he gives us to carry us speedily towards our goal. So attending to meditation is submitting to the will of the Father…. It is through meditation, by his grace, that we develop an intense longing to return to our Source.
The effect is truly a miracle!
Maharaj Charan Singh, Die to Live