DEATH IS NOT REAL
[00:48] The Mysteries of Life and Death
Today’s subject is the subject of death, and to quote my master, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “Death is unreal.” And by that, I don’t think he means the kind of modern parlance of death is ‘unreal’. He meant that death doesn’t have a reality. And he spent a lot of time teaching in this subject.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi also hosted, one time, the famous expert on the subject of death and dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. And the two of them were eye-to-eye on almost everything about the process of death.
Death is a very interesting subject because, the fact is, it is one of the two greatest mysteries that modern science has to confront. The first of those mysteries is, why are we alive and conscious? And the second mystery is, what happens when the body dies? And these are the two greatest mysteries that science has yet to answer, to which to give satisfactory answers.
[01:58] The Meaning of Death
And so let’s just look for a moment at what the conventional idea of the word death means. Death is supposed to mean complete cessation. That there is a cessation of a state.
Also, death has to do with the death of one’s identity. “I have a sense of identity and my identity no longer will continue to be in the way in which I know it, or in the way in which others who know me know it.” And what is that identity? Well, for the average person, their sense of personal identity has to do with their body. “The body is what I am.” This is what most people think. “I am a body. And if this body dies, then I’m gone. I die. I cease to exist.”
There may even be ideas of life after death, if we want to use the word death to refer to the experience that an individual has of their personal identity and what happens to all of that identity.
[03:05] Maya – Keeping Up Appearances
In the Vedic worldview, there are two fields of life. One is The Absolute, capital T, capital A, The Absolute, the field of non-change. It is the one indivisible, whole, consciousness field. The Unified Field of Consciousness that not only permeates and pervades everything, but is everything.
To say that it permeates everything would make it sound as though there are things and then there is The Absolute going in and out of those things. But the fact is The Absolute causes itself to become manifest and it does not lose its integrity of being Absolute while it is manifest.
We think of something that is never changing, it is non-relative. Relative means change. That change occurs within a form or a phenomenon. The field of Being, or The Absolute from the Vedic perspective, is a field of absolute non-change. It doesn’t change. And yet, though it doesn’t change, it gives the appearance and renders the appearance of change. It gives the appearance of having made itself into something other than The Absolute. And this is an appearance. It’s not an illusion.
Very often, people will use the Sanskrit word maya. Ma meaning is not, and ya, which is that which is not, and translated into the English word “illusion.” But Maya does not mean illusion, it means an appearance.
[04:47] Nirvana – Liberation
A very good example is given by one of the great masters of our tradition of Vedic Meditation. Adi Guru Shankara. Shankara, who lived, according to the records in India, some 2,580 years ago, was one of the greatest masters of his era, and in fact, probably one of the greatest teachers of all time. He lived about 100 years after the time of the teachings of The Buddha who was also, by the way, an Indian. Most people think of the Buddha as being somebody who came from Burma or China or Japan or somewhere like that because most modern depictions and portrayals of him make him look as though he is descended from those races of the very far east. In fact, Buddha was born in North India in the area which now today we refer to as Nepal, which in those times was the northernmost reaches of India.
After Buddha’s time, Shankara appeared, and Shankara took up where Buddha left off. Buddha established that there is a field of life that can be experienced inside that is beyond change, and that is the inner-consciousness field, and that establishment in that field of Being would give you a state of Nirvana.
Nirvana, meaning liberation, or freedom. And freedom in this sense means not just freedom in some vague or abstract way, but freedom literally from a cycle. A cycle of having to change identity again and again and again through the acquisition of a sequence of bodies in which consciousness lives.
[06:31] Same, Same. But Different.
Adi Guru Shankara took this idea a little further and gave us greater revelations of some of the ideas that were first illustrated by the Buddha. Shankara stated that there’s one indivisible, whole, consciousness field, which, not unlike water changing from steam if it’s heated, or to ice if water is taken below the temperature of freezing, that it’s still water. Water doesn’t cease being water simply because it becomes ice. Water doesn’t cease being water simply because it moves into the gas form of steam. Water is still water, H2O.
Scientific designation for water is H2O either in its solid form, in which case it could be so solid that it’s as hard as adamantane or the hardest metal, or gas, completely vaporous existence. In fact, there’s a relatively narrow temperature range in which water is liquid. But water retains its identity as water irrespective of the changing temperature of the water.
So like that consciousness, in its Absolute state, has the capacity to allow itself to metamorphose into a relative, apparently, and this is an appearance, ever-changing reality which we call the relative or relativity. Relativity is acquired as a status by The Absolute because, frankly, it is a little bit boring to just be one indivisible whole and conscious without any change, without a storyline.
[08:20] True Love
So in aid of being able to enjoy a storyline perhaps for the fun of variety, but also most importantly, to be able to experience the loss of a sense of oneness and the regaining of that sense of oneness, that regaining of the sense of oneness is a process which we, in regular everyday philosophical life, whether we are great philosophers, or we just have a homespun philosophy, might refer to as “love.”
Love is that state where I re-cognize and you, or you recognize in me, something that is so akin to yourself or for me, you appear so akin to myself, that I rather suspect that you might actually be me. You are me in the disguise of a different body, a different life story, a different consciousness perhaps, but we’re having fundamental shared experience. If there’s sufficient critical mass of fundamental shared experience, then a phenomenon called love is kindled.
And love is the experience of the self recognizing the Self. And that’s all really that it is. I’m not trying to trivialize it by saying that. I’m saying that the purpose of The Absolute becoming relativity is that it wants to experience that phenomenon of the remembrance of self recognizing Self. It wants to experience love.
[09:52] Unification Through Diversity
And pure one-ness, pure oneness, there’s not love because love can only occur if there is a minimum of two. Two, that is to say there has to be a sense of, even if thinly disguised, “other” allows me, allows one, to recognize oneself in the other. And that’s when that phenomenology of love is kindled.
When we have unity, unity is not oneness, unity is the two things that are unified. You can’t have unity without at least two. Unification means unification of at least two things. It could be more than two, but at least two. Oneness is oneness. It can’t love itself because it doesn’t have a sense of any distance to move. It cannot have a shared experience with itself. Love is the product of the joy of shared experience.
[11:04] Consciousness Embodied
And so in order to experience love, the one indivisible, whole, consciousness state, bifurcates. That is to say it allows itself to take on the appearance of many. And then as the many, it loses its sense of identity as one and begins seeking oneness and unity through relationship. Relationship that then turns into, in the best cases, alliance. Alliances. And then in this process, consciousness has defined itself embodied.
The one indivisible, whole, consciousness state wants to have appendages through which it can experience itself in manifestation. And so the commencement of the production of nervous systems, whether these nervous systems are extremely simple relative to a human, simple, relative to a human, rudimentary, or whether those nervous systems are more evolved, that is to say have been around for a while and have acquired capacities.
For example, as in the human, to look out at the entire universe around and to contemplate one’s individual role in this massive oneness of intergalactic space and the storyline of how all of this came about, and the questions of “How did I, as an individual consciousness, manage to become a commentator on the process of the entire universe and its evolution, its expansion, its beginning, and indeed, even what might be considered to be the universe as we know it coming to a conclusion? What is that conclusion?” So to be able to see a pattern.
[12:58] The Unified Field of Consciousness
And so we have, as human beings, evolved from somewhere. We have a baseline, deep inside of us according to Shankara, that is still one indivisible, whole, Absolute. That is our own least-excited consciousness state. Our own individualistic, least-excited consciousness state, our simplest form of awareness, is in fact The Absolute itself.
It is, not just possible it’s ridiculously simple, through the practice of meditation to allow the mind innocently and effortlessly to settle down into that least-excited state, and to identify with that field of Being. Being, in its Absolute state, is one’s ultimate inner identity. And that being, that field of Being, The Absolute, is not one’s own little individual patch of inner silence. Consciousness enjoying consciousness. Consciousness enjoying simply being.
That state of Being is the state of Being of the entire universe. Everywhere that exists has its origins in the one indivisible, whole, Unified Field of Consciousness. So all forms, all phenomena, all senses of identity, all consciousnesses are relative forms, relative phenomenon, relative identities that emerge from that deep, inner field of Absolute Being.
Being is, in that sense, all pervasive. But when we say all pervasive, we don’t mean that it is simply moving in and out of something that is not it. All things actually are it.
This morning, you might have heard my dogs barking just now, one of my dogs was trying to drink the water in the dog water bowl, the water bucket, and the water bucket was partly ice because we were just on the cusp of freezing and partly water. The water was both ice and water simultaneously.
But really, chemically speaking, the water was not any different substance at all. Some parts of the water were sharp enough to poke the dog’s nose. And if it was extreme enough, could even cut the dog. Other parts of the water were able to be lapped up and drunk with alacrity by the dog, but water is water.
Whether water is appearing as ice or water is simply water, liquid, water is water.
[15:42] The Transcendent
So like that Being in its Absolute state, or Being in its relative state, Being is being. There is a cusp. There is a borderline between the field of The Absolute and its unbroken symmetry, perfect symmetry, and The Absolute as it is becoming. That which is becoming is The Absolute moving from unmanifest into manifest. It is the manifest-ing.
It’s that boundary land, that borderline where within one experience, one can have the experience of, “I am Absolute, and I am becoming relative simultaneously.” There’s that state that can be had in meditation where one can go completely beyond thought and, without even realizing any time has passed, one hasn’t become unconscious in any way. Consciousness was retained. But consciousness was experiencing only consciousness. It wasn’t experiencing any lapsing of events. There was no timeline. There were no sequences.
This is what we refer to in meditator terminology as “transcendence,” or “the transcendent.” And so when the mind experiences Being, the mind goes beyond thought and becomes Being. It’s not really the mind experiencing Being per se. The mind becomes the field of Being. Being is experiencing itself in transcendence.
[17:22] Ritam Bhara Pragya
When individuality triggers various physiological phenomena that bring the individual mind out of the state of Being, one has to emerge through the cusp. This cusp has a name, ritam bhara pragya in Sanskrit.
Ritam bhara pragya means the place where the whole truth is held. That’s a rough translation, but it is “the whole truth…”, Ritam, R-I-T-A-M, bhara pragya, “…is held.” Consciousness field in which it’s held. What is that truth? I am both Absolute and relative simultaneously.
It’s tempting to say, when one first experiences transcendence, “Oh, I’ve discovered my ultimate reality. I am The Absolute field. I am transcendent.” But this is not the entire truth. The entire truth is you are, one is, everything that the one indivisible, whole, conscious field is. And that is both relativity and Absolute simultaneously. “I am both of these things.” And there’s a layer in meditation where, when one is not in The Absolute, one is in that experience of Being becoming, that one can experience, “I am both Absolute and I am relativity simultaneously.”
[18:44] Life, the Universe and Everything
So when that Absolute state is in its bio-friendly phenomenology, that is we live in a universe which very evidently is attempting through all of its chemistry, astrophysics, and the various laws of nature that govern the way in which various kinds of planetary and solar system phenomenology occur, that it appears to be trying to create life-friendly environments.
And we live on the earth and we are in one of those life-friendly, bio-friendly environments. It’s an environment in which the crucible of chemistry starting to become conscious of itself in varying degrees until it is conscious enough that it ends up having iPhones and sending text messages and commenting on whether or not humans are the only living forms in the universe or not, or contemplating and perhaps speculating that there may be other life forms around as well.
Because we’re fascinated by the idea that we may not be, here on the earth, the only species that is contemplating our role in the universe. We live in a universe where it is highly likely that there are many forms and phenomena that have become conscious to varying degrees, perhaps many of them far more conscious than us here on Earth.
[20:13] The Death Sequence
So the Vedic worldview is that when an individual body has reached its use by date, has reached its expiry date, whatever that is, our individual longevity has come to a conclusion, that is the body’s longevity has come to a conclusion, then the body begins what really is a death sequence. A cascade begins.
There are many, including Dr. Kübler-Ross, [I’m going to recommend some readings on the subject,] who would say that when the zygote is formed, the zygote is the precursor of an embryo in human form, the zygote is that which is the product of the sperm and an egg meeting and fertilization having occurred. Zygote comes into embryo. There are probably many other stages in this but these are the ones I know. Zygote comes into embryo, embryo comes into fetus, fetus comes into neonate, a newborn baby, and neonate grows into you.
At the commencement of the zygote, at the moment of the meeting of the sperm and the egg, the death sequence begins. The body death sequence begins. In other words, it is built into the physiology that there will be a termination of the relevance of having a physiology. And so we need to look at our physiological longevity as the longevity of a body is the longevity of an appendage. That longevity is intended to be the carrier of a consciousness that has become self-enlightened or self-illuminated about what its true identity is.
[22:04] The Purpose of Life
One of the tenets of the Vedic worldview is that the purpose of life and living in a body is to make the discovery that you are both The Absolute at your fundamental base, baseline, and you are individuality simultaneously.
The simultaneity of it is easy to understand in the form of a funnel, or any funnel-shaped thing. Adi Shankara, the great master from 2,500 some years ago, used the example of a conch shell, which is very elaborate. But really, what it is is a funnel. It has a narrow end and a wide end.
A funnel has a very wide catchment end and an end that is narrow, designed to apply that which is caught in the catchment end. A funnel is not two things. It does have two ends to it, but it is one thing. Likewise, our consciousness normally is experienced by most of us only in its narrowest format. “I am a body. I’m a body, that’s what I am.”
[23:16] Who Are You?
If someone says to you, “Who are you?” You say, “I’m George, and I was born in Oxford. And then I went here and then I went there.” We’re basically describing a body, where the body went. “My parents are these people. And I was influenced by this, and I had that experience. Or I lacked that experience. Experiences that I’ve had and the experiences that I’ve not yet had are the things that shape what I am, and I am a culmination of all of the experiences I’ve had, the desires that I’ve fulfilled, and my remaining unfulfilled desires. And that’s what I am, and basically a body. And when the body dies, that’s the end of it all as far as I know.”
And so we have whatever it is, some percentage of 100 years, somebody might live more than 100, but not very many do. Some percentage of 100 years in which time to have some of these desires fulfilled and to figure out what the heck is going on with all of this.
What does it all mean? What’s the meaning of all of this? The meaning of the fact of existing. The meaning that I am conscious, and I presume that you’re conscious too. And I can look around and see things that are less conscious than me, but are also at least partially conscious.
[24:33] Our Shared Agenda
The dogs running around, they’re conscious and things, but I don’t think they sit around contemplating their place in the universe or the origins of the universe or the culmination of the universe. The dogs might look at little other creatures like fleas that are riding on their back. And those fleas also evidently are conscious. But what is their breadth of repertoire of consciousness?
And sitting on the fleas might be house dust mites whose entire longevity might be 24 hours. And the house dust mites also are conscious. They move away from things that are too hot. They move away from things that are too cold. They like to have a comfort zone. They like to have things to eat, mostly the dead skin of the dog. And they fluff around and float in the air and they ride around on motes of dust, 20 at a time. What is their agenda? What does a house dust mite think about in its 24 hours of longevity?
And smaller than the house dust mite, a variety of bacteria, smaller than the bacteria, a variety of viruses. And everything appears to have an agenda. There’s an agenda. Everything wants to grow. Everything wants to expand its territory of influence. Everything wants to extend its longevity if possible, the physiological longevity.
[25:56] What Does This All Mean?
What is the theme of all of this? And we’re sitting inside of a body. And what am I compared to all this? What does this all mean? The fact that I’m conscious, sitting around in a body, which I think I am, I think I am the body. Because when the body is gone, I’ve had it, there isn’t going to be anything more.
Or maybe I’ve developed a religious belief system that you go to this place or you’ll go to that place and you’ll still be the same you. You’ll still be the same little you that you identified as being you when you had a body. You’re not going to be anything different to the you that is body identified. But the you that is body identified is going to find itself sitting around having lovely experiences, sitting next to God playing a harp or seeing beautiful images or having all kinds of what appear to be physical experiences.
Some people think they’re going to have fantastic sex when their body dies with all kinds of lovely beings that are hanging around waiting for them to die. And you develop these belief systems. And they help raft you through a life that is surrounded by things constantly transitioning.
[27:11] Defying Entropy
We look around us, and it looks like the world is nothing but a big mass of death because absolutely everything changes. You buy yourself a new car, and you’re so fascinated by this new car, it smells so new car-ish, and you’re driving around and everything, and then eventually, things start going wrong with it, and it starts falling apart. And if you leave it parked in the same spot for 10 years, it turns into a pile of rust with rodents eating all of the wiring insulation inside of it and it’s nothing like what it used to be.
Anything that is left to its own devices is subject to a force that physics refers to as entropy. That means the disintegration of any ordered state. Living things have the ability to defy entropy, to be able to reconstruct order.
So I can have a cut on my arm or hand and I can watch it heal. Entropy can enter into my skin or my flesh and, in the form of a cut, but it will knit itself and make itself whole again. For a period of time, living systems appear to have the capacity to defy entropy. And if we look at a reproductive living system, then through the process of reproduction, a form of DNA that learns how to combine with other forms of DNA can continue on and on and on and on for decades, for centuries, for thousands of years and potentially for more than thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of years.
[28:54] Transcendence is the Answer
So then what does all this mean to me? I mean, one might be thinking, “This is all great, Thom, but I’m just a regular person here living a life, going fishing on the weekend or trying to figure out what to do with my boyfriend or my girlfriend or my husband or my wife or my children.” Or, “Will I have any?” Or, “My education or what books should I be reading? Or should I really be watching trash television or educational TV? What am I supposed to be doing with all this information?”
The answer to that ultimately is, transcend all of this. Transcend all of this means learn to step beyond it. Learn to step beyond and experience your baseline.
Your baseline, by the way, is a baseline of bliss. That state of experience of bringing the conscious mind to its least-excited state, transcending which one experiences Being. That state of Being is absolute, pure, serene, inner-contentedness. That’s what it is. It doesn’t even know that it’s contented.
But it is evidently contented because you cannot even be bothered having a thought although you’re conscious. Even a thought is not necessary because whatever you could think about that might bring you into action, whatever you could think about which would be a thought about how things could be better, all thoughts have to do with how to have a better experience than what you’re having right now. Ultimately, that’s what thoughts are actually about.
[30:37] The Bliss of Being
I might have memories, but I’m having memories as a comparative of my current state. I might contemplate what could happen, but I’m contemplating what could happen as a comparison with my present state. How can I have a better experience than what I’m having right now?
In the state of Being, you’re having the best experience, better than the best, and it is supreme, inner-contentedness because, though capable of thinking, the mind actually lets go of its prerogative to think. And the only thing that could make the mind let go of its prerogative to think is B-L-I-S-S, bliss.
By bliss, we don’t mean ecstasy. We mean supreme, inner contentedness. And so that state of bliss is the state that characterizes one’s inner reality. What am I really? I am ultimately that one indivisible, whole, consciousness field. And that one indivisible, whole, consciousness field is enjoying having a human experience. It finds itself in a body that is a satisfactory appendage through which it can enjoy all of relativity which that Absolute field itself caused to come into manifestation.
[32:04] Our Absolute Baseline
Physiology is a means whereby my Absolute inner reality is able to experience its own production. Its production is the production of the relative world. And so we need to get on with it. But the first most important thing is to establish a proper inner identity to transcend or step beyond relative experience, and really do this regularly, not just as an occasional psychedelic experience.
But to actually do it regularly enough and systematically enough, twice a day if possible [through Vedic Meditation], where you end up establishing a baseline of Being. “My baseline of Being is what I really am. All of the rest of this, my memories, this body, the other people, all these things, these are the realms of relativity ever changing subject to the forces of creation and maintenance and destruction and going round and round in those cycles. I am actually The Absolute.”
Not that one is sitting around thinking those words as a sentence. One is experiencing that directly without having to think about it. Having meditated for a sufficient period of time, through the regular practice of that inner experience on a regular basis, that inner state of Being asserts itself as one’s own inner identity. “This is what I really am. This is the true me. And so here I am, The Absolute, having a human experience.”
[33:47] More Than Meets The “I”
As we grow and grow and grow in our consciousness, we begin to realize that this body is really one of perhaps many that I have inhabited in the past and one of many that I am currently inhabiting. Who is the I? Not the little individual you who was born in Kansas or something, inhabiting all these bodies. No.
That Absolute part of you, that deep inner field of Being has a sense that it is not only currently occupying all the nervous systems and experiencing through them, but it has also been experiencing through a vast variety of nervous systems since the beginning of what? The universe itself.
That which is the witness of all intellects. That which is the witness of every consciousness state from a virus to a bacterium to a house dust mite to a dog to a human. This entire reality is one’s own reality. “Yes, there’s a primary body with which I’m identifying right now. But the possibility that I am at the baseline, not the individual me but the universal me, is at the baseline of all experiences.”
This state, and that consciousness state is an unchallengeable experience, a reality. It’s not a philosophy. It’s a direct experience. This is what we refer to as “enlightenment.”
And so enlightenment occurs when we begin to realize that the death of bodies is not the death of consciousness. A body dies. It is not the death of consciousness. It’s the death of that particular appendage through which consciousness was finding expression. That particular appendage comes to an end. Consciousness continues.
[35:55] Not a Body-Dependent Phenomenon
So there’s the baseline philosophy of the Vedic worldview. That is the idea that something can die and cease to exist is not an idea that has with it very much evidence. The evidence, in fact, lies in the opposite direction. Consciousness is not created by a body. And this is an important point to present and to assimilate, that consciousness is not a body-dependent phenomenon.
Consciousness is not a body-dependent phenomenon. Our bodies and our brains appear to be something akin to a radio that has the capacity to pick up a certain wavelength or frequency of that Unified Field of Consciousness that is everything and that is everywhere.
“If my individual brain is broad spectrum and finely tuned and free of the static created by accumulated stress, through meditation, then I have the ability to pick up a wider and broader bandwidth of the consciousness field that is a priori, it already exists. My body and my brain are a means whereby I’m able to experience pre-existing consciousness. My brain is not the creator of consciousness.”
[37:40] A Succession of Nervous Systems
And so one’s brain, one’s body is not the source of consciousness or the cause of consciousness. Neither the cause nor the source. It is a means whereby consciousness can be captured in varying degrees of sophistication. “When I have the nervous system of a virus, or a bacterium, or my house dust mite, or a flea, or a rodent on which the flea is riding, or the cat that is chasing the rodent, those brains and those nervous systems are able to capture, relative to the human, are able to capture a smaller bandwidth. And this will be shown in the repertoire of behaviors available to each of those nervous systems.”
So what is the repertoire of behavior of a virus? Relatively limited and easily described by the way. And what is the repertoire behavior of a rodent? Far broader, far more complex, comparatively, to that of a virus. What is the range of behaviors, the repertoire of behaviors of a human? So broad as to be virtually indescribable. Very hard to put a limit on what is possible as a human to experience or to do. And every time we think we’ve set a limit on that, somebody comes along and breaks the barriers or the boundaries and the definitions that formerly we had.
So as the brain becomes more sophisticated through the evolutionary process and through generations of our own, and this is a concept we’re going to dive into in a moment, that is to say, how has my individuality evolved itself from less-sophisticated consciousness states to more-sophisticated consciousness states through a succession of nervous systems that my individuality has inhabited?
[40:02] Unity Consciousness
As we create generation after generation from within ourselves of new physiologies, we finally arrive at a consciousness state wherein one realizes one’s status as having always been the one indivisible conscious field, the Unified Field of Consciousness, Being.
Not that, “I have now become that. I have now realized that I was always that.” And this realization, coming up through a succession of nervous systems that one has inhabited, now jumps into another realization. “The I is no longer bound by the definition of the most recent body I’ve had,” one has had, “The I is now cosmic.” The I has realized itself as cosmic, and as such, also realizes itself as the baseline of all nervous systems, of all consciousnesses.
One is in Unity Consciousness, that state where one can relate to, and empathize with, and experience from within all nervous systems, all consciousnesses. And to experience in that way gives one the ultimate handle on what it is that we consider to be one of the greatest of the human capabilities, which is compassion. The ability to be compassionate is going to be limited only by the extent to which one accurately can experience what it’s like to be another, to actually be another.
[41:57] Compassion – Understanding Through Direct Experience
Sympathy and empathy are not the same thing. I’m sure you know that. Empathy means to experience from within another. Sympathy is conceptual. “I have a concept of what it’s like to be you and I can sympathize.” If I’m experiencing empathy, on the other hand, I’m experiencing from within you. And I can feel and experience what you’re feeling and experiencing, including your needs, either for me to bring you knowledge, for me to be more generous, or for me to be more disciplinary because that may also be your true need.
So what is the best and absolutely perfectly-balanced approach to another? One can only know that by being able to experience from within the so-called other. There’s perfect compassion.
[40:03] The New Status Quo
So we have the Vedic worldview about how consciousness is not born of the brain. Consciousness is not a product of the nervous system. It’s the other way around. Our nervous systems and our brains and our bodies are consciousness dependent. If we withdraw our attention, our consciousness from the body in the brain, then these physiological phenomena go into decay. And that is the death of that form. Body is consciousness dependent. Consciousness is not body dependent.
Now, with this, we have a revolutionary and radical way of looking at what we should be thinking about and how we could be thinking in order to have a more successful approach to the experiences of change around us. When things change, when things change, it means a steady state has gone into disintegration. There was a status quo, and that status quo no longer holds enough integrity to be considered to be the status quo. A new status quo has occurred. And what is that new status quo? If we are rigidly attached to a former status quo, then we might say, “Something died or someone died.”
[44:39] Dropping the Body
One of the things that I found most fascinating studying with my master [Maharishi Mahesh Yogi] for 26 years, in his presence for 26 years, I didn’t stop studying with him after the 26, I continue today to learn from recordings, from writings, and even by having heard one thing that he said, and then another thing that he said at a completely different time, and discovering new connections between them. Connecting the dots as we say.
These aha phenomena are part of the intended teaching method of a great master. On one occasion, someone was deeply grieved and sad because someone who was relatively close to them had dropped their body. This is the phraseology that’s used in the Vedic worldview. Death is not really a word that’s used. Dropping the body is the word that’s used.
[45:02] Letting Go of Grief
And the person said to Maharishi, “Would you please help me to recover from the grief that I’m experiencing?” And Maharishi said, “Are you willing for me to expose your grief to the teaching?” And the person said, “Yes.” And he said, “I want to be certain because if you want to hold on to your grief and continue experiencing it, because it gives you comfort to grieve about somebody no longer existing, then I would rather that you just held on to your state. But if you want to change your state, then I’ll take your current knowledge and expose it to the Vedic knowledge, but it’s going to require of you quite a bit of change. Are you prepared for that?” The person said, “Yes, I’m prepared.”
Maharishi said, “From the point of view of the person who ‘died,’ they haven’t died. You’re calling them dead, but they don’t consider themselves to be dead.” And the person said, “What can you possibly mean?” He said, “What happens is that your body begins to fall away. And once you stop struggling trying to keep the body, and by the way, it’s perfectly natural to struggle to try to keep the body, to try to keep the current state, to see if you can make it survivable but once it has become evident that the body has no chance of surviving a transition, and one lets go of the body, then a new experience occurs, and that new experience is the body falls away. Inside the body are many other bodies.” And this requires some explaining.
[47:32] Maya Koshas
In Sanskrit, these are referred to as maya koshas. Remember, maya means an appearance. A kosha means a sheath. The appearance of a sheath. T
Here is, according to Vedic worldview, a body sitting inside this body which is the body of the mind. And that body of the mind is shaped very much like the glove that sits around it. The glove is the physical body, the physiological body, the anatomical body is like a glove into which a hand is inserted.
The mind body, the manas maya kosha sits inside the anga maya kosha. Anga means gross physical body. Inside the manas maya kosha, inside the mind subtle body sits the intellect subtle body. The intellect is that which discriminates and differentiates. It’s a sub part of the mind.
Inside that sits the fine level of feeling, the emotional body. Inside that sits the body of the fine level of feeling. Some people might call it intuition, but that which is the deepest level of one’s relativity.
Inside that sits the individual ego. Individual ego means that individual sense of being or self which continues to be, from one nervous system to the next and the process of sequencing through nervous systems.
[49:09] Ananda Maya Kosha
Inside that sits the anandamaya kosha. Ananda means the bliss body, that sense of, “I am one with the universe.” Now, that bliss body hasn’t really been awakened in most people if they haven’t meditated and experienced it very often. They may have occasionally experienced the anandamaya kosha, the bliss body, but if it hasn’t been experienced often enough, then it’s not taken into account when one identifies as, “This is myself, my Being.”
It’s almost as if there’s a layer of oneself that hasn’t been yet awakened. It hasn’t yet been established. It hasn’t yet been remembered. But through regular practice of meditation, that anandamaya kosha has been experienced many, many times during one’s body life every time one meditates, and it gets established as the fundamental baseline of one’s being. “This is what I am. This is who I am. More importantly what I am.”
[50:15] Hriday Maya Kosha
Next comes, and as we’re going back through these maya koshas, the individual ego. That is the sense of individuality of who my individual nature is, possessed of the fine level of feeling.
This is called the hridaya maya kosha. Hriday is intended to sound like a human heart. Sanskrit words are very often onomatopoeic. Hriday, hriday, hriday, hriday. That’s the way the heart sounds.
Hridaya means emotion or feeling or heart. The fine level of feeling. “I feel something is so, usually is more correct than I think something is so.”
Then comes the thinking mind, the intellect, the discriminating mind. Then comes the mind itself, the over part, all of these sitting like, inside of one another like the Russian dolls that we often see in the toy stores where you open one doll and inside is another just like it, and you open that one, there’s another inside just like it, and you open that one, and there’s a smaller one inside just like it.
[51:20] A Lifeless Body
So like this, we have all of these subtle bodies sitting inside of a gross physical body. When the gross physical body is shuffled off, that is to say one separates from the gross physical body.
Because consciousness is the basis of a body being alive, then the body drops away, and consciousness, these other subtle bodies, continues to be. Someone who is in that state may have a moment of experiencing a body that is lifeless sitting there. If the body is whole, or if the body has been dismembered in some way because of an accident, doesn’t matter.
And to see others clamoring around that lifeless form that is no longer me, “That is not me, I am experiencing here separate from that.” And one may even be askance for a little while. “Why are all these people making such a fuss about that thing? That’s not me. This is me. I’m here. But nobody seems to know that. “
But that’s all right. Why? Because some kind of other extremely charming phenomenon is occurring in a direction that is away from that lifeless body. It’s away from it. And many of the texts that you read about these things, that charming phenomenon, it’s a sensory experience of some kind.
[52:56] Continuation of Experience
Body of senses, remember, is one of our subtle bodies, is experiencing something akin to light. It’s experiencing something that is charming, that is attractive. It’s not always light, but sometimes and in many cases, it is light. And then one begins to move in the direction of that very charming phenomenology away from the lifeless body. One is not experiencing oneself as “dead.”
Those who cannot understand or appreciate what has happened to the person that they knew when the lifeless body is no longer capable of responding to them might then refer to their friend or acquaintance or loved one or whoever it is as “having died.” Having been dead. The dead now.
But those who are supposedly dead don’t consider themselves to be dead. And it is indeed rather insulting to refer to them in that way simply because we don’t possess, or we may not possess, the perceptual mechanisms, the acuity of sensory perception, to actually experience what they’re experiencing, but they are continuing to experience. Cessation of experience is not what’s happened. Death means cessation of experience. Continuation of experience has begun.
[54:35] Ignorance Isn’t Bliss
When we become rigidly attached to someone’s consciousness that we knew having only had expression through a gross physiological body, and when that gross physiological body now is lifeless and we cannot get them to respond to us through that body, then we become frustrated.
And that frustration is in part based on our ignorance. And I don’t mean ignorance in a pejorative sense. I mean, the fact that we’re ignoring is our ignorance. We’re practicing something and we’re practicing ignoring the possibility that they’re continuing to experience, and we’re not included in it.
So we may feel a variety of things. We might feel left out, not included. We might feel ignorant and stupefied by the fact that we don’t know what’s happened and we don’t know what to do. We have had a venue through which we were having shared experience, and now that venue is closed, gone. The lifeless body is there. And the lifeless body is going to become a matter of decay very soon. And we have to do something about that.
[55:57] Loving More Than a Body
What does all this mean to us? Where do we go with all of this? And I think the very first thing we have to do is to challenge the assumption and make a decision right from the outset, whereby we say, “All right. I want to be in a state of consciousness where I don’t experience death. First of all, death of others. I don’t experience them as having ceased or terminated. I’m able to sense something about what they’re experiencing. I’m able to continue to have shared experience even though a body has died. And if that’s possible, then let that be my possibility. Let me be able to experience that.”
Because truly, if you love someone, then it’s incumbent on you to love whatever it is that they’re now experiencing, even though it may not be able to include you for the moment. Love that requires of another that they continue to include you in their experience, even if you’re not yet prepared for what they’re experiencing, you still have a body, and then you cannot love or you cannot relate simply because they don’t have a body anymore. “It means that to you,” and this is Maharishi saying to his student, and I was there witnessing because I was his secretary at the time, “it means that you really only considered that person to be a body.”
Not a very nice thought to have. “My loved one was only a body. Now the body is not here. I can’t have shared experience anymore. And so I’m going to use a word to describe what happened and the word is dead. My loved one is dead, meaning not experiencing anymore.”
And so then, what are we confronted with? We’re confronted with having to expand not just our knowledge as intellectual knowledge, which is what we’re doing here, this is intellectual knowledge, but to actually expand our experiencing capability. To expand our capacity to sense, on no uncertain terms, what it is that the person who supposedly died is actually experiencing.
[58:38] Feeling Left Out
They’re experiencing something. To what extent are you willing to be open to that? Or to what extent have you, in a certain sense, killed them off? If you kill somebody off, that means that you no longer are open to the idea that they’re experiencing anything at all. And if they are experiencing anything at all and you’re not included in it, you may have that conflict of feeling a little angry with them for having left you out, but not wanting to admit that because of the sadness that you’re having been left out.
The fact is that the death toll on Earth, as it always has been, continues today to be 100%. People talk about, particularly in this particular age, 2020, the year 2020, some of you will be listening to this in 2040, I’m sure, and you remember the great coronavirus pandemic that swept the earth for which the death rate is somewhere between arguably and there’s some controversy about this, I’m not going to get tangled up in that controversy, but somewhere between 1.5% death toll to 4% death toll. Depending on which population who contracts the virus you’re talking about.
[01:00:02] Longevity is Fatal
However, I’d like to point out that the death rate of being in a human body is 100%. The death rate of humans is 100%. Every single human body dies of the process of being in a human body. Longevity is a fatal condition. No matter how long you live, it is fatal to be alive. If you are alive, you’re going to die. Your body is going to die of something. The body will cease to function. And the continuity of experience that you have had throughout this lifetime will change.
That continuity of experience will go through some kind of radical change. And that radical change is something that not only do you need to learn how to be adaptive to, but you also need to learn to be adaptive to the possibility, the idea, the absolute reality that every single person you’ve ever met and every single person you know also is not going to be in a body for much longer.
Much longer. What does that mean? 50 years? 60? 100? Not more than 100 in most cases.
[01:01:28] Heaven on Earth
So we have a limited time inside of a body during which time to acquire a degree of experience that brings us great peace, which brings us joy. The joy that we have when we’re living in a human body. The joy that we have, when we are expressing The Absolute through a human condition. The joy that we have… this is referred to in the Vedic worldview as “heaven on Earth.”
Heaven on Earth is not some abstract reality. People very often bandy that term around. They’ll use heaven on Earth to describe anything from ice cream to lingerie. But heaven on Earth means the ability to experience The Absolute, the heavenly state, the bliss state, while still being in a body. To be able to experience totality consciousness while in a physical body with your feet on the ground living in a body, breathing, and so on. Being the universe, having the complete fulfillment of the universe, having experienced its purpose in creating individuality.
[01:02:50] Knowledge Eliminates Fear
The purpose The Absolute has in creating individuality is to experience love, the ultimate value of shared experience. The purpose of life in a human body is expansion of happiness in that direction, and to become knowledgeable. Knowledge is that which eliminates fear. This is our policy.
The policy of the Vedic world is that knowledge eliminates fear. When we have knowledge, we can live a life that is truly fearless. A fearless life because we have knowledge. We understand the largest patterns. We understand and experience a sense of, “Well, of course. Of course, this is the way the sequences go. Of course, this is the reality,” rather than burying our heads in the sand, and attempting not to look at what is the inevitable reality for every human being on Earth, which is that their body will cease to function due to something at some point.
[01:04:04] The End of the Human Body
Maybe it’ll be an accident. Maybe it’ll be murder by a spouse. Maybe it’ll be electrocution in the bath. Maybe it will be falling from a great height. Maybe it’ll be something boring like coronavirus. Maybe it will be coronary artery spasm. Maybe it will be cancer. Who knows? What’s it going to be? It’s going to be something. Something in the spectrum of things that bring an end to the livelihood of the human body will occur, even if it is simple longevity.
You might think, “Well, my family has longevity. I’m going to live a long time.” Well, you’ll live a certain number of years and then you’ll die. If you live to be 130 and then die, the body’s still dying. The body’s still dying. Longevity is fatal.
[01:05:00] Make Hay While the Sun Shines
Life in a human body is a lethal condition whose death rate is 100%. What we have to do is to make hay while the sun shines. That is to say to gain the capacity to experience heaven on Earth while yet in the body.
And this we do through learning how to meditate. Learning how, on a daily basis, to step beyond all of the assumptions to experience, twice daily, that, “I am one with the universe.” To experience, twice daily, “I am that deep, inner Unified Field of Consciousness that is beyond the processes of creation, maintenance, and destruction. I am that which goes on and on.”
As the poet said, “For men may come and men may go, but I go on forever.”
That reality. That reality is what it is that makes the concept of death not real. Not real.
Jai Guru Deva.