Sunday, March 22, 2009

63. Fear of death

One who is born is destined to die. Right from our childhood, we have been used to watching people die around us. Ordinarily, no one should be scared of his own death, because death is such a commonplace experience. But the truth is very different. People are mortally scared of death. Why are they scared of taking the path which thousands have taken before their eyes?
I think, there are three main reasons for the fear of death. First, a person is totally in the dark about the process of dying and about what happens after death. We only know that the body just withers away. But is there a soul which is indestructible? Does this soul enter another body? One cannot be sure before one experiences this oneself. Those who are dead cannot narrate their experience. Had it been possible, there would have been some mitigation of fear. This is one area in which one has the benefit of neither one’s own experience nor of anyone else’s. The fear of death is primarily the fear of the unknown.
Second, uncertainty of the timing and manner of death also can be a source of fear. One does not know when one is going to die. Any age and any time is within the reach of death. It can strike in hundreds of different ways- in the garb of a disease, a natural calamity or a deliberate action. It may be accompanied by a lot of discomfort and pain or it may be seemingly painless. Pain itself may be short-lived or prolonged. One is not sure if one will be properly taken care of before one’s death if it is accompanied by pain. Uncertainty can be a source of fear.
Third, one knows that death will snatch away everything one has. It will separate one from loved ones and force one to leave behind the worldly things, accumulated painstakingly. The fear of death is also the fear of loss.
Is there any other cause for fear? I am not able to think of one.


Sai Charan said...

Dear Onkarji,

I too had similar thoughts; at your leisure, just have a quick look at my Nov’08 post - “Random Thoughts on the Grave…” and Oct’08 post - “Simple Thoughts on Life…” in my blog. And let me know what you felt.

I believe even a lifetime is not sufficient to fully understand and come to clear conclusions on such complex topics on “Death”.

Saadia said...

You ask, "Why are they scared of taking the path which thousands have taken before their eyes?" That is because almost all who have treaded the path before, haven't done so voluntarily.

Another reason to fear death - for those who believe in it - the Afterlife. Have I done enough to be rewarded, or does punishment await me?

Aviral said...

i think one should take inspiration from Jade Goody...she fought death till the end without any fear

R. Ramesh said...

ya..i salute goody boss..she knew she was dying..but lived the last few days in an admirable way..if only human beings r nice to each other, heaven is here, not up there...but then it does not happen..

Indrani said...

What about fear of being abandoned by your near and dear ones?
Just close your eyes and imagine that.
I think this is more fearful.

humanobserver said...

Death ? hmmm. Perhaps the only truth in life.