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.