Overcome the Fear of Death through Kriya Yoga

Iwas interpreting the following dialogue of Julius Caesar for my Class X students:

“Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.”

One of my students ventured: “Why are all living beings scared of death?”

I share here my answer, based on my understanding. I believe people are scared of death because of:

1.    The fear of losing what is known;

2.    The apprehensions about the unknown;

3.    The fear of losing self-consciousness; and

4.    The physical pain associated with it.

Even Maharishi Patanjali, the greatest authority on yoga says that fear of death is naturally, inherently present in all living beings.

Even wise men cling to this life, that is, have fear of death.

– Yoga Sutra 2.9

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This fear is caused by two deep factors. First, man is

aware of his immortality as a divine being. Second, the

painful experiences of previous deaths are deeply lodged in his subconscious mind. Above all, fear is part of the divine scheme of life and nature’s painful way of forcing man to realize his innate immortality as soon as possible to avoid these recurrent, nightmarish experiences.

“Is there no way to escape this pain?” another student asked me.

“There definitely is; yoga offers a solution to all human problems,” I replied.

The ignorant man, unaware of spiritual potential, leads a robotic life. Lost in the struggle of day-to-day life, he forgets to prepare himself to face the final battle against death.

There is a story about a man who had three friends. He loved two of these friends very much but always ignored the third. One day, he received summons to attend court. The friend he loved the most left the man when he heard this. The second friend went to court to help him out but was not allowed to enter. The third friend, whom he had ignored, followed him like a shadow, advocated in his favor and got him respectfully dismissed from court.

The first friend is the fame, power and money which leave us with death. Man can’t use even the money in his

pocket. The second friend refers to family and friends who can accompany a dead person to the cemetery but can’t go beyond. The third friend, whom man ignores the most, is virtuous action, the practice of mediation, which ensures our freedom from the repeated cycle of birth and death.

Man often turns a blind eye to this last adversary of life. When it attacks him, he behaves like a canary caught by a cat. All the melodies of the canary end in screeches when it

Overcome the Fear of Death through Kriya Yoga


is caught in the jaws of the cat. The great art of living lies not only in living life smartly but also in preparing for death, a long solitary journey without amenities.

At the time of death, when life-energy and consciousness retire to the central astral spine and from there to the medulla oblongata to make an exit from there, the body becomes inert and all motor and sense organs lose their vitality and functionality. Unable to use his body, the long familiar instrument of action and knowledge, man is left shocked and senseless. The longing of a dying man sets in motion the tug-of-war between nature’s directive and man’s desire, between life (desire to live) and death (the approaching death), between expiry and extension.

Man is like a foreigner on earth. When his earthly visa expires, he is forced to leave it. Extensive medical research conducted on near-death experiences report that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the dying man increases. Often doctors put a man on a ventilator to supply oxygen and minimize carbon dioxide concentration. When the oxygen supply to the brain decreases, man has many unusual or hallucinatory experiences. That is why the only pain a dying man faces is a feeling of suffocation due to his inability to breathe properly. Unable to breathe, move muscles, or use motor and sense organs, he is fear-stricken. When he fails to revive dead organs, he sinks into unconsciousness.

A few fortunate ones who practice kriya yoga never have an unpleasant experience at the time of transition. Science defines death as the permanent cessation of all vital functions of the body and loss of consciousness. Those who practice kriya yoga gain control over life-energy and consciousness and can comfortably control all life processes.

St. Paul, a great Western saint, used to say, “I protest by our rejoicing in Christ, I die daily.”

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Similarly, Kabir, an Indian saint wrote about his ability to switch on and off life-energy to and from the body and senses and experience a death-like process through it:

“All talk of death

But nobody knows how to die.

There will be no anymore death

Once you learn how to die.”

The above yogi-saints either practiced kriya yoga or similar techniques. The regular practice of kriya yoga helps you enjoy complete relaxation, which means voluntary withdrawal of life-energy and consciousness from the entire body. Then, an enormous amount of life-energy, otherwise engaged in metabolic functions, is released. This energy electrifies the tissues and trillions of body cells. Thus, sustained by life-energy, kriya yogi does not need blood circulation to survive.

Those who regularly practice kriya yoga do not feel pain, fear and loss of consciousness at the time of death. They consciously, confidently and joyously leave the body of their own sweet will when their earthly term is over. The Lord of Death awaits their approval and walks behind them like an attendant joyously willing to fulfill his master’s desire.

Lahire Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswara Giri, Paramhansa Yoganand and other advanced followers of this path left their bodies consciously.

Swami Pranabanand was a highly advanced kriya yogi. To restore the faith of the confused man in yoga, Swami Pranabanand organized a feast to feed a huge crowd of 2,000 people from Rishikesh. After the feast, he delivered a sermon on God. In the end, before the crowd of his devotees who had gathered, he said loudly, “I am going to kick this mortal frame.” Using a higher kriya technique, he left his body, consoling his disciples not to grieve.