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Death: When Does It Start?

Updated on September 30, 2017
Swami Saurabhnath profile image

Saurabh Tambe (Saurabhnath) is a spiritual seeker and disciple of Nath tradition in India. He writes on various spiritual topics.

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When do we die?

All human beings are deeply interested in this question that when do we start to die? Does it happen suddenly at the last breath or does it start with the first breath? Does death start at the age when we reach our full growth?

To go more deep, on the very basic cellular level, it is DNA which makes us what we are, whenever a Cell divides, the DNA in them gets replicated. There are caps at the end of DNA strand, these caps are called as Telomeres. Each time our cells divide, these caps get shorter, eventually they get too short to protect the DNA, we start aging and soon die.

Exact meaning of Death.

Above we saw different perspectives about death. Now we will try to define exactly what is death?

There are many ways to look at it. One can say that death is a long process which starts when we are born. Or someone can say, death is not physical, it is something psychological, we die when we accept the death, otherwise with strong resolve body can be healthy for long time.

There is another way of looking at death, that is spiritual way. It says, we souls are immortals, only our body dies and we move on to another new body. So when we go through death that is actually just like changing clothes

My understanding about death.

We saw how man tries to define death, but there is a flaw in the first place. We imagine that there is something called death by looking at other people die and start interpreting the event. In reality no one has ever experienced anything like death. Yes, sometimes in life there is acute pain, suffering but no one knows death because anytime someone dies, that person becomes unconscious. So, in my view there is no way to know anything about death because of the absence of consciousness, we can never know what is death. At the most we can say, that at the time of death, a person becomes unconscious, sometime after that body disintegrates.

Death - From the eyes of Consciousness

There are few people who go through the experience near to death, that is called as Near Death Experience. These people tell their stories of what they could experience when their bodies became unconscious. If we trust them then we can infer that the Consciousness does not become extinct at the time of death. Rather it continues to experience different things even after death.

What our own Experience can tell about death?

In the end, if we want to understand death, then we have to look at our own experience of life. In our day to day life, we (Consciousness), keep moving in three different states, waking, dreaming and deep sleep. In these three states we can experience body in two states, the deep sleep state does not have any form of body like we have in waking and dreaming. This deep sleep state is key in understanding death. They both share one common aspect, they both do not have body. The difference in them is that we come to waking state in same body after the sleep is over and in death we cannot come to waking state in same body after death is over. But does it mean that we cannot come to waking state in some other, new body after the rest in death is over? There is no evidence to suggest any firm answer to it but we can infer that because Consciousness can exist without body in deep sleep then it can also exist without body in death. Why would it get extinct? At the most we can say Consciousness gets out of the time, and when it is back into another body, it gets again into time. It is like quantum leap from one body to another.

So, from the point of view of day to day experience, death is like a long sleep, after which one wakes up in new body, among new people.

Coming back to our main question, when does death start, the answer to this question is, never, death never starts because there is no death, there are only dreams. One dream of life starts and it ends, then another dream starts......

Death is an imaginary event in dream, out of the dream death does not exist. One may say the beginning of dream is birth and ending of dream is death, but in reality all is just a dream.

Thanks for reading.....

© 2017 Swami Saurabhnath

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