Reincarnation and Karma [4]– The Significance of Death: Attachment to specific forms


So, even within the limits of experience of the worldly, there is much that should mitigate morbid thoughts of death as being an irreparable loss. A sane attitude toward death is possible only if life is considered impersonally and without any attachment to particular forms. This the worldly person finds difficult because of his entanglement with specific forms. For him, one form is not as good as another. The form he identifies himself with is by far the most important. The general preservation and advancement of the stream of life has for him no special interest. What the worldly individual craves is a continuation of his own form and other particular forms with which he is entangled. His heart cannot reconcile itself to his intellect. With the vanishing of the forms that have been dear to him, he becomes a victim of unending sorrow though life as a whole may have replaced elsewhere the lost forms with new ones.

The sorrow of death, on closer analysis, turns out to be rooted in selfishness. The person who loses his beloved may know intellectually that life as a whole has elsewhere compensated for the loss; but his only feeling is, What is that to me? When one looks at it from one’s own personal point of view, death becomes a cause of unending sorrow. From the point of view of life in general, it is an episode of minor importance.

-Discourses 7th Ed., p302

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