Reincarnation and Karma[2] – The Significance of Death: Death as background of life


As the worldly individual considers death to be the cessation of life, he gives great importance to it. There are few, however, who contemplate death for prolonged periods. And in spite of the fact that most persons are completely engrossed in their worldly pursuits, they are impressed by the incident of death when confronted by it. For most people the earthly scene of life has, as its background, the inevitable and irresistible fact of death which imperceptively enters into their greatest triumphs and achievements, their keenest pleasures and rejoicing.

Apart from being the general background to the scene of life, death also assumes an accentuated and overwhelming importance among the variegated incidents of life. Death falls among those happenings that are most dreaded and lamented. People, in malice or anger, try to inflict death upon each other as the last penalty or the worst revenge, or they rely upon it as the surest way of removing aggression or interference by others. People also invite death upon themselves as the token of supreme self-sacrifice; and at times they seek it with the false hope of putting an end to all the worldly worries and problems they are unable to face or solve. Thus, in the minds of most persons, death assumes an accentuated and overwhelming importance.

-Discourses 7th Ed., p301

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