Vedic perspective on Life & Death

David Frawley - 19.11 2021

मरणं प्रक्रृति: शरीरिणां विकृतिर्जिवितमुच्यते बुधै: ।
Death is the nature of the body, life is its special transient condition.
Raghu Vamsha

Life is not natural to the physical body, which exists in the shadow of inevitable death. The body requires special conditions and circumstances to exist, and must be maintained on a daily basis by everyone.

Disease, injury and aging come to all, surrounding us in both our natural and human environments, including contagious diseases like the current pandemic. Keeping the body alive requires tremendous effort and does not occur naturally without it. The result for society is that we have a huge medical establishment to protect our health, but still suffer from disease and pain.

Vedic Perspective on Life & Death

The lifeforce (Prana) is a guest in the material realm from subtle realms beyond and cannot long abide here. It is a bio-electrical energy that can animate the form-based body, but like the electricity that runs our equipment must eventually move on once the equipment wears gets worn out.

The body is composed of combinations and interactions of the five elements that must disintegrate back into its original constituents by the power of gravity.

To maintain physical life, we need appropriate food, beverages, air, exercise, sleep, clothes, houses, and various health and wellbeing practices, without which our life force tends to weaken. We need the support of society, favorable weather, even psychological factors like love and care.

Ayurveda teaches us the right way to sustain the body and also helps us with rejuvenation and longevity, but death remains inevitable, though we can prolong it.

Vedic Counseling Wisdom

The message of this statement in terms of Vedic counseling is clear: Do not identify with your transient physical body, however important it is. Do not seek lasting happiness through it. Accept the aging process to gain wisdom. Protect against the disease process, but note it can only be postponed. Have your awareness centered in your inner Being, not its outer instruments of body and mind, which are only meant to be used for a time.

What is born must die, only what is immortal cannot die. That is our inner Self and Consciousness, not our outer body. Vedic counseling teaches us how we can discover that inner Self and integrate its awareness into all aspects of life, so we can live to the fullest in the physical world and also access the immortality beyond it which is our true nature.

While the nature of the body is death, the nature of the Self is immortal.