Yogic Insight Into Death
With Special Guest Writer Nandhiji
Death eventually strikes us all. Yet the subject of death is mostly avoided and in some cultures even prohibited from being talked about.
My dad who was facing health challenges for over three years passed on this spring. He had literally held on to his life the last three weeks waiting for me. After I arrived to South India from Los Angeles, I was driven straight to his hospital in Madurai. With tears in his eyes he said, “Now that you are here, I feel healed and complete. Now I do not have fear. I can now face anything.”
He was lying on the bed unable to move as I sat by his side with my palm on his chest, reciting our Siddha mantras and holding his hand with my other hand. After a day, he slowly departed as I felt him take his last breath and his new journey beginning. He left in peace surrounded by his family. The day after, I completed his last rites – picking up his ash & bones from the crematorium. As I did, I realized that his 69 years on planet earth now has a void to fill and his legacy of love to carry. I write from this space of grief and its wisdom, and my journey as a yogi.
A yogi is one who has ‘died’ and is the Spirit living within the human in enriched experience and wisdom. Yogic wisdom is to know that each breath holds the journey of life and that beyond life is the wisdom gift of death. Yet death is always the most feared by nearly all humans. Even the person living the most miserable life does not want to die. From the yogic perspective, to understand death is to awaken and realize our inner wisdom, called Atma Nyanam, wisdom of the Soul.
Viktor Frankl’s message after going through the horror of the holocaust was the wisdom of death: “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
Here I share my own story of my ‘near-death’ experience or rather, ‘through-death’ experience:
27 years ago, when I was 27 years old and at the peak of my business success, I felt struck by the notion that I was going to die. A psychic friend of mine did a tarot card reading for me. Three times I pulled out a card, all three were death. I was frightened.
My friend told me not to worry and that it meant blessings of major transformation were coming. But I felt my impending death in all its ugliness – cold, painful and remorseless. I felt like a dying man seeking anything to hold on to. When my neighbor gifted me a small wooden Shiva Lingam (the Lingam is the symbol of infinity, holding the essence of Lord Shiva) I held the lingam as my last straw, praying for protection. That’s when I heard within me a voice that said, “I am coming to take you later today.”
I thought it was the voice of God. I stayed home through the day. That evening, I heard a knock on my door. I opened the door to see a young Sage, Bhairavasekarswamy, of age 27, with fire in his eyes who told me, “Lord Shiva sent me to take you. You have death coming for you. Will you come with me to Srikalahasti?” (Srikalahasti was a 3-hour car journey away from Chennai, where I was living then.) I said, “I have been waiting for you all my life. Lets go!”
That evening he did rituals while having me recite a mantra. He took me through my past life deaths. Each death of my past revealed the consequences of that life. It was extremely painful and frightening to go through that experience. But the mantra he gave me started generating a small blue oasis like a harmonious embryo that felt safe and protective. Slowly that embryo grew larger and larger until it became “me.”
I felt free. I felt joy for no reason. I cried out of happiness as I found something that felt complete. As I returned back home the next day, I felt I was a huge Being inside a little well-shaped body. Early the next morning I was up wanting to meditate (something I had never done before) and there I was rushing to go inward. Feelings of bliss emerged, my mind pristine with no thoughts.
My habits shifted radically – I could not smoke cigarettes anymore and could not stand the sight of meat let alone eat non-vegetarian. I was now in waves of bliss and whenever my bliss wavered, I knew I needed to stop and meditate to reconnect to Source and reset myself. Now began my journey inward as I connected with realized Beings who as Gurus guided me deeper – into caves, shrines, and into the wilderness in solitude. My journey spanned over 9 years, growing within myself until I woke up to understand my life purpose: to reach Consciousness to humanity.
Nandhiji www.nandhiji.com is a Siddha yogi, humanitarian and visionary awakening humanity through mystic wisdom, community and service. He is an artist, ecstatic chant musician, author and teacher, representing the path of the Liberated. He lives in Los Angeles, where he shares the life-enhancing wisdom and teachings of the Siddhar sages, the liberated mystics of South India.
Nandhiji was gifted with a childhood experience of the Divine when he was four years old. Later as a young adult, while leading an active family life, he was initiated through a death experience by his first Guru, and his journey into the mystical realm of the Siddhas as a yogi began. After years of seeking ‘wholeness’ through connection with the inner world, Nandhiji woke up to understand his highest purpose: to uplift humanity in consciousness.
One of the fruits of his journey is offered in Mastery of Consciousness. Nandhiji says, “When we awaken the inner lamp, we liberate ourselves to the grace of our own wisdom, our Inner Guru, Consciousness!” Nandhiji envisions a humanity awake through yogic wisdom, enterprise and community.