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The Art of Dying

We had mentioned previously that death could be through any of the three nadis - the vajra nadi, the sushumna and the chitrini. We also saw that for most of us, the vajra nadi controls everything and it is only in very rare cases that a person is able to die through the sushumna or the chitrini. Such a death would be of a very different kind. Let us look at an example of each.

When we die, the vajra nadi is pulled like the string of a bow and death is immediate. Once this happens, there is no coming back.

It is said that Gautama Buddha died through the sushumna. He told his disciples that he was going and then slept on the right side and slowly started leaving the physical realm. His chief disciple and cousin Ananda started giving a running commentary on how Buddha was passing through different states - from the physical and more gross to the subtle. The story goes that a man came running and said that his whole life he had wanted to ask Buddha a question but had never found the time. Ananda told him that it was too late as Buddha had gone to a place from which he could not return. But Buddha heard him and he came back. He sat upright, answered the person’s question and again slept on the right and entered death. Whether the story is true or not, it does tell us of the quality of Buddha’s death.

There is only one recorded case which we can say is death through the chitrini. It is said that Kabir was lying in a hut in the final moments of his life while his disciples were fighting outside as to whether they should cremate the body or bury it. Kabir activated the very mysterious nadi called chitrini, created a very high-pitched sound of ‘OM’ called para nada and reduced his body to ashes. When the disciples entered his room, they found two piles of flowers (ashes). Each of the two sets of disciples took a pile and they became two sects - the Kabir panthi and Kabir margi.

These stories teach us that with proper practice and guidance, and when our time comes, we can enter into a death of a very high quality.