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Fear of Death - The most Powerful of all Fears

Of all the fears that haunt humanity, the fear of death is the strongest. No matter how courageous and valorous you may be, no matter how highly educated, no matter how much you may be blessed with unlimited wealth, no matter what great talents and skills you may possess, the fear of death will be lurking in the background, annulling all your accomplishments and destroying your self-confidence. Most people become subject to despair when they see people dying. The moment they hear of someone's death they consider it very inauspicious and try to close their ears to it. Even when they are over 100 they get frightened when they think of death. They always want to live just a little bit longer. But however much more anyone may aspire to live, death is certain.

The fear of death will not save you from death. Distracting the mind by dwelling on the transient joys of life will not save you. Your relations and friends cannot save you. Your great accomplishments cannot save you. All the objects in the world and all the people in it, are equally washed away by the flow of death. What profit is there for you to take shelter in those who are also being washed away? The person who is seeking protection and shelter, and the one from whom shelter is being sought, are both being washed away. Only when you catch hold of the divinity, which is the immovable bank of this river of death, can you nurture any hope of being saved. When you truly know that all there is, is the divinity, then there is nothing to fear. Then you are saved. You will have conquered the fear of death.

Fearlessness may be compared to a great mountain while fear is something like the small waft of air created by your breath. Can this little current created by your breath ever shake such a mighty mountain? Of course not. The little wind of fear can never shake the great mountain of fearlessness. When this steadfast and unwavering mountain of fearlessness becomes implanted in a mind that is clean and pure and free of delusions, and when it resides in a heart that is immersed in bliss, then you are veritably expressing your divine nature. Then the truth will be established in your heart of hearts, that there is only the one divine reality existing everywhere. Once you know this all-pervasive divinity to be your essence you laugh at death, for then death no longer has any power over you.

Why should anything ever frighten you? What can possibly make you afraid? Death is really just a kind of joke in this play of life. If the role calls for you to fall and die on the stage, will you, the actor, be affected? What is so earth shaking about the death of a body that is born to die. The body, which is made up of the five elements, has to be destroyed some day. For the sake of such an impermanent thing why should you worry? "Arjuna, you are not the one who is going to kill, nor will those you fight be killed. The only thing that can be killed is the body. You are the immortal self. You are not the body." This is the truth that Krishna taught Arjuna and thereby made him fearless. Fearlessness is a quality that is as vital and as important as your lifebreath itself. It is the foremost of the virtues taught in the Gita.