The death of a loved one

by: Swami BA Paramadvaiti


How should one feel after the loss of a loved one? This is something that can happen anywhere. One time when a woman lost her child and was lamenting a lot, she asked for help. Finally she got a recommendation to go to Buddha, and she asked him to help her and pleaded to himto bring new life to her child that had died. Lord Buddha agreed to help her with the condition that she bring him mustard seeds from houses where no one had ever died. The woman then became hopeful and left to search from house to house for mustard seeds, but she couldn't get any seeds because in all the houses where she had searched, someone had died. She then returned to Buddha. He asked her for the seeds and she responded that she was not able to find them. Buddha then explained to her how death is a natural process that everyone must undergo and that she was not the only one that had to suffer the loss of a loved one.

When a loved one leaves, it is a very painful moment because one feels so secure with the people that one associates with. One feels that they are going to live forever and suddenly they see that this loved one is only a dead body, which causes problems because the corpse must be cremated or buried. This is a painful thing for the family of the dead person. In this moment, wisdom should come to your heart and you should realize that he never was a material body. He is a soul that is no longer in this body and according to his karma, he will take another body. It is a moment of reflection because when loved ones leave, they leave us a great lesson: that those that we love are not their bodies. Their essence, their spirit, is now on the path towards the infinite. And the moment of death is something very serious, we have to think that we must place ourselves at the disposal of God because our life is very short.

In this way, we must advance on the spiritual path, making good use of this moment by doing something serious, using our intelligence because each second is precious. We cannot assess the value of a second. A second of life is worth more than anything on the earth because at the moment of death one will not be able to get an additional second even if one has all the wealth of the earth. Imagine then how valuable is the life that we have and how many marvelous things we can do with it. The most fundamental thing then is the evolution of our consciousness, and for it, the loss of a loved one should make us serious in making good use of our existence.

Arjuna himself is troubled by the separation of his Lord because he realizes that he completely depends on His infinite mercy. In this way, we all depend on God, and we are only going to be dependents. If we become arrogant, thinking that everything is our capacity, that everything is our talent, or even worse if we treat others badly, murdering animals or deceiving people, this will only bring a mountain of problems and will only stagnate our growth. For this reason, when a loved one leaves us, it serves as a rung in order to grow spiritually. Climb this rung with firmness and devotion and surrender your life to the Lord. He knows how to reciprocate with us. Ask for help in order to overcome this pain. And if we who are going to die and leave loved ones behind, if we have hope to meet again, then this encounter will have a spiritual consciousness and not be another material situation. It is important to desire to return to God, where we will be able to be with Him and the eternally liberated souls and where there is neither separation nor affliction. In this way, our spiritual master shows us that life and death are different rungs that God wants us to climb. Happiness and distress, wealth and poverty, all these are facets of a world where everyone is equally dependent on mercy.

Many times when we have not experienced the loss of a loved one, we live in a superficial way. We should not live like this. We should search out the essence, the sacred essence of everything.

Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti
Translation: Erica Wolski