Did the fear of death put me on the track of devotion?
by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)
Let me analyze the situation created for the experience of 4 July 1977 and my prevailing mental condition thereafter. (Readers will excuse me for talking about ‘death’ as a hobby-horse, but that is only the truth to happen in the life of living beings).
I joined a printing press as a manager in June 1976 at the age of 31 years, resigning from a government job. An extreme disgust was created in my mind due to my removal from that post just within 7 months in December 1976. I felt self-confident, sincere, and honest in discharging my duties, but it still happened.
Surprisingly, I didn’t develop anger in my mind against the employer or anybody else; rather I started doubting the validity of honesty and sincerity in the world. At that time I was not following any technique or particular path and I even didn’t have an idea of spirituality.
Who could have satisfied me on the question of honesty and sincerity other than God! It was when I regained my government job back in April 1977 that finally on 4 July I got the reply indirectly while thinking of a problem about a boy. At that time I received a terrible stroke and I heard a thundering voice explode: “His Karmas (actions) are responsible if not of this life then of a previous life.” I immediately concluded that God is blameless and it is up to the individual to suffer for his misdeeds of this life or of a previous life.
Those were the days from 4 to 18 July when I enjoyed God intoxication day and night. Thereafter I suffered weakness and exhaustion to the extent of a nervous break-down. Though I witnessed my own death of 4-5 minutes (or Samadhi state) on 20 August 1977, I nevertheless feared death for another 4-5 years thereafter. I was sometimes thinking: Why on Earth do I constantly think about death?
Let me admit that for 4-5 years it was the real fear of death and it made
me trust in God and develop a strong belief in the words of God. In Shrimad Bhagwad Gita (SBG) Lord Krishna promises to do away with the fear of death in a devotee. It happened, but it took some more time to tune my mind to fearlessness.
Presently, I witness myself as a lover of God (in child form) and at the age of 60 now that I am free from my worldly duties, my mind is drawn to God’s (Lord Krishna’s) childlike plays and communicate round the clock mentally. I have only seen Him in my dream once and that much is sufficient not only for the rest of my life but forever, eternally. Here I would like to narrate a story:
A housewife was staying with her mother-in-law in a village and her husband in the army used to visit her about once a year. Before starting any household job she would ask her mother-in-law for permission, which was promptly given in affirmation, “Yes, yes do it, daughter-in-law.” After sometime the mother-in-law died and her husband came home to organize his mother’s funeral. After a few days he left for duty and the wife started keeping the house, but from whom should she beg permission? She got an idea and as earlier she begged permission and she herself replied, “Yes, yes do it, daughter-in-law.” Thus, she gained an eternal company of her mother-in-law.
Similar is the case with the devotee. He happens to get a glimpse or comes across God only once during his life and that is sufficient to develop an eternal relationship with God. This relationship becomes so deeply rooted that at the time of leaving his body the devotee doesn’t feel the passing away of the body. Rather he feels as if he is going to meet his beloved God.
Removal of the fear of death and the relationship with God are two aspects of divinity in the life of a man that are organized through the knowledge path and the devotion path, respectively.