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Fear of death

Fear of Death
- Shri.N.V.Raghuram

Fear of Death(1st Lecture) Delivered on the morning of 11th July 2002, Wednesday, Sunnyvale Temple. About 20 participants.
What is the basic force that drives people? Some of the current ideas are of Freud. Freud earlier felt that the libido(the sexual urges) was the basic driving force for any actions. Later Freud revised that the basic driving force is Fear.

Our scriptures describe that the fear is the main motivating force for all actions. There is a shloka – bhayascha agnistapati .. meaning – Agni burns anything out of fear, Sun moves out of fear, all Devas do their duties due to fear.

Here, the Surya etc are not considered as just the planetary / stellar masses. The same Upanishad which talks about Sun as Deva having fear, also talks about the diameter of the sun, treating this a solid body moving in space. The IDEAS /characteristics of Surya like giving away light and energy - are the ones that are worshipped as Surya Deva.

What is this fear? What are its characteristics? Adi Shankara takes up this question and concludes – Atmanasha rUpam bhayam… Losing ones’ identity is the Fear. This is the fear that motivates all our actions – like disturbing our meditation. Meditation is one that takes us to abhaya stithi (state of fearlessness).

How to conquer this fear of death?

What is the Insurance against death? Sri Raghuram explains the concept of Insurance saying that the Insurance is a constant reminder of death – a good example is a Insurance salesman who shows the fear of death and makes business. He doesn’t remove the fear of death.

It is the fear of death which is the motivating force to do the adventures / thrill rides etc. At the end we develop a feeling that we have won over the death.

Is this the way to overcome death?

Fear of death(2nd Lecture) Delivered on the morning of 12th July 2002, Thursday, at Sunnyvale Temple. About 20 participants.
Even in suicide cases, there was an intense fear of death when the death approached. Those who have been rescued from suicide attempts were very thankful though they were half burnt.

There is a fear of the loss of identification - afraid of losing the image or losing the identity. What brings us out of meditation is this fear of the loss of identity, which melts away in meditation. We like to seek identity.

Why do we do good / social service? That is to see that some portion of us continues after death. This is the reason for plaques – that so and so has donated so much money for this cause.

Upanishads say – You can’t conquer the fear of death through activities. There are some karmas to extend life – like Shantis. Shanti is to make ourself peaceful – to accept life as it is.

They should we not do good work? Upanishads say – do the good work as though the other person is no different from us.

There are three stages of fear –
1. Bhaya – having the fear of death
2. Nirbhaya – trying to overcome / conquer the fear of death
3. Abhaya – the opposite of nirbhaya, a state of true fearlessness, with the acceptance of death

Fear of death(3rd Lecture) Delivered on the morning of 13th July 2002, Friday, at Sunnyvale Temple. About 20 participants.
Fears are not selfish. I am not afraid of jumping from a height. I don’t like others to take care of me if I am hurt. I don’t want them to see unhappy. In fact, I am doing them a favor.

Upanishads say – you can’t conquer the fear of death by activities. It does suggest some karmas to extend life – like Shantis etc. Shanti is to make ourselves peaceful, not to avoid the imminent.

How do people try to overcome the fear of death?

Fear of death(4th Lecture) Delivered on the morning of 16th July 2002, Tuesday, at Sunnyvale Temple. About 20 participants.
Immortalizing oneself through name and money. Name to perpetuate oneself after death. Doing bad perpetuates the name for a longer while. And some are ready to do that too. And money to get more and more medical help to prolong life – if kidney or any organ is not good replace it with another one, etc. Using the human workshop to perpetuate life.

Progeny – ‘my child’ – is another way to perpetuate oneself after death. At least in the form of progeny I continue to live. Why does a mother fear the marriage of a son – after marriage he may be happy, but, MY extension of him is dropped.

If love is expressed as ‘my wife’ and ‘my son’, it is the my that we love. Longing for son – he will perform shraadhha every year and will help me extend my life in the next world.

And the desire in leaders to have a following – they will take my name forward. They want to extend themselves.

Upanishads say – Na karmaNa na prajayA na dhanena

It is not through the actions, not through the progeny and not through the money – that you can go further.

For the only time in human history – one person knocked on the doors of Death – Nachiketa. When his father told him that he has offered Nachiketa to Death, Nachiketa accepted it and he waited for three days outside the Yama’s dwelling.

Yama tried to avoid him – to dissuade him.

Fear of death(5th Lecture - Conclusion) Delivered on the morning of 17th July 2002, Wednesday, at Sunnyvale Temple. About 20 participants.
Knowledge is experience. Knowledge without experience was not appreciated in our culture. So, Yama is hesitant to give the knowledge of death to Nachiketa.

Fear of death is nothing but the fear of attachment. When we are afraid we try to hold onto something. Nature of the world is to flow. Holding onto something is in conflict with nature. This is known as death. Life is flow.

Fear of death is nothing but the fear of attachment. When we are afraid we try to hold onto something. Nature of the world is to flow. Holding onto something is in conflict with nature. This is known as death. Life is flow.

Birth is connected with death. Life is not connected with death. Life is amrutatva. Joy of being is living.

Tyag is giving up. Death is attachment. Attachment is not the number of objects that one has – but the attitude. Child may have many objects – but is not attached to anything. That is why a child has that joy of living. Experience of this bliss is Tyaga.

Shavaasana is this experience of Tyaaga. With wakefulness & awareness in the shavaasana, we increase the joy. In Shavaasana – move out and observe as though the body is outside. We come out of meditation due to this fear of death. Practising tyaaga – like in Shavaasana - this is the real way of training oneself to overcome death.

Vivekananda Kendra – started on the auspicious occsion of Swami Vivekandnda’s birth centenary. This was a wonderful way to build a living memorial to Swami. The Vivekananda Kendra started research into the scriptures. Swami Vivekananda’s vision was to see that East meets West – not like that of the MG Roads in the country, Sri Raghuram lightly remarks. But, the scientific temper – and the translation of theory into the language that the people can understand – this was the idea of Swami.

The Vivekananda Kendra in Bangalore took up Yoga as its subject. As the activities of Yoga grew and became unmanageable, SVYASA(Swami Vivekananda Anusandhana Samsthana) was founded with the express mission of delving into the various aspects of Yoga. Now SVYASA has about 200 hospital beds for participants taking Yoga therapy. It has now about 150 acres of land. SVYASA now runs courses from one week to 5 years.

This year VYOMA (Vivekananda Yoga Mahavidyalaya) has been recognized as a Deemed University to award Bachelors, Masters and Phds in Yoga and allied subjects. Nobel Laureates Joseph Stein, Dalai Lama, Prof ECG Sudarshan, a world famous Physicist are all contributing to the growth of VYOMA.

SVYASA is promoting Yoga as a Science, has been working with various universities to start Yoga departments and research studies. Stift hospital in Germany is now actively promoting Yoga therapy where the whole hospital is adopting the Yoga way of life, with mantra chanting, incense, small temple inside, vegetarian food etc.

SVYASA is truly working towards making the world a better place by applying the age old wisdom to the current situation.

Sri N.V. Raghuram’s Profile
It is very difficult to describe an enchanting place or a wonderful piece of music. And, to capture the experience of Sri Raghuram, it is indeed a very difficult task. Neverthless, here goes an attempt to do the same.

Sri Raghuram was born in Khammam, in 1948, started with his interest in philosophy while he was a student, as early as 1960. He started practicing Yoga since 1966. Sri Raghuram graduated from REC Bhopal by 1970, one of the outstanding engineering colleges of the country. Till 1985, he worked as a Civil engineer, with the Government of Karnataka and Government of India. As a Civil engineer, a plum position in those days, and was quite well known for this innovative ideas and skills. He toured extensively and met lots of people, among them, a great saint, Swami Prabudhananda, who became one of this Spiritual mentors. Sri Raghuram used to go for Satsangs in Moradabad, UP, to meet Swami Prabudhananda.

Even while he was working, he started off contributing to a wonderful vision to share the knowledge of Yoga and philosophy and along with Sri Nagendra and Sri Nagarthna etc, founded Swami Vivekananda Anusandhana Samsthana, Bangalore in 1980.

Around 1977, Sri Raghuram started getting trained in one of the most auspicious places blessed by Swami Vivekananda, Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, and interacted with famous personalities like Sri Ekanathji Ranade. He started conducting Kendra activities at various places, became a Yoga teacher. Since then, he has conducted over 600 Stress Management workshops in a number of companies, in various countries, like Japan, Singapore, USA, Germany, etc. He was involved in training Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian Astronaut in space, Indian Aquatic team and Indian Hockey team for Asian games.

As the International Coordinator of SVYASA, he tours and conducts Yoga Instructor Certificate programmes. He has trained hundreds of teachers in Japan, Singapore, Germany, England, Romania, Turkey, Indonesia, Seoul, Uruguay etc. In association with organizations like Yogabharati, HSS, he has conducted Yoga Teacher Training programmes in USA.

Sri Raghuram has an impeccable record in the Yoga Research circles as well. He is a regular at various International conferences, presented about 20 papers, all over the world. He has conducted a medical research project on Arthritis in General hospital, Middlesborough, England and published a paper on the results in 1989. Sri Raghuram has set up a Yoga Therapy facility in Stgtoral Neurological Hospital, in Griesbach, Germany. He has prepared about 20 Yoga Therapy instructors and provided Therapy for hundreds of patients.

He is well versed with various topics related to history, culture, spirituality and he has conducted workshops on Indian Ethos in Management and such topics.

Sri Raghuram has a truly Yogic lifestyle, gets up around 4.00AM and does meditation, study and contemplation. Reads books extensively and interacts with hundreds of people daily. Goes to bed around 11.30AM. Smt Nagarathna, his wife is a truly wonderful spiritual partner. She is a medical doctor, MD. Their only son, Amrit, is in tune with nature, has a passion for wild life and is very comfortable with wild animals like tigers etc.

There is one thing really unique about Sri Raghuram, one would be surprised to know that this engineer has passion for Bhakti Yoga, the science of emotions, a realm very difficult to master, particularly once a person is hammered with rationality all through the engineering. Perhaps that is what makes his talks so interesting, he can deal with a topic in a very touching, heart rendering way, while maintaining the logic and the rationality.