The Art of Dying
Twelve years ago - on 20th of August 1999 - our teacher, Harish Johari, left his body in the holy town of Haridwar, leaving behind a cultural legacy that has inspired and will uplift people for generations. When he died at the age of 65 he accepted his passing with grace, refusing to deter death with drugs or radiation treatment. Following find a text of on „Death and Dying" recorded at a seminar in Holland.
Harish Johari: Death is nothing, death does not exist. Death is always a temporarily feeling because the body that you are renting is only for some time. This house that you are renting is one place where you are. When the time comes to leave this place you leave that house.
Student: Can the fear of dying be overcome?
Harish Johari: Only when you have so much pain in the body that the body becomes a house of terror and you cannot stay in the body anymore, then the fear of the body and the moha (attraction) of the body - both are overcome and one prays that now let me better leave this body.
Student: So it is true, when there is a body then there is a fear of dying?
Harish Johari: Only theoretically you can cultivate fearlessness inside you by talking over and over again to yourself that death is inevitable, it has to come... everybody has to die and I have to die. So you can prepare yourself for death. But fear will still remain.
But if you have somehow a relationship with death like you have a relationship with your friends then to go into the boat will not be a matter of going to a foreign country but will be going back to your own people. So if you create friendship with Yama (and Yama is Dharmraj - „Dharm-Raj" - the great follower of dharma, who takes care of it that people follow their dharma and according to dharma he gives them either a good or a bad place); so, if you create friendship with Dharmraj by following dharma then fear of death will go. If you act virtuous and follow the law of dharma you will have friendship with Dharmraj and your death will not be scary. Like, if I have prepared myself very well for my talk then I can become very happy in the middle of all the people because I know what I am talking about. And if I have no command over the subject then I will like to avoid people and I feel a little bit nervous before giving a talk. So dharma is what makes you more fearless. Follow your dharma.
Student: I never heard about dharma.
Harish Johari: Dharma is in the real nature of creation. The dharma of water is to cool, to quench. The dharma of fire is to burn. The dharma of day is to provide enough energy for continuing work. The dharma of night is to give you relaxation that you sleep. The dharma of air is to cool and dry. The dharma of a child is to follow and obey his parents. The dharma of a teacher is to tell you the truth as much as he knows and not to hide anything from you. The dharma of a student is to listen and obey and understand whatever is being said. The dharma of a wife is to cooperate with her husband. The dharma of a husband is to support and take care of the security of his wife. So everything has its own dharma, and dharma is what one's role in life is. To follow your dharma means to do your role of being on this planet earth in such a way that all those things which help or support you or give you life, you take care of all those principles. So you care for your breath, you care for your body, you care for your environment. Somewhere you get, somewhere you give. You don't get things only for yourself, you get things only to help those who need help.
Student: Dada, the Dharma of an opponent is to be against?
Harish Johari: The dharma of an opponent is to always point out the weak points of his opponent so that the opponent can improve and become a good man.
Student: So the main thing is to know who you are? Are you an opponent, are you a husband, are you a teacher...
Harish Johari: Many of this roles you automatically play. Whenever you have to learn you go to somebody and say, „I want to learn". There you should clearly understand that at this moment and at this point your role is the role of a student.
Student: And then what is the relation of dharma with death?
Harish Johari: Death is a cessation of life but not a discontinuation of the Self. The Self that reseides inside the body still continues. Only the body dies. So the Self is the one who is actually the person in the body. So if he has observed and followed the rules of the game and played well then at the time when the game ends he feels satisfied. At the end he feels well. When he played well in the end he is not the one who would say, „Oh God, if I get two more minutes I will have done something more". That feeling is a feeling of a person who is dissatisfied. A person who plays well also plays well „in time". So whatever time is granted, in that period he has to be doing all his work and be completely satisfied with what he has done. But when you die, and you say in front of death, „Oh, if I could have lived a little longer", then you are not satisfied with what you have done all your life.
But if you have a feeling before you die that you have already fulfilled your karma, you have done everything you could do, now you are prepared to leave this body and go away, then when death comes you will not feel bad. You will say, „I was waiting for you, thank you very much that you came!"
I hope I will be able to say that when the time comes.
Easy thing is to every day see what you need to do and what is still remaining for you to do and then make your plan in such a way like you are going to die tomorrow. Don't think that you live for two hundred more years. But think that maybe it comes tomorrow. So tonight when I sleep I must keep everything in order and calm in such a way that if I am not here tomorrow morning nothing is hell because of me. There is no problem and I am not exclusively responsible for anything. For that you have to have an imaginary sense of life, like you imagine: I will live for hundred years. So divide your life in some parts and by the time you cross 70 you should finish almost three quarters of your task. By the time you are 75 you must finish all your work and then you should take the next step of leaving the world and being a wandering monk. Move around, don't stay in one place. When you live in one place you get attached to so many things, and that's why I change from one teaching to another teaching and from one country to another country so that I am not attached to anything. But I should not be allowed to be more than three days in one place.
Student: How can I fit this into my life?
Harish Johari: You can fit this into your life by first of all finding out what you have to do. First of all, „Do you have a wife?"
Harish Johari: And she i staken care off in every way so when you are not there she will have enough support?
Harish Johari: So that part is finished. And do you have children?
Harish Johari: Have you taken care that your children get proper education and they can live their life even when you are not around?
Harish Johari: So you have finished that part too. Now what are your personal ambitions for which you want to keep alive? If there is anything special start doing it and finish it. If there is not anything special then start chanting and doing some kind of spiritual work so that you can evolve in a different way. And then by new involvement you slowly and gradually come to a place where death will not bother you. And if you have nothing, no further plans, then you are only blessed by God. Then you don't have any ambitions left and you are free.
There are so many people who think, „If I could live only one more day, I could do this, I could do that for them"; there is no satisfaction, they have problems.
Fear of death is not fear of dying. It is fear of not being able to do what you want to do. So your desire to do what you want to do, when you are not allowed to do that what you want to do - you feel sad. And that dissatisfaction ist he problem that people don't want to die. But everybody knows at their heart of heart that they are not permanently to be living on this planet earth. Everything that takes birth one day dies. So everybody knows death is sure. But when? They dont know. „Sooner the better", they don't want to say, they say, „Later the better".
Every time they feel that death is coming they still feel they are not prepared. But if you believe in „sooner the better", then you will be always prepared for death.
So anyone whom you hate start loving, and then you will not be afraid.
Thanky you, Heidiji for providing these amazing thoughts for the public.