Thakar Singh on Bodily Death and the Eternal Soul

April 7, 1979, Kensington, California

Disciple: Should we think very much about death? Is there anything we can do to prepare ourselves?

Thakar Singh: Scientists may have some control over birth, but they have no real control of death. Death is always certain. So we must be vigilant and wind everything up before sunset. We are sure the sun will go down in five hours or six hours, but we never know if death will come in two hours or three years or four years. It may be instantaneous. Whatever work we have to do, we should do now. Worldly things can never be completely settled, but spiritual affairs should be taken care of and spiritual connections should be kept strong. We should devote regular time to our spiritual practices and we should keep our connection with Him [God] through Simran and remembrance of Him twenty-four hours a day.

We remain connected with the world so easily, so faithfully. Even in our meditations when we do not want to think of the world, the thought is always there embedded in us. In our sleep we dream of the world. We are filled with the world; it comes out of every pore of our body, not to mention mind and intellect. But similarly we can develop our remembrance of Master and our connections with God until they are so strong that there will be no world; there will be only God in us, only Master in us.

In the Adi Granth it is written, “I now have such strong connections with God that He is fixed in me all twenty-four hours of the day and if I want to release myself from Him, it is not possible. He is so embedded in me that I cannot do anything without Him.” Just as we are now so connected with the world, we can become equally connected with God. Then whenever death may come, we will go to God. If we remain connected with the world, then whenever death comes we will go to the world. “As you think, so you become.”

A person’s desires are usually the cause of the next birth because God’s way of working is to fulfill His children’s desires. “What my dear son wants, the same shall be given to him in some suitable form.” The Saint Namdev enumerates in the Adi Granth many conditions of mind that will lead to certain future incarnations so that God can fulfill His son’s desires. Then Namdev writes: “If somebody has a desire for God, or just the memory of God in him, at the last moment the Master will appear. And He will be so beautiful, so charming, and so attractive that the dying man will have attention only for the Master. All other interests and desires will be washed away, and then he will go with the Master.”

Worldly people will go to those things and places which attract them, but he who remembers Master, or God, at the last moment will surely go to God. He will be with God and he will want nothing else. So death is very important in our lives and we should live only to conquer death; if we conquer it we will not feel its pinch, its terror. We must tackle the problem of freeing ourselves from the circle of birth and death because birth is terrible and death is terrible and remaining in this world is also very painful and difficult. We must work to reach a place where we will be forever free from these three difficult processes.

Saint Kabir said that anybody who is in the body can never be peaceful. He meant that the body is never peaceful because it is subject to so many changes, both inside and outside. Inside we may feel hungry or thirsty or tired or sick, and we may find the outside environment too hot or cold, too dark or too bright. All these things keep changing and changing unexpectedly and forcibly; they are thrust upon us and we cannot escape from them.

Only when we come out of the body can we be free from the pressures of our internal and external environments. And even after leaving our physical bodies we find we cannot enjoy our astral and mental bodies nor can we enjoy the heavens because they are also hells. Only as soul can we find peace and enjoyment.

We can enjoy as soul because soul is not subject to change. It is perfect in itself and does not depend on any outer help. It doesn’t need air, it doesn’t need water, it doesn’t need food or houses or clothes or anything else we now need. It does not suffer from pain or disease. It is in itself complete enjoyment, the best kind of enjoyment. We enjoy eating good food, seeing good scenes, hearing, tasting, or digesting outer things. But soul enjoys its own beauty and glory, the music, taste, and elixir which it possesses within itself. Soul is complete in itself and can therefore enjoy itself without any outer help. Lord Christ said, “Be ye complete even as your Father in heaven is complete,” and it is only as soul that we can ever experience this kind of completeness.

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