Can Death Be Hacked


chapter 4

Can Death Be Hacked

When the body is still strong, what is meant to be can always be transcended.


Cheating Death

The idea that death is a catastrophe that should be avoided at all costs has somehow set forth this quest to do all kinds of ridiculous kinds of things in the hope that we can cheat death or save someone from the jaws of death. People’s imaginations have been fired on this, in part because of many colourful tales from lore. These stories have created a lot of hope in people that death can probably be cheated. To some extent, this is also fuelled by the science fiction of stellar travel, where they put the body into some sort of a deep freeze or sleep mode and then wake up in another era altogether. But, fundamentally, by doing certain things you can postpone it, but you cannot cheat death; you cannot avoid death.

In India, there is a belief that if someone is on the deathbed, then you should chant the Mahamrutyunjaya Mantra or perform the Mrutyunjaya Homa , which will avert death. Mrutyumeans death, jaya means victory. So the mantra and homa are supposed to grant you victory over death. However, people have been doing the Mrutyunjaya Homa for thousands of years, but no one has survived through all those years! No one won mrutyu. It is a silly understanding that winning over mrutyu is to live forever physically. No one has succeeded in that till now. But one who is beyond the body has won over death.

I am not trying to dismiss the ritual completely. But how it is done, by whom it is done and how many have actually benefited from it is questionable. Definitely, to some extent, something could have happened, certain situations may have been averted. There is no question about that. But we should not interpret jaya as victory. Mrutyunjaya can mean that you have transcended the fear of death. If you transcend the fear of death, in a way, death does not matter. I have not looked at the ritual in detail, but in my understanding, probably in ancient times, they performed this to give one freedom from the fear of death. Somewhere along the way, advertisements and the commercial aspects of it took over, and they started saying you will never die if you do this.

About fifteen years ago, something like this came our way. A person in Coimbatore took his own horoscope to an astrologer for some purpose. Looking at the horoscope, the astrologer was taken aback and said, ‘This person is already dead, why did you bring this to me?’ The person was very disturbed by this, so he consulted a few more astrologers. They all said the same thing—the person whose horoscope this was supposed to be was dead. Finally, someone brought him to us.

Looking at this person’s energies, I pointed out the places in the Dhyanalinga where he should sit to strengthen those aspects of his energy system. He did that and went home. This is one of those rare horoscopes where someone clearly foresaw that he would die at this time. But due to his karma in this life or his sadhana or the way he lived his life or whatever, he had gone beyond that foreseen time of death. In some ways, he was a dead man alive. So I said, ‘Anyway, you crossed one line, let us cross one more,’ and asked him to sit in different places in the Dhyanalinga which we had marked for him. Without asking questions, he went and sat there. If he is alive and well today, it is his doing.

Recently, I came to know he is still alive and fine, and he has no clue as to how he survived. Now, this became a big thing, and people started asking, ‘Is it possible to avoid death by sitting in the Dhyanalinga?’ See, people die due to different reasons. And I am not talking about medical reasons. Let us say, two people are dying of the same illness—perhaps renal failure. But, energy-wise, they need not be dying of the same cause. They may be dying of two different energy causes—the energy may be exiting in two different ways.

Accomplished yogis sometimes do certain things to avert what would otherwise have been a moment of death for them. They do this by slowing down everything in the system and entering into samadhi states. They say this happened in the life of the Indian saint Shirdi Sai Baba. He was suffering from severe asthma, and one day he suffered a severe attack when it felt like he was going to die. So he decided to rid himself of the ailment entirely by going into samadhi. He told his disciples that there would be no sign of life in his body for some time and they should protect it for three days. If after three days there was no sign of him returning, then they should bury the body in a particular spot. That night he went into samadhi. Both his breathing and his pulse stopped. The next day, the villagers came and, being concerned that he was dead, wanted to at least properly bury him in the spot he had indicated. Fortunately, one of Sai Baba’s disciples did not budge and prevented them from doing so, placing his Master’s body on his lap all the while. Finally, after three days, Baba showed signs of life and became normal again. He lived for thirty-two years after that, because he managed to avert death at the appointed time by going into samadhi and recharging his pranic system.

In samadhi states, your sense of time is lost because it is only measured by the progress and the cycles of the physical. Let us say, you are sitting in an air-conditioned hall which is uniformly lit from morning to evening. The only reason you will know time is because of the weariness of the body. As the day progresses, your body keeps time. Every three or four hours, it will tell you that you have to go to the bathroom. It will tell you that you are thirsty. It will tell you that you are hungry. This is the only way you will know time. Without the cycles of the body, you don’t know time. So if you slow down the cycles of the body by going into samadhi, you may lose the sense of time, and, then, in your experience, there is no time. So what is ten years to other people may get reduced to one year because you made your cycles ten times slower.

So for the clock outside, you cheated it. But you did not cheat time because time is not in the clock. The clock is like your bladder. It keeps a count of things inside of you. It is not that the clock is generating time. Time is a completely different dimension altogether. Only because of the physical cycles, because the Earth spins, because the planet revolves around the sun, you are keeping time with those physical manifestations or physical expressions. But, actually, if there were no planets, there would still be time. Time is the platform for Creation to exist. Without it, Creation would not exist.

Now, if you slow down your metabolism, if you as much as breathe fewer number of times in a minute, you will live longer. You will not be deceiving time. It is just that you slow down the body and stretch that time. If you distance yourself from the body, you deceive time. Samadhi works like that. But if you deep-freeze the body, you will go through life without experiencing it. Let us say, you deep-froze the body for a hundred years and then woke up. You will not gain any life because you did not live for those hundred years. If you were living for these hundred years, it means something. You did not exist, but you just popped up after a hundred years—it is like a prisoner who served twenty years in jail and then came out. There is no real gain in that. When it is so easy to reproduce and have a new body, why do you want to preserve the old body? What is the point? This is all an Egyptian dream. You should see how those mummies are now—all dried rubbish.

Now, there are some other specific situations or programmes where we tell people, ‘Don’t worry, for the next few days or weeks, we will ensure that you will not die.’ Once it so happened that I was in the middle of a programme, and they brought in a brahmachari who had been bitten by a snake. I said, ‘He will not die just because a reptile bit him. That much life we have taken into our hands.’ And he survived. There have been some other situations like this; so, over time, some people started asking, ‘Sadhguru, can you cheat death?’

We are not cheating death. We are only making sure life happens, that is all! Right now, to stabilize my own system, I am using certain help from outside to do that in a certain way.  Similarly, in the advanced spiritual programmes at Isha, I act like a peg for everything else because everything else is connected to me at that moment. This is why we are so horribly finicky about every small thing during the programmes. We are finicky about where people sit, where they stand, when they come in, when they go out, and all that. If they get up for as much as going to the bathroom, we don’t let them, because if we don’t maintain the tightness of the atmosphere, we will not be able to be a peg that holds and supports. We want everything to happen in a certain way, because once the situation becomes loose, then managing it becomes almost impossible. When everyone is focused in one direction, it is easy to do what we have to do with them. When we did not have the necessary infrastructure and conducted these programmes in external premises, many big lumps of the size of lemons used to form on my spine. It used to stay for two or three days because that is the kind of strain the body was taking. Now that we have our own constructed places, at least one aspect of it is handled. It is so much easier to do these programmes in a place which is dedicated to it rather than doing it in a place where every day something new is happening.

Now, taking someone else’s life and death into our hands is very much a possibility. If you look at it that way, you can say each life has its own trajectory as to when it is born, how it lives, what it undergoes, how it dies, and so on. The essence of the spiritual process is getting them all into one trajectory, not with everyone going by their own trajectory. Especially in a programme, the basic thing is to get everyone into the same trajectory. If you have all of them focused in such a way that at that moment their lives become one trajectory, then it is easier to hold them. It is easier to ensure that life happens in a certain way for them. This is what we ensure in the programmes. If they are all flying in their own trajectories, you cannot be holding 500 people together. You cannot ensure these things.

This is not foolproof, but it is foolproof enough to take a chance. It is not absolute, but it is 99.9 per cent absolute. The rest depends on managing the situation. It is not just this; a lot more is being done. It is just that it will look like too much mumbo-jumbo if I talk about it.

Almost every day, at least a dozen photographs of people who are on their deathbed come to me. People want to know whether they will die or not, or if something can be done for their recovery, whether it is the right time for them, or if something can be done for them. It is dealt with without making too much drama about it. You could create a lot of drama about it and become like a superman. But I want to be able to go out and play golf anonymously. So it is better to be like this.

In an earlier section,  I narrated how one of our teachers went to the Himalayas and died. So if it is possible to avert or postpone death in some cases, could his death have been avoided? If you attempt such interventions, there are many things you will have to do. In today’s world, due to various cultural and attitudinal situations, people are not available to you in that dimension. Maybe people who are at the Yoga Center are available to some extent, and you could do something with them. But even they are not fully available. The worst part of this modern life is everything has to be explained. Life does not work like that. Tell me, how are you alive? With all your science, explain to me, what is keeping you alive right now? I will show you how many holes there are in your explanation.

Since you have to explain everything, there are so many things you cannot do with people. They will put everything under their limited logical lens and come to their own conclusions. You can intervene in some way only with a few people. The rest, you cannot touch, because without a logical explanation you cannot do anything. This is the nature of life today. Just telling him, ‘Don’t go,’ would not have worked.

So was it meant to be? Not necessarily. When the body is still strong, what is meant to be can always be transcended. Maybe I would have asked him to go on a long sadhana, but he would not have complied just because I asked him to. If I had told him to go into silence for forty-five days, he would have thought that he was being punished and maybe he would have slipped out of the back door and death could have happened in many other ways.

In today’s world, you cannot tell someone, ‘Just do this.’ You have to explain it to them, but it is not possible to explain these things, because, for one, it may not be logical; secondly, it is not so black and white. Even in your own perception, it is not like it is 100 per cent certain that this person is going to die. It looks like they will die. There are certain indications which say death is close, so I think they may die. But they may not die. You see a grey area, you see danger and you step back. That is about it. You cannot say, ‘This is it; it is definitely going to happen.’ There are some cases where you can say that, but those cases are rare. Life is not like that. There is a twilight zone always.

Now, why would a Guru or someone who is capable of intervening, intervene at all? If there are spiritual reasons, we will intervene. Or in some moments of compassion, we may intervene. But it is not good to intervene all the time because, after all, you are not avoiding death, you are only postponing it. When you do that, what comes next may not be as good as what has come now. So you need not always intervene. But, today, twenty-first-century morality is such that they will say, ‘You could have intervened, but you did not. That amounts to murder.’ Twenty-first-century people think they are all eternal people; they are not going to die. Till you print their obituary, they are not dead! People are in that state of denial about their mortality.

The Dance of Death

Being able to raise the dead is a deep fascination for most people. For them, that is the ultimate test of someone’s spiritual powers. Most people are living like the dead anyway because they are unconscious of many things within themselves. If people are living unconsciously, it is as good as death. So, in a way, the whole spiritual process is about raising the dead. In that sense, raising the dead is my work, but that is not what people are asking about. They are very interested in knowing if I can make a corpse come alive again. This is a very immature desire that stems from some historically famous incidents.

On my first trip to the United States, I happened to address a gathering where a staunchly religious man stood up and asked, ‘Can you raise the dead?’ I said, ‘Why would I do such a stupid thing?’ It is a stupid thing because the dead should remain dead, is it not? If all the dead came back, could we live here? Are we not glad that they are all dead? You are probably thinking of one person—your husband or your wife or your father or your mother or someone like that. But I am talking about all the billions who have died on this planet till now, including the dinosaurs. Only because they are dead, it is possible for us to live here. And what kind of a fool would bring back the dead? Only someone who has no sense of life at all and absolutely no perception of life would interfere with the life process and bring back the dead. Transforming yourself is one thing, meddling and fixing life around you is another thing. Life has a certain process much deeper than you can understand. So don’t cut it and meddle with it by doing silly things.

It once happened: it was the dream of an elderly couple in Texas to visit Jerusalem, the Holy Land. So they made the trip and relished every step that they took there. They took the road that Jesus walked with the cross and visited the place where he walked upon water and all that. Unfortunately, in all this excitement, the wife had a heart attack and died. Now, the local funeral director came and made an offer to the husband, ‘See, we can do all the rituals for your wife for just $6000. But if you want to transport her back to Texas, it will cost you $24,000, and we don’t know what the funeral charges in Texas are.’ The man thought about it and said, ‘No, I will take her back to Texas.’ They asked, ‘Why? This is the Holy Land, this is the best place to bury her, and it is cheaper too.’ He thought about it again and said, ‘No, I am taking her to Texas.’ They asked, ‘Why? It does not make sense. Why do you want to do this?’ The man replied, ‘In Texas, the dead stay dead.’

Historically, there have been many people who were declared dead, but they came alive after some time. Sometimes, they popped out by themselves from their coffins even during their funeral. So this is also one of the reasons why people are looking for some miracle to bring their dead back to life. But these were not cases of miracles or someone meddling with life but that of misdiagnosis. Today, defining death is a big challenge because science has learned that death is not an event but a process that could stop progressing or can even reverse itself due to various reasons. In fact, medically, they even have a term for it—they call it the Lazarus phenomenon, when someone who was declared dead comes back to life after some time, with no explanation.

In India, there have been many instances where someone died and they took the body to a yogi or someone like that and then the dead person was revived. But these too are not ‘revivals’ in the true sense. It is more like going to a doctor of a different kind. Mostly, these were deaths that were caused by snakebites. When one is bitten by a snake, the prana takes a much longer time to leave the body. In the meantime, if the effect of the venom wears out or if there is an external infusion of prana, then it is possible for the person to be revived. Doctors who work with snakebite deaths may have seen this: with certain kinds of snakebites, especially that of the cobra, or naga , family, when everything has been done and the victim has still not been revived, sometimes if you put them on a ventilator, after a while, they make a recovery, just like that.

I experienced something like this in my own life. I have been bitten by cobras at least five or six times in my life. Once, it almost killed me. I had picked up this cobra, but I did not notice that there were two of them entwined together. It was not the mating season, but for some reason, they were together and, when I picked one up, the other one fell on my foot and bit me four times. Its venom started to get me. It must have hit the bone the first few times, so it kept going until it hit the flesh and let the venom out. Once the venom enters your body, you experience a different kind of pain. It is not just the biting or the poking kind of pain. It is like an injection—when they pierce a needle, there is one kind of pain; when they inject the medicine, there is another kind of pain. So I put the cobra away and started to attend to the bite.

I knew, whatever happens, I should not fall asleep. This happened in a remote area where there were no people nearby. I had my bicycle with me, so I just took my cycle and went to the nearest house I could find. There was a lady there. I told her that a cobra had bitten me, so I needed lots of tea. She became hyper but was sensible enough to make me a pot of black tea. I drank it and managed to stay alert without falling asleep or losing consciousness. Later, I made it back home.

Initially, I thought I would tell my father because he was a doctor and he would take me to the hospital and do something. But then something in me said, ‘What the hell, let me see what will happen.’ I was feeling okay, but my eyelids were feeling a bit heavy. Moreover, I did not want to freak my parents out or bring undue attention to my activities. So I just sat down and practised a little bit of Yoga. I was not doing the Yoga to avert the poison, but I was feeling drowsy, so I did some Yoga. After that, I had an early dinner and went to bed. In the morning, I was a bit groggy, my eyelids swollen and heavy, but I had survived.

This may have happened because the cobra probably did not deliver a full dose of its venom, or maybe just staying awake and hanging on helped tide over its effects. There was no manipulation of life involved here. But, generally, when a cobra bites, there is a greater possibility for revival because the prana withdraws more slowly from the body than usual. However, until the point where Udana Vayu has withdrawn completely from the body, revival is a possibility, at least in principle. There are some Tantric processes to do this. But after Udana Vayu has left the body, there is absolutely no chance to revive someone.

Reviving the dead is not so big in the East, but the Tantric system in India was always big on making a corpse walk. Once the body has been shed, once the legs have fallen, you cannot walk. A dead man cannot walk, isn’t it? But that is not true. They can be made to walk. This is because, as we already saw, death happens slowly—the withdrawal of the life process happens step by step. When the lung, heart and brain activity stops, they declare you dead, but the life process is still continuing and you can rekindle that. It is by using this that tantriks make dead bodies walk. Sometimes, this is also done on corpses that are burning on the pyre.

I have not seen this personally but I know people, people who will not lie about such things, who have seen corpses that were burning on the pyre be made to get up and walk. This happens because, at that moment, when the burning begins from the outside, the life process retreats and it creates a concentrated space where life is happening more intensely at that moment. Some people are able to make use of that and rekindle the system in such a way that suddenly the corpse gets up and walks a few steps. For some time, it behaves as if it is alive and then falls dead when the life exhausts itself. This is possible because when the corpse is brought for cremation, there is still some life energy in it. It is not good enough to beat the heart, make the circulation happen, make the brains work and all that, but in the cellular level there is energy, lots of energy. When the fire touches it, it inflames that in a certain way. Now, by investing a certain amount of energy into the corpse, you will be able to get it to perform some action for some occult purposes—like, how your phone battery is dead but still you can make an SOS call.

All the Tantric and Aghori  practices have relevance only because of this phenomenon. Otherwise, what is the point of sitting on a dead body and doing all those things? If dead means completely dead, what is there to do with bones and flesh? They are not sitting on the body to revive it. They have no interest in reviving the body. They want to use this little spurt or energy to transport themselves into something. They are trying to extract that little life and use it. That is the basis of animal sacrifices. When sacrifices are not possible, they try to use a freshly dead body. This is not as if the dead person is being brought back to life, nor is it of much spiritual significance.

Now, in the West, some people have started a project where if you pay a huge sum of money, your body is cryogenically frozen and kept intact after your death. The hope is that in the future, when there is a technological breakthrough to restore your body, you can come back to life. This is absolute stupidity and immaturity.

Normally, after an injury or something like that, when a person goes into a deep state of unconsciousness, the body tries to escape the pain and suffering because it may not be strong enough to bear both the shock and the pain of it. It is a kind of defence mechanism that switches off everything. Such a person may recover, once the body is strong enough to sustain life. But in cases where life has completely left the body or the bodies are being artificially kept alive for many years in a coma, there is no person in the body. You are just keeping a heart and two kidneys and a few more organs alive. That is not really life as such. This is like when someone gives their kidney, that kidney is kept alive for a few hours somewhere else—not in anyone’s body, but outside. It is kept alive artificially. A coma state is very similar. Whether you keep a kidney or two kidneys plus heart, plus this and that, it is about the same. There is no person any more.

Technology is there to keep the body alive and, in the future, you may be able to revive it too. But your particular life coming and choosing the same body is far away. In other words, this someone taking up the same body after twenty-five years is just rubbish. If such a thing ever happens, it cannot be the same person. By accident, it could have happened that some other consciousness or disembodied being got into it. That is all. But it is such a great business idea. The pharaohs of Egypt spent the money needed for mummification then. But, even now, it is good business because you pay in advance, not on revival! Unfortunately, there is no benefit for the mummified one.

I doubt such a thing will ever happen, but something like this can happen in a different way. You may have heard of yogis leaving their bodies, going somewhere and returning to take it on. Sometimes, it so happens that before he comes back, another yogi takes on the body and goes away. It is like you park your motorcycle and go somewhere; meanwhile, someone else picks it up and leaves! Such things may happen, but the chances are very remote.


The Eastern and Native American cultures were big on transmigration—the process of someone taking on the body of another person, usually a freshly dead person. In India, it is called Parakaya Pravesha —entering another body. It is considered one of the Ashtasiddhi s, or the eight great capabilities for a yogi. There are many instances of transmigration in Indian lore. One famous instance is that of Adi Shankara.

In ancient India, there were neither heretics nor the persecution of people for their personal beliefs. Whenever people had something new to propagate, they would debate with those holding opposing views. During his time, Adi Shankara was a formidable debater. His sense of logic was astute. You don’t argue with a man like that. But once a famous religious scholar challenged Adi Shankara to a debate and lost. Then that man’s wife manoeuvred herself into the argument. You know how women are, they are fiercely protective of those dear to them. She said, ‘You defeated my husband, but he is not whole. We are two halves of the same thing. So you must debate with me also.’ How can you beat this logic?

So the debate started with the woman. Then she saw she was losing. So she started asking him questions about human sexuality. Nevertheless, Shankara continued to debate with her. Then she went into more details and then she challenged, ‘What do you know by experience?’ This was a trap because Shankara was a brahmachari. He realized that this was a trick to defeat him. He said, ‘I need a month’s break. We will pause the debate here and resume after a month.’ He then went into a secluded cave. He told his disciples, ‘No matter what happens, don’t allow anyone into this cave because I am going to leave my body and look for another possibility for some time.’

It so happened that a king was bitten by a cobra and had just died. Normally, when someone dies, from the moment the breath stops, it takes about an hour and a half for the Prana Vayu to exit completely. The other pranas will be still present and exiting slowly, but the Prana Vayu will have exited completely by then. But when the cause of the death is a cobra bite, this takes up to four-and-a-half hours. So, in many ways, this is an ideal condition for one who wants to enter that body.

Shankara left his own body to take the king’s body. He left behind his vyana in the system because his body needed to be maintained for him to be able to come back. He took the king’s body to answer the woman’s questions experientially. So he went through that process. When some wise people around the king saw that a man whom they had declared dead had suddenly sat up and was full of energy, they became suspicious. They could recognize by his behaviour that it was not the same person. It was clear to them that there was someone else in the same body. They sent soldiers all over the kingdom to look out for dead bodies and burn them immediately. Their intention was that now since the king had come back alive, he should not leave and go back. So what if he was a different guy? He looked the same. And it was very important for the kingdom to have its king. So the soldiers were sent everywhere to find and burn all the dead bodies.

The soldiers managed to locate Shankara’s body in the cave and wanted to burn it. His disciples tried to mislead them saying that their Guru was not dead, but in shavasana and would wake up soon. Suspecting fraud, the soldiers built a pyre in the cave itself and placed Shankara’s body on it. Just as they were about to light the pyre, sensing this situation, Shankara relinquished the king’s body and returned to his own. The king dropped dead once again and Shankara returned and went on to win the debate he had left midway.

A person who does this kind of circus with his energies usually does not live long after that, because all this expends a tremendous amount of energy. It is said that Shankara left his body shortly after this incident, at the age of thirty-two. Actually, no one knows how or where he left his body. He was last seen in Kedarnath. This incident may have accelerated his departure.

There is another famous incident involving a yogi who was later known as Thirumoolar in Tamil Nadu. His original name was Sundaranathar. He was from southern Tamil Nadu and travelled to Mount Kailash. It is said that he was initiated there by Shiva himself. After spending many years at Mount Kailash, he returned south to meet his contemporary sage friend Agastya Muni, who had settled in Tamil Nadu. While passing through a forest on his way back, he saw a herd of cows crying. Their cowherd had just died of a snakebite. Moved by the sorrow of the cows, he decided to take the dead cowherd’s body for some time and console the cows. He left his body inside the hollow of a tree and entered the body of the cowherd.

The cows became happy and he herded them back to the village. He then came back to the tree to retrieve and re-enter his own body. But to his surprise, his body was not to be found anywhere. So he continued to live in the body of the cowherd. People in the village were very surprised to see that their simple cowherd now espoused spiritual teachings and composed many spiritual hymns. His name was Moolar, so, out of respect, they began calling him Thirumoolar (Thiru is a Tamil honorific), and he became known by that name. Over 3000 spiritual compositions are attributed to Thirumoolar and they are sung even today.

Are such things possible? Very much possible. There are many more examples of transmigration in India. Is it a feat? Not really. All it takes is a little bit of an understanding of the mechanics of how life happens within you. Now, if one wants to enter the body of someone who is alive, it would take a lot more. Either the person whose body you enter into must also be accomplished enough that they can make space for the other person, or they must be extremely weakened because of disease or something and it is like they are halfway gone. If it is a full-blooded body and there is no awareness of anything, then it is not possible.

All this is occult. It is not of spiritual significance, really. It is also one way of sometimes proving to yourself or to others that such things can be done. Or sometimes these things are done to do something that you do not want to do in your own body. The reasons can vary. Sadhguru Sri Brahma also did something like this towards the end of his life, in a desperate attempt to fulfil his Guru’s dream. 

Seeking Immortality

Immortality has always been a fancy pursuit of the affluent. When people became affluent, they felt they had everything, but still, life had not happened to them. So they wanted to hang on. Immortality has also been the quest of miserable people in the world. It is a misunderstanding that people who are joyful, people who live their lives really well, are unwilling to die and they seek immortality. If joy becomes your companion, other things may have no place in your life. If you notice, when you are joyous, you are not greedy any more. You are very generous. You will give away anything at that moment. It is only when you are miserable, you are very greedy. Happy people are loosely attached to life. They are willing to drop off at any time. People always think that miserable people want to die. It is not so. Miserable people cling to life more than anyone else. The more miserable they are, the more they cling to everything around them. Even if they live for a hundred years, they will cling a little more and a little more because they have never really lived. All the time, they were so immersed in their own misery that they never had any time to live.

A happy person does not cling to anyone. When a person is blissful with their life, they are not bothered whether they are going to be reborn or not. They are not even bothered whether they are going to be alive or dead tomorrow. They are so blissful. When you are really happy, you don’t need anyone. You don’t need your wife, you don’t need your husband and you don’t need your God. When you are very happy, all gods are forgotten. God is the creation of miserable people. Because there are lots of miserable people in the world, God has thrived. If the world was full of blissful beings, God would disappear. If all of us are truly happy, God has no business in this world. We can handle ourselves. We need God only because we have created so much of misery within ourselves and above all such a fear of suffering.

When you become really happy, happy beyond words, when your joyousness transcends all limitations, you are ready to die. You feel, ‘This is it; I am willing to dissolve myself and go now.’ Joy prepares you for death. A man who is ready to simply die when everything is well is a man who has seen life. Lovers who have tasted the joy of togetherness, even for a short while, are willing to die. Have you not seen this? A miserable man is not ready to die because he has been a miser about living. He never lived, so he thinks that if he gets one more year, he will live better. Most people are like this.

In the past, every king, every powerful person on the planet always sought to somehow become immortal. But, in reality, if you really want to curse someone, don’t wish them death; wish them an endless life. That would be the worst curse for anyone. If someone lives by sadhana, and through sadhana, he or she extends their life, then it is different. This is not stretching life forcefully; on the contrary, you are providing life with the necessary support to fledge itself out further. In Yoga, we have always been saying humans can live up to 160 years. But rarely in recent times have we seen anyone living up to that age.

On average, global life expectancy has gone up significantly. This is largely because of the medical care and all the supplements that people routinely take. It is causing other problems, but it is giving an extension of life. Many organs are rejuvenated because of the battery of minerals and nutrients one takes. Now, they say, if we somehow survive for another fifty years, we can live for 500 years because, by then, technology would have advanced so much that we can culture a new heart and a new liver and a new kidney in a laboratory and refit ourselves with everything new.

Some people were telling me how they are going to live for 400 years. They have made plans. They are making contracts with laboratories, with doctors, as to when they will replace which organ, whether it is still working or not working. They have already decided this by looking at one’s genetic predisposition and other biological markers. They have already decided that at the age of eighty they will replace their heart, at the age of eighty-five they will replace their kidneys and all the bones and joints, and so on. These are the kind of plans they have made to live for 400 years. Such people will suffer immensely for this.

Extending the life of the body may become possible, but unless you have sadhana in your life and a certain level of mastery over your system, you will not have a mind if you live that long. You will live like a zombie. Without the needed sadhana, if you stretch the body, the mind will cop out. You will find many people with still-sturdy bodies but their mind gone because they have run out of their Prarabdha Karma. It is like you have the hardware but you have run out of the software required to run it. They are unable to open up the next dimension of memory because they have no sadhana. That just leaves an empty screen.

Wanting to live long is not a problem. But this thinking of forcefully increasing the lifespan arises from a certain arrogance against life which I don’t like. This happened in the year 2050: A few scientists made an appointment with God. They met him and said, ‘Hey, old man, you have done pretty well with the Creation; but everything that you have done, we can also do now. So we think it is time you retire.’ Then God said, ‘Oh, is that so? What is it that you can do?’ They said, ‘Just watch this.’ They pulled out their test tubes and conical flasks and all that. They took some soil and mixed various things with it and produced a live baby and it started crying. ‘See, here it is. We can make life. So where is the need for you? You can retire.’ To this, God said, ‘That is great, but first get your own soil.’

If you want to work on the extension of the life of your body, you need to do it with the right kind of sadhana, not with outside fixing. If you do the right kind of sadhana, when the body is stretched, along with it, the Prarabdha Karma will also open up. It will open up other dimensions of karmic substance, and there will be substance to keep this going. If there is no substance for the being, but there is substance for the body, you will become like a ghost. At least, a ghost does not occupy space and does not eat food. You will eat food and occupy space, but you will live like a ghost. If you do sadhana and live for 400 years, then you would be of tremendous value to the world. You will be of value not just because you will live long and have immense wisdom, but because of who you are and what you have become. Because of the sheer maturity of life, it will organize itself in that way in your body. Your ‘being’, or what you are, will float around effortlessly like a bubble.

In terms of sadhana, Hatha Yoga is very important because you need a good physical base. Moreover, if you are in such a state within yourself that when you close your eyes, you have no sense of time, then time is deceived by you. If the cellular aliveness is kept up in a youthful manner, the body can last because it can rejuvenate itself. Most importantly, if you are burning your karma strong enough, new levels will naturally open up. Without sadhana, you have no way of digging deeper into the larger karmic substance or what you call Sanchita Karma. Such a person will not be able to sustain life-extension.

Also, your experience of life will not be enhanced in any way just because you live for a greater number of years. A reasonable number of years, yes, but simply extending years is not going to make your life any greater, in your experience. If you just say,
‘I am 150 years old,’ others may be impressed, but in your experience, what is the difference? You must decide if, for you, life is an account book or a phenomenon. If it is an account book, numbers matter. If it is a phenomenon of experience, then numbers don’t matter.

Seeking the Next Dimensions

People ask this question: If my life is going well, why not continue this endlessly? What is wrong with this? Why seek something else? Now, it is not because we are suffering this that we want to move on. The very nature of the being is such that it wants to go to the next dimension or to the ultimate dimension.

It is like this: after you were born, you learned to walk. It was the most exciting thing. And then you grew up, then you got married, you made money, you produced children and you died. And again you were born, again you were excited about standing up and you were also excited about riding a bicycle and again you met your boyfriend and you were very happy and then you were disappointed and again you got married. This is happening again and again. Suppose you actually realize this, not because someone told you, but because you actually saw that you have done this a thousand times over and still are going through the same process again and again. Would you want to go through it again?

About people’s lives going well: people think if they are married, if they have a house and children and if they have tons of money in the bank, they are living well. That is not so. Living well means that you have grasped all aspects of life. If you have grasped everything that is there to know about life, then you have broken through the bubbles of memory in which you are storing these different things. If it all bursts out in you, you would definitely like to move on to the next dimension. Once one realizes one is repeating the same thing, they will suffer. They will want to move on to the next dimension.

Or look at it this way—suppose we make you watch your favourite movie over and over again. Seven times a day, every day, for the next one month. After all, it is a wonderful movie and you like it the most. You will be coming out with tears in your eyes when you watch it the first five times or ten times. Then unless you are totally gone, you will see, it is just a play of light and sound. Once there is no involvement from you, you will simply sit back and look at it. Suppose, in addition to this, I also took you to the projector room and it really sinks into you that the whole goddamn thing is just two wheels and a light bulb tricking you, churning up all these emotions and making you believe all this. You may still enjoy a movie, but you will not be involved any more.

The longing to move on to the next dimension becomes urgent, especially if you look back and realize you have been in the same movie for a long time. This dimension is about ‘this’ and ‘that’. In your present state of mind, ‘this and that’ or ‘that and that’ is interesting right now. But the next dimension is just ‘this and this and only this’. What is seemingly many, will turn out to be One. This may not seem to be interesting to you right now because you can think, feel, understand and project only from the dimension in which you exist. But that is how it is. The sooner you realize that you have been in the same dimension, the more you will long for what is beyond that. Until then, it will seem uninteresting to you.





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