Are There Choices About Death?

Is there any choice in death? Is it in our hands how and when we die? Sadhguru explains what it takes to drop the physical body consciously, and gives us a process as a first step towards this.
Are There Choices About Death?

Death is considered a great mystery. Quacks, philosophers, doctors and poets have taken a “stab” at explaining it, but death has remained unknown and unknowable – a seemingly compulsory destination for everyone. Only a mystic, who consciously straddles the line between life and death, can explain what it takes to transcend both, and give us a process as a first step towards this.

Sadhguru: You need to understand this: everything that you can experience is life. What you call as death also is life. So, are there choices about death? There are definitely. What you are referring to as death is just the last moment of life. That final moment when you transcend the limitations of your physical body happens only once in your lifetime. Almost everything in your life may happen many times over. But this one thing happens only once in your lifetime and it's the last thing that you do. I want you to understand death as life, not something else. This is the last act of your life. Is it not very important that you choose to make it happen gracefully and wonderfully? If you are fearful of it, if you are ignorant of the ways of life and you create resistance towards it, naturally you will miss that possibility.

People on the spiritual path choose the time, date and place of their death. The yogi always wants to know the time and date of death ahead of time. He fixes it. Many years ahead he says, “On this date, at this time I will leave,” and he leaves, because he has created the necessary awareness within himself to leave consciously. Leaving this body consciously without damaging this body, like you take off your clothes and walk away, you take off your body and walk away, if you can do that, that is the ultimate possibility in your life. If your awareness has grown to such a point that you know where you as a being and this physical body which you gathered are connected, then you can disentangle yourself whenever the moment is right for you.

If you want to exercise this choice, a certain amount of preparation is needed. You cannot waste life and try to make use of death.

Is this suicide? Definitely not. Suicide happens out of frustration, out of anger, out of fear, out of inability to bear with suffering. This is neither suicide nor euthanasia. This is about being so aware that you know when life has completed its cycle, and you walk out of it. And this is not death either. This is known as samadhi, where a human being has developed sufficient awareness within himself to separate himself from the physicality that he has gathered. In that level of awareness, one can leave. If you do not attain such a level of awareness, at least you can make that last moment very graceful, pleasant, joyful and blissful for yourself if you manage certain things.

If you want to exercise this choice, a certain amount of preparation is needed. You cannot waste life and try to make use of death. If you maintain a certain level of awareness right through your life, the moment of passing also can happen in awareness. You live a life of unawareness and you expect that moment to be aware, such things don’t happen to people.

Just practice this tonight, the last moment of passing – I call it passing because you are passing off from wakefulness to sleep that last moment – maintain your awareness and see. It will change your life phenomenally. Just use this as a method every day. Go at it with total perseverance. You will see in a few days, you will get there where the final moment, you are aware. Suddenly, everything about your life, the fundamental quality of your life will change just by doing this one simple thing. If you manage to move from wakefulness to sleep in awareness, this last moment of passing from life to death will happen absolutely gracefully for you. There are other methods also.

In India, traditionally people choose not to die with their loved ones, because if you die among your family, so many emotions will come. Naturally you will try to cling to life. You will not allow it to happen gracefully. So people travel to faraway places which are considered spiritually vibrant and they want to shed their body in that space. Even today, people still do this. This may be completely unthinkable in the West because people there want to die in the comfort of their family. That is not a wise thing. It is truly wise for a person to choose a space which is spiritually conducive, which is vibrant in a certain way and to leave with as much grace as possible. If you have lived your life with grace, it becomes extremely important that you die with grace.

Editor's Note: This article is based on an excerpt from Isha’s monthly English magazine, Forest Flower. Twenty-three issues of Forest Flower from the years 2011 and 2012 are available for download. Pay what you want and download. (set ‘0’ for free). Print subscriptions are also available.

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4 years 5 months ago

So, in fact sleeping is similar in experience as death?

"If you manage to move from wakefulness to sleep in awareness, this last
moment of passing from life to death will happen absolutely gracefully
for you. There are other methods also."

7 years 2 months ago

After reading this, it has made me understand that perhaps one of the ways to be able to prepare for death is by looking at it as a part of life and by being achieving a higher level of consciousness.

7 years 2 months ago

Thx sadhguru

7 years 2 months ago

We plan everything. planning to live, getting married, careers etc etc . .. However, no one plans to die or leave in awareness as they say on the spiritual path. For most of us religion dictates that we leave it to God. But this is certainly a new concept that can challenge established norms. Planning to leave in can change the very concept of life.
My humble pranams

7 years 2 months ago

Oh! I will prefer to die at IYC! Where else I will get such conducive atmosphere? Pranams!

6 years 10 months ago

That is a good idea but what if all of us think in the same way.....................

7 years 2 months ago

"Shambho"..........!!! all I got to say!

6 years 8 months ago

After reading the article about death, I am eager to share the experience of my mother in laws departure. She passed way so grace fully, exactly the Sadguru has mmentioned in the article ! My mother in law was a very kind, hard working and independent woman ! After loosing her husband, she always wanted to take her last breath in the village and the same very room that her husband passed away ! Since then, she has been practicing and praying to the god that make sure her last breath should be graceful at her husband place ! Even when she used to visit her children in different district she wouldn't like to stay there for long periods of time ! In thought of passing her body in her husband place. If any of her children tried to keep her for long periods of time, she would get angry. She was a devotee of Sree Kishna and Maa Kali. And maintained all kind of rituals that she believed in ! Though, she lived alone in her place. One day, as usual her daily routine in the morning, she took bath and performed puja.After performing puja, she wasn't feeling well and understood right way that her time has come! She quickly shouted out by a name of a distance relative -come neighbor; to phone her all the children that she is leaving this world and to help her to prepare for her last breath ! I wounder, how graceful passing, that she must had done very good deed ! Well, since she knows that, she going to die one day, a head of time she has bought all the necessary things that she needs while her passing time ! Now that the time has come, as she ordered what to do to the lady who is helping her. And the lady followed as she were told. While she is passing she even told the lady, that what are the possession and who to give what! She was talking as if she is a normal person while taking her last breath ! And at last she started to chant the name of the god or jap montra.... And took the final breath. How wonderful passing! God bless her sole !

7 years 2 months ago

Can we open a hospice here at III or at the India Ashram.

6 years 6 months ago

Death is the walk through, and beyond, the limits of human perception. When all five senses fail, when the body is still, not able to use its intellect to rationalize its way out of the state it is in, stillness happens. Death happens. It is neither good nor bad. It is simply an event where consciousness transcends the five senses. Interestingly, it is the five senses that lead to greater awareness of what is beyond them. The more one works on developing the deeper attributes to the five senses in life, the easier the transcendence in death. And easier it is for the consciousness to shift to a different dimension as it moves toward death. Consciousness exists in life as it does in and through death. The factor that is displaced is its ability to identify with a coordinate in time and space with the loss of perception through the five senses. In life, greater awareness of the self leads to a greater ability to detach from what is sensory, and yet appreciate its relevance.

7 years 2 months ago

One thing that I don't understand is about the physical samadhi built after the person leaves the body. For instance after Ramana Maharishi left the body what really ties the energy to the physical place where the samadhi was built. How is that place filled with energy when the physical body has decayed?
Does the subtle body or bliss body stay at the same location?
Bliss body is not bound by space and time right?

6 years ago

Reality of the human life is in such a away as explained by our Sadguruji, many of the people do no like the word of Death itself. At least in the fag end of one's life his or her wards and relations may avoid harassment towards such elderly people.

7 years 2 months ago

What about those whose life is taken by tragedy, like a serious car accident. Was it planned.

6 years ago

Touched Sadhguru.
Jai Gurudev!

7 years 2 months ago

So profound Sadhguru

6 years ago

Very enlightening article! Nowadays there are a lot of suicides
among people of all age groups. They even to the extent of poisoning a whole family.The spiritual leaders and the Government should join hands to create awareness among people that suicide is a very wrong act for the soul.

7 years 2 months ago

A small man can do the big act of challenging the death: the fear of death goes away. I've developed it into a short story.That incidentally is my recent blog post. The caption is "

कबूतरों के साथ : Among Dear Little Doves"

It's both in English and Hindi. You may like to read either of it at


A N Nanda


5 years 10 months ago

u spelt soul wrong..

7 years 2 months ago

Sadhguru did mention that every object in this world has memory. Hence the environment, the place, the rock etc stores the information and energy after the physical body leaves, mainly if the body or energy has been through some spiritual processes. Hence he says he is able to tap into the information if he touches even a rock.

Swami vivekanand or Shirdi sai mentioned that you can sill find them if you go visit those place with bhakti are spiritual awareness as they are still present in those sacred places where they spent their lives. That's why people still visit such sacred places. But sadhguru did mention not every one can leave such a presence, only some do and that to up to a certain point of time.

5 years 3 months ago

Namaskaram Sadhguru there is a old telugu saying that ," Bhoomi midha Nookalu chellayi", aren't these quotes magic :-)

7 years 2 months ago

Dear Cheri,

Accidents or Tragedy may or may not be planned, But........

The soul of a person who has lived in total awareness all through the life is aware of the last moment also. Because, awareness is not momentary, it is TOTAL.

Pranams Sadhguru