We all know that death is a certainty. But is the process of dying similar for everyone?
There are three classes of entities - God and His avatars, God-realized saints, and bound-by-Maya people like us. Common to all three is the fact that all leave the world.
Let us examine each category. We know that God and His avatars manifest from time to time for doing Their work. Sri Krishna, Lord Rama, Narasimha, Buddha, and Parasuram are only a few manifestations of God and His avatars. For instance, Lord Rama; He manifested in the Treta Yuga for 11,000 years.
Who decides the lifespan of a person? In our cases, our karmas and God's decision determines it.
This decides how long we will live in this birth, and no one can extend it or reduce it by one moment. In God's case? Since there is no one above God to sit in judgment, He decides it Himself. When God manifested as Lord Rama, He stayed in this mortal plane for 11,000 years and carried out His pastimes.
What happened when God's 11,000 years were up? Did Yama, the lord of death, force Him to leave? Force? This is God we are talking about. Even the mighty Yama trembles, shivers and quakes, at the thought of God. Yet, Yama is a humble servant of God, and it is the dharma of a servant to discharge his duties faithfully. At the end of 11,000 years, Yama respectfully approached God - Sire! I am Your worthless servant, and I am here to remind You of Your decision to end this avatar in 11,000 years. The time has come; whether it pleases You to stay or leave is none of my business; my job is to remind You.
What happens to God-realized saints? There are two types of saints: the first are those who were not Maya-bound at birth. They were in God's abode, God wanted them to do something in the world, and so He sent them as
special representatives. Maya did not compel them to be born; they did so at God's pleasure and command. With them, God decides their lifespans. The second were those in Maya's bondage when they were born, but because of whatever reasons realized God in their lifetimes. In the second case, while the machine that produces future karmas is destroyed forever, their present lives are still influenced by their past karmas. Their lifespans were already set at birth, before they attained God.
Both are God-realized saints, though. Both get special treatment when their times are up. As with God, Yama comes personally to them and bows before them.
Their station in the spiritual world is far, far superior to Yama. As with God, Yama reminds them but cannot force them to go. But they all go. Why do they go, you may ask? Aren't they tempted to stay for a while longer?
They feel no such temptation, and there are two reasons - first, it is not as if they are attached to the messy world and its inhabitants. God's abode awaits them on their departure. Why should they cling to the material world?
Second, who decided their lifespans? In the first case, God Himself. Because the saint is already in God's abode, he has no past karmas to serve as a guideline. So, God draws up the plan of action personally and sends the saint to earth. In the second case, too, it was God who decided their fates. All right, God uses our past karmas and perhaps some fancy algorithm to determine our fate for this birth. The fact remains, the algorithm, keeping a record of our karmas, giving judgment, all these are God's handiwork. So, why will the saint, who is God's sincere and humble servant, defy his master's decision? It makes little sense.
Let us examine the third category - us, certified bound-by-Maya folks. We have two options available to us. The first is - do what we have done in our countless lives so far, making merry without a thought for the morrow. If we continue doing this, the end is too terrible to contemplate. Yama will not come personally to drag us away; his lowly servants are enough for this job. The pain of death is insufferable, don't take it lightly.
There is a second option - follow the guru's instructions, be 'good boys,' worship God, and attain Him in this lifetime.
The choice is ours.
Note: If you have any spiritual queries, feel free to ask. Devi Ji may answer your query as a blog post here. Send your query to,
You may also like: