default image for post
Death – the body’s final destination
August 16, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

At Varanasi which is considered by millions of Hindus to be the holiest of all cities, Richard was affected by people mourning in a funeral procession. He later decided to sit on the banks of Manikarnika burning ghat, a place where dead bodies are burnt. He sat from sunrise to sunset contemplating on the mystery of death and prayed to get a deeper insight into this inevitable reality of our lives.

Richard observed that the dead body was placed on a pyre of wooden logs, and the closest relative of the deceased touched a flaming torch to the pyre. Richard carefully observed the hair sizzling into nothingness. The flesh shriveled away, organs melted and bones crumbled. Gradually the entire body was devoured by the flames and only a pile of ashes remained that were then carefully swept into the current of Mother Ganges. He felt the sweet song of Mother Ganges was inviting him to an eternal reality, beyond this world of death.

Realizing the inevitability of death sobers us up. It’s simply a matter of time before all the wealth and fame we seek is washed away by the force of time. The body goes through six stages- creation, growth, maintenance, producing offspring, dwindling and finally death. Still we hope to live on forever; a glimmer of eternity is felt somewhere deep within and a life devoid of decadence is desired. This hope is natural because the real ‘I’ or the ‘soul’ doesn’t die with the end of this body.

Radhanath Swami often repeats his guru’s lucid thinking and logical presentation on the subject of soul. Just as a vehicle needs a driver to maneuver the machine, similarly within the body resides a ‘driver’, a spiritual spark animating the bodily automobile with consciousness. Symptoms of walking, talking, sitting, and feeling reveal the working of this spiritual energy, in an otherwise lifeless lump of flesh. When questioned ‘who are you?’ we often introduce ourselves with a name or by identifying with a religious sect, family or Nation. However if we change our name, faith or citizenship do we actually become a different person? No! We remain the same person as we continue to think, feel and will with changing designations of the body. We can easily point to our hand, legs, face or even our own body. But if ‘I’ owns ‘my body’, a logical question arises, ‘who really am I?’ Just as ‘my watch’ or ‘my book’ implies my existence separate from the watch or the book, likewise ‘my body’ implies my eternal state of existence separate from the transient body.

Richard got a realization of the soul watching and meditating on the burning dead bodies:

“It’s not the body that people love, but the soul. The body is a temporary vehicle. Without the soul, the body is like a car without a driver. I see through my eyes, smell through my nose, taste through my tongue, hear through my ears, feel through my skin, think through my brain, and love through my heart. But who am I? Who is the witness, enjoyer, and sufferer that activates my body?”

Radhanath Swami explains that we are presently attracted by the layer of bodily covering. This superficial attraction to the body is called maya or illusion. Spiritual reality is to go beyond the body and seek a relationship at a deeper level. “Relations of the soul, established in relation with the Supreme Soul, are factual relations”, reveals Radhanath Swami, “the skin relation is the cause of material bondage, but the relation of the soul is the cause of freedom. This relation of the soul to the soul can be established by the medium of our relation with God.”

A spiritualist ignores neither his body nor the bodies of his loved ones. He simply practices and encourages others to render devotion to God, while doing the needful for the body; the body is after all a vehicle to help us go to God.  Radhanath Swami aptly puts it, “If you really love a person, will you not care for his or her soul? And if you love the soul, would you ignore the body? ”

Related Posts:



137 Comments


  1. In this passage Radhanath Swami nicely points out how the point is of any value to us due to the existence of the soul. It also makes us thinking on what should be approach our approach towards our body and towards the soul.

    View Comment
  2. very nice. We need to be in association of people who are trying to realize themselves and who are above the bodily platform. Radhanath Swami maharaj is great, thank you very much for this article.

    View Comment
  3. Wonderfully explained by Radhanath Swami Maharaj what is true relationship and how it can be established.

    View Comment
  4. Sheetal Maheshwari

    often people argue on the existence of the soul. Here Radhanath Swami has explained the eternal soul with such a simple practicle example. If everything belongs to me then who am I ?

    View Comment
  5. Here Radhanath Swami explains very lucidly the most fundamental fact on which the Gita and all spiritual life is based – We are not the body but spirit soul.

    View Comment
  6. The painful reality of the nature of soul and death was explained very lucidly by Maharaj. We often forget this and continue our own pursuit of happiness. Meditating on the instructions of Maharaj will bring us in knowledge and bring enlightenment. Thanks for this very wonderful meditation.

    View Comment
  7. who am I? is answered in this article

    View Comment
  8. The teachings of Radhanath Swami are so clear and convincing

    View Comment
  9. Herein, vivid descriptions are given, which we haven’t heard in any other place across the world.

    View Comment
  10. Radhanath Swami is practical to the core when it comes to practicing Bhakti-yoga. There is indeed no need to undergo severe bodily austerities in order to develop love of God. Like he says, one simply needs to render devotional service to God & His devotees while taking care of the basic necessities of the materila body.

    View Comment
  11. radhanath swami is showing us by his example that how we should determine to serch for god and to search for god we need a bonofide guru who can show us proper way to love lord.Thank u Radhanath swami.

    View Comment
  12. Guru Maharaj is reminding us of the inevitable which we conveniently wish to ignore / forget. If we truly love someone (including our own selves) we must help that soul go back home back to Godhead.

    THANKYOU Maharaj, we need to be reminded of this examination called ‘death’ every moment of our lives.

    View Comment
  13. wonderful article!!

    View Comment
  14. Thank you for sharing.

    View Comment
  15. All Glories To H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj

    Only paths of spirituality can deliver such wisdom , not material paths.

    Hare Krishna

    View Comment
  16. Nice article…..It is very easy to understand the self as soul but very very difficult to realize it……Thanks swamiji for your deep realisations…..

    View Comment
  17. Radhanath Swami goes deep in to whatever he does or whatever he wants to accomplish..

    View Comment
  18. What a realization!

    View Comment
  19. “Relations of the soul, established in relation with the Supreme Soul, are factual relations”.powerful statement from Maharajah

    View Comment
  20. Wonderful Realization. Jai…

    View Comment
  21. Amazing , thanks for sharing

    View Comment
  22. The body is a temporary vehicle. Without the soul, the body is like a car without a driver. It’s not the body that people love, but the soul.So true.

    View Comment
  23. Life at every step is teaching us something but it takes the likes of Radhanath Swami to understand or even to pay heed.

    View Comment
  24. Death is the only truth in this material world but this is the olny thing which we show disbelief…especially for our own…

    View Comment
  25. In Journey Home, that part where Radhanath Swami Maharaj explaines his observation of burning dead bodies in crematorium, really made me think seriously about death and how ignorantely I completely care about body alone neglecting about my/soul needs. Thank you very much for sharing.

    View Comment
  26. Whenever we see death, it is a sobering experience. Yet, we think we will never die. As mentioned in this article, this is because the soul is eternal. Unfortunately, many people today are bereft of this primary knowledge about the body and the soul.

    View Comment
  27. The explanation of body and soul using analogy is clear-cut. This also comes from HH Radahanath swami’s realization that he got as Richard. Richard got a realization of the soul watching and meditating on the burning dead

    View Comment
  28. We most to the time depend upon things we possees now , beauty,wealth etc, but as Radhanath swami telling here correctly that with death everything will be lost.Reminding ourselves of this bitter truth makes us sober and we are directed towards more sublime goals in life.Thank you Radhanath swami for sharing your realizations.

    View Comment
  29. Manish Raikundalia

    Nice. Thanks for sharing.

    View Comment
  30. Mele Parambottil S

    His Holiness Radhanath Swami eloquently explains this Plain Truth which to our illusioned state of mind is not so obvious.

    View Comment
  31. very touching,teaches us the ultimate truth…..

    View Comment
  32. shyam bihari das

    Always a message is revealed with every Maharaj’s instructions. It is difficult for us to separate the body from our transient soul, but Maharaj, with his vivid examples, makes it possible for us to realize this. HH Radhanath Swami maharaj ki Jai!

    View Comment
  33. What beautiful realisations

    View Comment
  34. The greatest one line statement ever told :
    You are not this body. You are spirit soul.

    View Comment
  35. CS Sandeep Shinde

    Very wonderful article. Thank you very much for sharing the same.

    View Comment
  36. “Realizing the inevitability of death sobers us up. It’s simply a matter of time before all the wealth and fame we seek is washed away by the force of time”. This is a great meditation by Radhanath Swami. We are very fortunate to get these kind of meditations realised through personal experiences of Radhanath Swami under tough conditions. We only have to just follow the instructions of Radhanath Swami, then we will be close to our real destination, God.

    View Comment
  37. Great narration, i could actully visualize as I read it. Thanks!

    View Comment
  38. very sobering, a holistic view of caring for ourselves and others. thanks so much!

    View Comment
  39. Wonderful statement. “the skin relation is the cause of material bondage, but the relation of the soul is the cause of freedom”

    View Comment
  40. Amazing. Thanks for this article.

    View Comment
  41. This article has opened my eyes. this pastime is so relevant in todays life. thank you for this wonderful meditation.

    View Comment
  42. Since our body is temporary, the material happiness associated with it is also temporary. That is why Radhanath Swami wants us to be detached from the bodily pleasures & instead focus on the spirit soul within so that we can experience eternal bliss serving God & His pure devotees.

    View Comment
  43. M. Pandurangayya Shetty

    What all seen need not be the truth. by divine grace the unseen truth is seen. Radhanath Swami is an expert to show that Absolute truth which is unseen. Radhanath Swami can get us the divine mercy of God. All glories to Radhanath Swami.

    View Comment
  44. A very profund statement from Maharaj“If you really love a person, will you not care for his or her soul? And if you love the soul, would you ignore the body? ” Jai Gurudev!!!

    View Comment
  45. Thanks for very nice article. It tells us how important for us to understand death and doing that is not pessimism. Radhanath Swami’s meditation on death and is explanations are eye opening.

    View Comment
  46. Wonderful explaination of body and soul.Radhanath Swami has so vividly explained the importance of boy and soul.This is the first lesson in spirituality.Thanks for this nice meditation.

    View Comment
  47. The cosmetic industry thrives one a 1 point agenda – Making the body more presentable, evidence of this is the shelves of stores across the world. What bad investors we are is very evident, as we spend endless amounts over the years on our body which ultimately is disposed off. Radhanath Swami gives us a understanding of how the SOUL within the body needs to be invested in, one maintains the body by keeping it fit to carry out service to GOD but pampering it as if it is all in all is a sign of ignorance.

    View Comment
  48. I am really fortunate to read this meditation of Maharaj’s realization of Death and soul. This is very practical knowledge. If this knowledge is properly imbibed with faith and devotion we can definitely overcome death. Thanks for sharing this enlightening meditation.

    View Comment
  49. It is rightly said that if we dont surrender to krishna now then we are forced to surrender in the form of death

    View Comment
  50. Aekta Brahmbhatt

    Such an enlightening realization about death. Death is most feared by everyone but Radhanath Swami explains it so beautifully, it illuminates ones understanding of this most feared phenomenon.

    View Comment

Leave a Reply