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Facing the inevitable death
September 11, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

Richard’s pilgrimage next led him southeast to Prayaga, praised as the king of holy places. This was home of the Kumbha Mela, the largest gathering on earth where up to twenty million pilgrims gather every twelve years to meet saintly people and take a religious purification bath. Prayaga is situated at the confluence of three rivers: the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati. Richard walked barefoot in the unbearably hot sand, and arrived at the confluence where he saw the river Yamuna embracing Mother Ganges—Yamuna with her complexion of deep blue, Ganges with hers of white, and the transparent Saraswati joined them from below.

Sitting on the sandy bank, Richard gazed into the sky and saw a hawk plunge headlong into the Ganges. There, a frantic underwater skirmish ensued until he emerged with a flapping fish, about a foot long, pierced in the grip of his talons. Squirming desperately, the fish was carried overhead and into a nearby forest. Looking on Richard reflected:

“The unsuspecting fish, who knew nothing but a life in the river, went about its routine like any other day, but in an instant was ripped out of its reality to meet with death. Like that fish, we routinely live our lives hardly aware that, at the least expected moment, the yellow-eyed hawk of fate in the form of crises, tragedy, or even death, may wrench us out of our comfortable environment. We regularly hear of it in the news or see it around us but rarely take seriously that it could happen to us. Perhaps the lesson here is to guard against complacency and give higher priority to our spiritual needs. If the fish swam deeper, the hawk would not be able reach it. Similarly, if we go deeper into our connection to God, we will find an inner reality so deep and so satisfying that it lifts the consciousness to a place where we could deal with the effects of unforeseeable fate with a stable, detached mind.”

Radhanath Swami appeals that in this material world there is danger at every step and death could come at any time. Therefore a spiritualist spends every moment remembering God so that during the eventual moment of death, he is fixed in an inner state of bliss, ready to enter the divine realm of God. Radhanath Swami says, “A spiritualist doesn’t let a breath pass without remembering God.” Although this may appear presently impractical, our goal is to attain that state of constant remembrance. Radhanath Swami’s oft quoted phrase is, “To forget God is worse than death.”

Radhanath Swami believes that for a spiritual seeker death is not the end, rather it’s a beginning of entrance into a realm of eternity, knowledge and bliss. For a materialist, death is simply the end of everything he or she identifies with. Therefore a God lover doesn’t mind getting old or nearing death, because he knows that as the body is coming closer to death, the soul is getting closer to the eternal spiritual youthful form. Therefore Radhanath Swami’s catchy reminder for us is ‘die before you die’

Radhanath Swami has observed in his four decade of spiritual practices that as inevitable death approaches, all sincere devotees of God are not fearful of losing anything of this world. I once heard Radhanath Swami’s student give a striking example, “In a typical Hindu marriage, the bride cries as she leaves her parents’ house. This is because of her familial attachments and the uncertain future waiting to unfold at her husband’s home. But if a long courtship precedes her wedding, she silently celebrates the parting from her loved ones. Similarly a devotee constantly associating with God through service and remembrance fills his life with serenity and bliss and easily turns from worldly attachments. Then when the inevitable death approaches, he is excited to be reunited with his beloved Lord”

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134 Comments


  1. The example of the parting of the bride from her beloved parents to enter into a new life is vivid. Sincere practice of spiritual life in this world prepares us for reunion with God at the time of death.

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  2. Radhanath Swami tells us that crises, tragedy, or even death, may wrench us out of our comfortable environment any moment. Therefor we have to be prepaired to face adversities. The only way is by taking shelter of God and His representatives.

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  3. hey, nice blog…really like it and added to bookmarks. keep up with good work

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  4. The reflections are so deep. We can understand reality by taking shelter of instructions of such sadhus as Radhanath Swami.

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  5. Rdhanath swami has rightly reminded us of the frugal nature of this world and the need to inculcate krsna consciousness in life

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  6. It is really amazing story that we had seen practically similar instance so many times but we haven’t realize as deep as Maharaj’s realizes. Specially bride one is very deep and touching,that connection is giving solace to the burning heart.

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  7. Radhanath Swami has so vividly explained to us the importance of being conscious of god all the time.

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  8. we cannot remain complacent. death can pounce upon us at any moment. wonderful analogy. HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj ki jay!!!

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  9. How true. We do not bother to pause and think that we will also face death at any point of time. But thinking of death – will it not make you morose and tense? I wonder what the way out is?

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  10. It is very true death is inevitable & can come at any time, but is very difficult to realise it…..But the example by Swamiji of hawk & fish is really very graphic & makes one thinks twice on the subject……thanks

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  11. Dattatraya Choudhari

    Radhanathswami Maharaj has so very deep realization,and it seems that he is very close to God,thatswhy he says that,to forget God is worse than death.

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  12. very nice,thank you

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  13. The example of a bride leaving her loved ones when married is very striking and one that I can relate to. Thank you. Now I know that if I cultivate a loving relationship with Krsna, it will be easier to depart from this world.

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  14. Very few people in this world running the rat race ever stop for a moment to see where they are heading to!

    If few people do that, they create their poetry and philosophies – but no practical solution on how to meet death and what happens there after.

    Only great saints of the like of Radhanath Swami are aware how to live in this world and prepare well to face death and life beyond it…

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  15. Thanks for posting this wonderful blog.

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  16. This blog is very thrilling. Thank you, Radhanath Swami.

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  17. Radhanath Swami Maharaj has urged us to take life & devotional service seriously….

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  18. This very true reality of death very clearly explained by Maharaj. Thanks for sharing this meditation.

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  19. hrishikesh mafatlal

    In our society and the world around us, the mere mention of the word ‘death’ evokes fear and one is quickly admonished, saying it is “inauspicious and morbid” to talk about it. Nobody wants to face the reality. But Radhanath Swami explains through his experiences, realizations and wisdom that, for a devotee, death is the beginning of the entrance to knowledge and bliss!

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  20. Connection with God 24X7 should be our goal.
    Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
    Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare,
    Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
    Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

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  21. Dear admin, thnx for sharing this blog post. I found it wonderful. Best regards, Victoria…

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  22. This quote by Radhanath Swami’s student at the end of the article is just so perfectly said. It gives me all the more strength as to why I should do a good sadhana today and every day to come. Thank you!

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  23. Maharaj prepares us during our lifetimes on how to lead a KC life. More important, Maharaj prepares us for the ultimate moment of death too, by giving such explicit instructions. May we continue to serve you life after life, Maharaj.

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  24. Nice thought, worth seriously meditating on.

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  25. Tallam Sita Ramaiah

    Hare Krishna. What a nice comparision for impending death to the fish taken away by a bird? We do not know what happens in the next moment. We should be ever ready for facing the death. A real devotee is not afraid of death. For him death is meeting Krishna. This comes by practicing our spiritual sadhana sincerely under the guidance of a bonafide spiritual master. All glories to Srila Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

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  26. The second part of the realization gives the clue how to overcome this compliciancy by deeply taking shelter of krsna more we have access to that unending happiness to that degree the fluctuating things of material world will not affect us.

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  27. Radhanath Swami’s realisation on death is a stunning one. Very true, death is inevitable. But, if we are in the path of bhakti and sincerely in touch with God, then we will smoothly escape from this world. Thank you Radhanath swami for enlightening us on this sensitive and complicated subject.

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  28. satchidanand R Satpute

    Its true. such a wonderful and comprehensive way of presenting a truth hats up to radhanath swami. thanks a lot for enliving thought that can hit straight.

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  29. I was just talking to my friend roseville about this.What exactly did you mean in the second sentance?

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  30. Amazing!!! there is a lot to learn from every moment of Radhanath Swami’s life

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  31. Amazingly for devotee Maharaj is simply saying Chant Lord Krishna’s name sincerely and seriously before it is too late.

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  32. Radhanath Swami emphasizes that we should chant our rounds daily with a mindset that this could be my last day.

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  33. Death is the final exam everyone has to pass

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  34. Thqankyou for posting!

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  35. There is danger at every step in this world. who knew at trident or taj that terrorist would kill them. Who knew in 2006 floods their near and dear ones would be killed. People these days talk about Art of Living which is temporary as you are going to die in any case but Radhanath Swami is teaching us Art of Dying which is more important

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  36. Death (in the material world) can be a beautiful experience for the self realized one because he identifies himself with the soul. But it is a very painful experience for those who identify themselves with their body are not willing to give up their bodily attachments. So to avoid getting trapped in the bodily state of mind, we need to regularly associate with God’s pure devotees such as Radhanath Swami. Only then can we free ourselves from the fear of death and make our lives meaningful & successful by achieving the love of God.

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  37. What a wonderful thought on death. To say that death is the begining of a new life is so enlightening. So much hope.

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  38. Indeed in this material world there is danger lurking at every step. death can come at any time. One should take to the devotional process in all seriousness and sincerity

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  39. These deep words of wisdom and association with such saints give so much strength so that we can see situations in our life from a different angle altoogether. Establishing deeper connection with God is so vital to face the situation in our life

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  40. How many people while crossing the road think this could be their last day not many Radhanath Swami wants us to live a life of fully God Conscious person who doesn’t care when death comes but he is at the same time prepared to face it

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  41. radhanath swami exposed the ultimate destiny of a new life(Spiritual) with an wonderful example, his saying are always very inspiring,

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  42. This very true reality of death very clearly explained by Maharaj. Thank you for sharing this meditation.

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  43. Amazing incident from life of Radhanath Swami

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  44. A preculiar sign of a sadhu is that he speaks the truth whether it is palatable or not. Radhanath Swami is one such personality. He throws light on the danger that we face every moment and still we are relaxed. It is like an animal in the slauter house who sees other animals being killed. But trying to enjoy the world. This is ignorance. And Radhanath Swami is a real monk who tries to awaken us from the animalistic state.

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  45. Very nice article Swamiji….thanks for sharing your realisations……..

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  46. HH Radhanathswami Maharaj has fully focused on the reality of the life which is death, which is envitible so has takle with the knowledge which is very important..

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  47. Wonderful incident. Radhanath Swami Maharaj realizations are so deep.

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  48. Nice Article!!! Thank you Maharaj for your words “all sincere devotees of God are not fearful of losing anything of this world”

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  49. It remains one of life’s greatest mysteries why and how that works, I’m glad I stumbled across this website!

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