At the time of death, when one loses control of bodily processes, one's mind may jump from painful thought to painful thought. But this pain can be lessened or banished. In his book, Meditation and the Art of Dying, Swami Veda Bharati tells how to do so.
“When one has led a life with certain basic disciplines, whatever those disciplines might be—a life of unselfishness, a life in which one has fulfilled one’s karma, in which one has received and given unselfish love, a life that has not been built around contracts of one kind or another that are entered into at convenience and are broken licentiously, when in life there there have been permanent relationships, when in life there have been unselfish commitments: where one has dared to commit himself to people and principles over long periods of time, then the person has learned to gather the potency of the thought force. Even if he has not reached total liberation he will be still better off at the hour of death than someone who has not lived such a life."
One of the greatest adepts, teachers, writers, and humanitarians of the 20th century, Swami Rama (1925-1996) is the founder of the Himalayan Institute. Born in Northern India, he was raised from early childhood by the Himalayan sage, Bengali Baba. Under the guidance of his master, he traveled from monastery to monastery and studied with a variety of Himalayan saints and sages, including his grandmaster who was living in a remote region of Tibet. In addition to this intense spiritual training, Swami Rama received higher education in both India and Europe. From 1949 to 1952, he held the prestigious position of Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham in South India. Thereafter, he returned to his master to receive further training at his cave monastery, and finally in 1969, came to the United States where he founded the Himalayan Institute. His best known work, Living With the Himalayan Masters, reveals the many facets of this singular adept and demonstrates his embodiment of the living tradition of the East.
Inner dialogue, a contemplative method, sometimes replaces meditation. Such dialogues strengthen the faculty of decisiveness and sharpen the buddhi (higher intellect), which can penetrate into the subtleties of the inner levels. The primary step of inner dialogue is a part of contemplation. It inspires the aspirant in his search for knowledge. Knowledge that does not reveal the object as it is, is not knowledge at all, and acquiring mere information is unfulfilling. Nonattachment and practice are the most effective tools in the quest for real knowledge. Contemplation is not a method of escaping from the realities of life; rather through the process of contemplation, one makes a strong mental resolution on which he builds his whole philosophy of life.
“O mind, witness the world of objects, and observe the impermanence
of those objects you long to achieve, to embrace, and to save.
What difference is there in the objects of dreams and the objects of the waking state?
What reason is there for being attached to the unreal things of the world;
they are like experiences of the dreaming state.
They are constantly changing,
and you have no right to own them, for you can only use them.
O mind, listen to the sayings of the great sages and teachers;
follow in the footprints
of those who have already trod the path of light and enlightenment.
You will find that Truth is that which is unchangeable;
Absolute Reality is that which is beyond the conditioning of time, space and causation.”
- Swami Rama in Enlightenment Without God, pp. 103-104