Death is a matter about which most people worry and have much fear.
Since there is no doubt that every body dies, how can we contend with this fact?
Let’s see what the great Himalayan Master, Swami Rama, said of death:
In his book, Sadhana, The Path To Enlightenment, Swami Rama says, “Many people think death is the greatest of all tragedies, but to a fortunate few the idea of dying is a matter of fact, like the end of a school year. Life is a series of changes and death is one of those changes. Nothing happens to you when you die because your subtle existence is not subject to change; only your form changes. Death is nothing but a habit of the body. The body is matter and it is the dharma of all matter to change, die and go to decomposition.”
“In order to understand death it is essential to look beyond the physical body to the other levels that make up the complex human organism. You see yourself only at the superficial level of the body and have accepted without question that you are limited to the body. When you say I, you are referring to your physical body. Your body is everything to you and you look after it as though it were your greatest friend. You don’t realize that this friend of yours is very weak. If you continue to identify solely with the body, you will become very weak. When you study yourself and come to know yourself from within you will find you are something entirely different than what you thought you were.”
“It is not just the body that defines a human being. Yoga gives a more complete definition: a human being is an individual soul, jiva, having a life force with certain vehicles or instruments. You have an individual unconscious mind and a conscious mind, and you are a breathing being with a physical body. Beyond the body is the mind, and the soul is even deeper than the mind. It is not the mind or the body that experiences the waking state and the gross world of external objects. There is only one who experiences and that is the individual soul or jiva, also called atman. The individual atman is to be distinguished from the Atman that is the pure light of knowledge or truth that dwells in the space within every human being’s subtle heart and pervades the entire being. The Atman manifests prana (the life force), mind, senses and body, and this is how you exist. It is a force that comes directly from the center of pure consciousness.” (Pp. 89-90)
So, according to Swami Rama, the body is not who we are. Rather, the essence of who we are is the Atman, the center of consciousness, and this Atman is eternal. The whole point of Yoga is to lead us to directly knowing this truth from our own direct experience. After this happens, the death of the body is, as Swami Rama said, seen as just a matter of fact and no longer a source of fear.