When will you be “really” dead, dear Ghost?
Arjun is going through a very tough phase in his life. His mom passed away the day before and he’s having trouble dealing with this entire situation.
Acharya, being a very good friend, visits Arjun.
Arjun says to Acharya, “This is so unfair. Just yesterday she was with me. She was just fine. How is it that in a moment, someone just disappears? Please enlighten me on this.”
Acharya says to Arjun, “Death never happens in a moment. It is a sequence of events before we can say that a person is dead. Do you want to know more about this?”
“Yes, please.”, insists Arjun,
Before understanding the sequence of death, we need to understand another concept called the five dimensions of Prana. Prana refers to the Pranamaya kosha (Energy body), that we discussed when we were dealing with the question of “Who you are really.” (Podcast#1: Who are “you” really)
The 5 dimensions (Vayus) of prana are:
· Samana Vayu
· Prana Vayu
· Udana Vayu
· Apana Vayu
· Vyana Vayu
1. Samana Vayu:
· Samana Vayu maintains the temperature of your body. Having high samana vayu means that neither heat nor cold can disturb you.
· It is healing in nature. Having more Samana Vayu in your body means more healing capacity in the body. You don’t just heal yourself but your mere presence becomes healing for others
· It is also associated with digestion. With high Samana Vayu, the food that you eat quickly gets digested.
· It is related to the Sun. This is because the Sun is the major source of energy and in-turn the thermostat of the planet.
· When a person dies, the first to leave is Samana Vayu. This is why the body starts cooling down. Within 21-24 minutes from the breath stopping, the Samana Vayu exits the body completely.
2. Prana Vayu:
· Prana Vayu is In-charge of respiration and thoughts. Your thoughts and your breath are deeply connected to each other. Your breath changes depending on the kind of thoughts you have in your mind at any particular point of time. That’s why simply by thinking that you are being chased by a bear in the middle of nowhere, you can start breathing heavy.
· It is related to Earth. This is because in our Solar System, only planet Earth has an atmosphere favorable for respiration.
· After Samana Vayu, Prana vayu is the next to leave i.e. respiration and thought process begins to recede. Prana Vayu exits completely within 48-90 minutes after the breath stopping. This means that until this point, thoughts can be active in the person, if not in the usual manner, in some vague way.
3. Udana Vayu:
· Udana means to fly. It creates more buoyancy so that you are less available to gravity.
· It is in-charge of your ability to communicate. If Udana vayu is high, you effortlessly communicate with people around you.
· It is related to Moon. The cycles of the moon are intimately connected especially with the female body. Our birth is made possible because our mothers bodies are in sync with the cycles of the moon
· With the Udana Vayu gone, buoyancy is lost. The weight does not increase, but you can feel the body to be much heavier. (~6-12 hours after the breath stops)
4. Apana Vayu:
· Apana Vayu is in-charge of excretion and sensory system.
· Efficient excretion in the system at the cellular level causes an increase in sensory perception.
· Until Apana Vayu completely exits, they can still feel sensations. That is why it is observed that there is mild twitching in the dead body because of these residual sensory perceptions. (~8-18 hours after the breath stops)
5. Vyana Vayu:
· Vyana Vayu Knits the billions of cells into one organism.
· It is in-charge of your ability to move and locomotion.
· It enhances your intuitiveness and aids in spiritual growth.
· Vyana Vayu is the slowest to exit because it the preservative nature of the prana. (If the Death is because of old age and life becomes feeble it takes 11-14 days for it to exit. But if Death is because of an accident and life was still vibrant, it could take upto 48-90 days for it to exit.
From this sequence of death, it is clear that no matter how the death of an individual takes place, he/she will always have enough time between the moment their body is declared dead and the moment when they’re actually gone. Hence, it makes a lot more sense to live your life in such a way that while you are in that disembodied state, all that is going through you is happiness. You do not have any guilt, any regrets, any apologies that you had to make, etc. It is said that in the disembodied state you are present only in the form of energy, so you don’t have much control over yourself except being driven by your natural tendencies. So even if you had some business to sort in the world, you won’t be able to.
If you lived your life happily, to the fullest, it is likely that during that point also you would be in a similar state. And likewise if you live your entire life in hatred, jealousy, judgements, etc. that is what your disembodied self would be feeling at that point.
This is one of the biggest reasons why I find Death so fascinating. It is such a wake-up call for you to get your life together. The fact that death is inevitable and is going to come and take you away irrespective of who you are can humble you down to such an extent that you don’t find the time or the need of being wrong to others, judging them, causing them unhappiness. You better live every single moment of “life” you have right? Because any moment, and that is the catch, any moment you could be dead.
I do not have a lot of knowledge over this topic so I will refrain to speak directly about it. All the things I have talked about so far are either direct passages or paraphrases after reading the book Death: An Inside Story by Sadhguru. I highly recommend you to read this book for yourself.