This information is excerpted from the book “Dying into Life: The Yoga of Death, Loss and Transformation” by Dr. Jivan Joti Kaur Khalsa
The medical field has given us the concept of the “moment of death.” As the life functions shut down, one moment they are measurable, at another they are not. This measurability of life has led to the concept of the “moment of death.”
Actually, death can be described as a gradual process of melting or dissolving, which can take minutes or hours to complete, long after the instruments have stopped measuring life.
Our physical body is made up of five elements – earth, water, fire, air, and ether. At the time of death, these elements dissolve into one another.
It is very common for someone nearing death to stop eating and drinking, signs that the body has started the process of shutting down.
As death approaches, the earth element is the first to dissolve. The body loses its feeling of solidity, hardness and boundaries. The body feels heavy, and its edges seem less defined. One feels “out” of the body, to the point of not being able to move the limbs at will. Peristalsis slows, the bowels no longer move without aid.
As the organs shut down, the person stops eating and drinking. The person will go in and out of consciousness, having one foot in life and the other in death. As the earth element dissolves into the water element, the person’s identity is less attached to the solid, and there is a feeling of fluidity.
As the water element begins to melt into the fire element, the feeling of fluidity becomes more like a warm mist. Bodily fluids have slowed, the mouth and eyes are dry, circulation is sluggish and blood pressure drops. Blood settles in the extremities, resulting in a feeling of lightness.
The fire element then melts into the air element, when feelings of warmth, cold or any physical sensations cease. The body temperature drops, and the skin becomes cool and pale. There is a feeling of weightlessness and boundrylessness, as one dissolves into more subtle realms.
Finally, as the air element dissolves, the out breath is longer than the in breath, with long pauses between breaths. The sound of the breath may take on a rattle quality. One experiences a sense of expanding into pure consciousness, which is the ether element.
Each stage is accompanied by less solidity, the edges are less defined and less external input is received. The process of dying seems to be accompanied by a sense of expanding beyond oneself or dissolving out of form. This could be a very frightening experience if one resists the sensations of melting.
Again, we are reminded of the importance of consciously preparing for death. It is not uncommon for one to have similar experiences during meditation or while relaxing after a yoga set.
As the ethers dissolve at the time of death, so do the Chakras. It is a very subtle process, but a trained Yogi can use these energies at the time of death to raise his or her soul up the chakras and out the Crown Chakra. If the soul leaves through the Tenth Gate, it is more likely to go straight to the Fourth Ether.
During yoga and meditation, the Yogi has learned how to raise his energy up the chakras to experience higher states of consciousness and ecstasy. At death, it is the same process. Instead of directing the Kundalini or energy up through the chakras, the yogi is guiding the soul toward the Tenth Gate.
Siri Amrit Singh Talks about the Death of his Grandfather
“As it came closer and closer, his physical body energetically shrunk. I could see his body disintegrating . . . his elements disappearing. I could see it. Then he lost control of his bodily functions. It was the smell of death. As the time went on, his face was absolutely radiant, and his eyes were powerful. There was like a glow about his whole head. And everything else was just nothing . . . like a curtain, not even there. I would sit with him and joke with him or sit and hold his hand and meditate with him. I would talk to him, not verbally . . . it was really amazing. I could sense where he was, and we talked soul to soul.”
Dying into Life: The Yoga of Death, Loss and Transformation: Second Edition – Coming Soon!
Death and loss are universal experiences, which we all experience in our lives. The experience of death and loss are never convenient, and everyone responds to them differently. For some, death is an ending, a tragedy, a wall of sorts; for others, it is a beginning, a door or an opportunity for tremendous personal growth and transformation. With training, we can prepare ourselves to view and respond to these transitions with more grace and inner serenity. We can also help others in their own transformative journey. Dying into Life book and course will give you such a training.