Question: Would you say something about death? What is it? What happens when we die? Can we conquer the fear of death through meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Very recently I spoke on death. I think it was my first talk here in England — at the University of Kent, Canterbury. "Is Death the End?" was the title.

Now, from the spiritual point of view, death is not the end. Being a spiritual man, I can say on the strength of my own inner realisation that our soul does not die. The body dies. The body is composed of the five elements called Pancha Bhuta. At the time of death, the body enters into the physical sheath. The vital enters into the vital sheath. The mind enters into the mental sheath proper, and so forth. The soul flies back to the soul's own region.

Death is nothing but a short or a long rest for the soul. The soul came into the world, and this world is like a battlefield. The soldier does not remain all the time on the battlefield. He fights. Then, either he loses the battle or he dies, or he goes back victorious, triumphant. In the same way, in the spiritual life, we constantly fight. We do not fight against an enemy outside ourselves, but we fight against our own inner enemies: fear, doubt, anxiety and worry. And our worst enemy is death. We are constantly fighting against ignorance, and death is, unfortunately, the fond child of ignorance.

So, a spiritual person sees and knows that death is not the end. It is just like being on a road. He walks along the road and, when anything happens on the road, he takes a short or a long rest. After the rest he walks along the road again. And what is the road? The road is life. We came from infinite Life, the Life Divine. That infinite Life stayed here on earth for a short span of time, say fifty or sixty years, during which time it consciously became earthbound. Then this life again passed through the corridor of death, remaining, say, for five years or ten years, or fifteen or twenty years. The time depends upon the individual soul. Then again it comes down into this world and starts functioning here on earth. Its very purpose of coming into this world is to manifest the ultimate truth. Until the manifestation is complete, its aspiration, realisation remain unfulfilled. So, from the spiritual point of view, a spiritual seeker will always say that death is not the end. It is only a rest.

Very often I have said that you can take death as your bedroom, sleeping room, and life as your living room. When we are in the sleeping room, we don't have to show our life. There we sleep. We do not have to show our life to our friends. No. When we are in the living room, we have to work, we have to show that we are alive, we have to prove that we exist. In the other room, where we take rest, we do not have to show anything. Death is like a room where we take rest for a short time or a long time. Then again we come back to life, the living room, to fulfil our day-to-day tasks.

So, to come back to your question, I wish to say that through meditation we can conquer the fear of death. When we meditate, we enter into the endless Life. However, just by entering into the endless Life, we do not possess that Life. For that, we have to meditate and meditate, and then we have to grow into that endless Life.