Question: Why is it that so many linger in pain for a long time before dying?

Sri Chinmoy: Many sick people want to die because their pain is unbearable. They want to be free from their suffering. But why do they still linger and suffer? It is because purification of the nature has not been completed. Through purification we enter into a higher life and a more fulfilling divinity. This is where the law of karma operates. In our past series of lives, we have done many things wrong. It is through this physical torture that we are purified. This experience is necessary, because through it a new wisdom dawns in the person’s consciousness. But when someone suffers bitterly we should not think of his past actions — that he led a bad life and had a bad character, and for this he is suffering. No, let us become one with the experience that he is going through. When we are one with the experience, we get true satisfaction in our human existence.

Again, I have to say that the law of karma is not simple; it is very, very complicated. Some souls are very pure and spiritual, but still they suffer when they die. Is it because of their past wrong karma? No, it is because they identify with humanity and want to experience for themselves the bitterest kind of suffering. Most of the great spiritual Masters have had very painful deaths. Why? At their own sweet will they could have left their body, but they did not do it. Instead they contracted cancer and other serious diseases, and only after much suffering did they die. In their case, what they were doing was entering into humanity’s suffering and trying to feel how humanity suffers. Unless we enter into the suffering of humanity, everything is theoretical; nothing is practical. But if ordinary people suffer, we see that it is the law of karma, the wheel of karma, that is operating.

Nevertheless, if someone dies of sudden heart failure, that does not necessarily mean that he was very spiritual or religious. No, God wanted to have this particular experience through him, and perhaps through his loved ones, at that particular time. Here there is no question of good or bad, divine or undivine, but of what kind of experience God wanted to have in that particular person. Ultimately everything is an experience of God that we are seeing or having.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Death and reincarnation: Eternity's voyage, Agni Press, 1973
Sourced from