"Life Review," Janaka Stagnaro
Has anybody ever survived death? Is there anybody who hasn't died? Why do all people die? Or who kills all these people?
Peace be unto you, Fazil,
Death has been an age-old mystery with every culture on this planet, and religions exist to explain why death occurs and what happens afterwards. Some of these religions are similar in their explanations while others differ.
One can approach death from many perspectives. If one believes one is just a body then death appears everywhere, and is indeed a fearful thing. No one escapes death then. Everything that is born will die. It is the way of time. If no such death existed, if that change didn't happen to all these forms upon the Earth, the Earth itself would die. There would be no change; which is a ludicrous thought. In fact, the body is dying, as well as being born, repeatedly through one's journey on this planet. The baby dies so that the toddler can be born, the toddler dies that the youth may live, the youth passes so the adult can go out into the world. And then eventually the adult dies and turns into something that we only speculate about.
But all through these transitions there is an Essence that doesn't change--this sense of I AM. This is the state of being that all the Masters have come to, the Spirit that is beyond all time. Being that this state is beyond time, death cannot touch it, as death is really a mask of time. This is the highest truth and the only way to escape all the suffering that we as humans experience as we see death cutting our loved ones down. Only bodies are destroyed. The Spirit cannot be touched.
I had a near death experience when I was a young man when I nearly drowned. When I was going down for the last time I drifted into a light. And then my awareness was above the beach where I observed my rescuer run and jump into the water to pull me out. Immediately I was back in my body. I must say I was not pleased to be back in this heavy casing of a shell. While my experience was still on the relative level I came to realize that while bodies may be screaming and writhing in torment, the soul is not touched, but witnesses the event with a sort of detachment.
You asked if anyone has escaped death. There are stories of masters who live a long life, but who eventually choose consciously to move on to another form. But I have no first-hand knowledge of these masters. All that I know is that when one is absorbed in God, in the timeless, one comes to the place untouched by death.
Does God kill? one might ask. No, because God sees us as we truly are, as God can only see the Truth. And the Truth is we are not bodies--we are created as God Himself--eternal Spirit. Only the illusion of time kills. However, the illusion of death is used by the Divine to wake us up, just like my drowning experience, to force us to look outside of the world.
There is a story of the Buddha who had a woman come to him as she held her dead boy in her arms. She pleaded for the Buddha to bring her child back to life. He told her that he would if she could find one house where death had never come. From house to house she went, and at every home someone spoke of death's visit. Finally she came back defeated in her pursuit. Then the Buddha offered her a way out of the realm of death and suffering.
May you be free of suffering.