Nonduality and death. What is death? Death is the end of a form. Therefore, the concept of death is essentially a fixation, an attachment, or perhaps an identification, but primarily an excessive focus on the arrival and departure of forms. All forms come and go; none remain. It’s comparable to the law of conservation of energy in physics, which states that in an isolated system, energy remains constant. No energy is created or destroyed. Forms may come and go, and energy can be transferred or rearranged, but ultimately, the energy remains constant. Nonduality operates in a similar manner. Forms come and go, but That, the Self, Awareness, Consciousness, or whatever term one prefers to use, is always constant. It perpetually exists behind all forms and is all forms. It is not separate; it is not other. Thus, this fixation on death is essentially a fixation on the body-mind and the specific form that will come, has come, or will go, or other forms that come and go.

Ramana Maharshi once said, when he was dying from a tumor or cancer or something similar, people would tell him that he was dying, but he would respond, “I’m not going anywhere. Where would I go?” Similarly, in the context of nonduality, where there is no separation and no otherness, no one goes anywhere. Thinking that someone has died and mourning them is truly a fixation and attachment to the form, rather than recognizing who and what they truly are.

Now, this is not a theoretical proposition. In my experience of life, various forms have passed away. I have lost all four grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, and several other people I know, including a classmate in high school. However, they did not go anywhere. Even now, when I reflect on it or not even consciously think about it, I can still sense my grandmother’s presence and visualize her in my mind’s eye. She didn’t go anywhere. She is still with me. She is still me. There is no separation; there is no otherness. Therefore, no one is coming and going; they are there with you. They are still you, and you are them. There is no separation.

Hence, it is through identification and attachment to form that the concept of death arises. Consider this analogy: Suppose you were dreaming at night and in the dream, you, as a single person, fell in love and married a wonderful spouse. However, in the course of the dream, a car accident occurred, and your spouse died, leaving you widowed. Then, the morning alarm wakes you up. Now, upon awakening, are you mourning the loss of your dream spouse? Of course not. They didn’t go anywhere. I understand that this may not make sense to everyone, but it is merely a pointer to aid in conceptualization or framing of the mindset. It’s not that the world is devalued as a dream. Although I have referred to the world as a dream, it doesn’t diminish or devalue it in any way. Some people tend to belittle or dismiss dreams, saying, “Oh, it’s just a dream.” No, dreams are extraordinary experiences. In fact, I appreciate how the Aboriginal people in Australia describe the dreamworld, suggesting that it is often more real than the waking world. So, it’s important to note that referring to something as a dream is not a downgrade or devaluation.

In all seriousness, though, where would I go? Where would you go? There is only Oneness, That, Self, Consciousness, Awareness—choose your label. There is no other; there is no separation. I hope this perspective helps.

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