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Adi & Praja 154

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Adi and Praja

Chapter 9

Issue 154: Dissolution 3,4

For the consciousness of the dying person, in his silence and his painless state, appears an appearance which is compared to ‘puffs of smoke from a chimney in the midst of a mass of smoke’ It is said that all these stages of the various dissolutions occur also everyday when you fall asleep – but apparently we don’t remember the ‘water’ and the ‘smoke’ and the other experiences afterward.


(the third dissolution)

The third dissolution

Then the third group or aggregate of properties, those of mental discrimination, will dissolve. One is no longer mindful of what persons, even those we knew well, are doing, and one can no longer remember their names.

This also seems to be a phenomenon that often happens considerable time before actual death, like in Alzheimer. Diseases like this, like old-age deafness, blindness, cataracts and other old age ailments, seem therefore not really diseases, but a normal process stretched out over a longer time, due to some cause. Of course one can help such people with technical and medical means for a while, but I suppose that they cannot be ‘cured’ from it – because it is no real disease. The element belonging to this phase is ‘fire,’ body heat, and the body begins to loose its warmth, and as a result one can no longer digest food or drink. The sense organ involved in the third dissolution is the nose, so that inhalation becomes weak, and exhalation strong and lengthy, as if sighing. The power to smell ceases.

The experiences you then go through consciously or unconsciously inside are, just as all these inner experiences, unknown to the outsiders, except experts in this field. At this third dissolution you go through an experience ‘like fire flies.’ Or it is ‘like burning red sparks seen within puffs of smoke rising from a chimney, or like red sparks on the soot on the bottom of a pan used for parching grains.’ Or ‘like soldering metal or beating white-hot glowing iron’ – to quote some Tibetans. Of course such descriptions are only visual representations of symbols as some yogis have seen them – the real experience is something only you have.

The fourth dissolution

Then the fourth group, related to the skandha or group of compositional factors dissolve at the same time, which means that one can no longer perform physical actions such as moving about. And one loses the basic wisdom of performing activities, being aware of worldly aims, and one has no more idea of how to achieve activities for the sake of this or future lives. People watching from outside may notice that the dying person pays no more attention to such things. The compositional factors dissolve when the ten types of pranas move from where they normally resided in the body to the region of the heart, as mentioned earlier. This includes the coarse (not the subtle) life bearing prana. Breathing stops when this happens, the persons tongue becomes thick and short and blue at the root. As to the sense faculties, it is obvious that one now loses the taste power also: sweet, sour, bitter, salt, astringent and pungent are no longer perceived by the organs or registered by the consciousness. With this forth dissolution also the power of touch, i.e. bodily perceptions like softness and roughness cease to be perceived and sensed by the consciousness.

So it seems that after the fourth dissolution has taken place, all sense perceptions and inner registration of sense perceptions have ceased, all movement has stopped and now you also have stopped breathing. It is like having fallen deep asleep, in which you notice nothing anymore from the environment, even while a party might be going on around you. Of course when you sleep this is only partly the case: your breath becomes calm, but doesn’t cease, and, with some effort, other people can wake you up. But bringing a person back to life in this stage would be very difficult – and probably very useless. Nevertheless, Shano, that is what some medical doctors definitely and forcefully try to do sometimes with their poor patients – or should I say ‘victims’?

In the mean time your consciousness would not be involved anymore at all with matters pertaining to the body and the world. The state of consciousness where you are in then is compared with ‘the flame of a burning (butter) lamp’; and, they say, it is ‘like a sputtering flame which is about to go out, at the very end of the wick of the lamp or candle – and then it suddenly flares up.’

If we look back on these first four stages of dissolution, it seems that the elements (solidity, moistness, warmth and movement of the body’s life energies) have dissolved the one into the other. This would however be a misunderstanding. It is rather the case that the elements are, one by one, no longer supported by the prana that belongs to each of them, and the result of this is that the next element, which is still fully supported by its prana, presents itself more prominently – it is as if the capacity of, for example, the earth element (solidity) is transferred (not dissolved) into the watery element and the capacity of the prana of the element water to act as a basis for consciousness becomes more manifest. The same with the water towards the fire element, and the fire towards the air or coarse prana element.”

This lesson for today was over, and Shano went to other duties in the monastery. He had to do some garden work and some cleaning, and he had to help preparing the next meal – which meant stamping barley. No time for a walk today. He was still the youngest at the monastery, and as a consequence everything that needed physical effort was shoved to him. And it was to his pleasure. One could think at the same time, while collecting vegetables from the garden or washing cloths. So while doing these things he was repeating in his mind what he had learned today. He hadn’t seen many people dying in his life, and it had also not been his major concern with respect to himself. Nevertheless, everyone dies one day, and he realized that many people spend their whole life in secret fear for death, either pushing the fact away, not wanting to think and talk about it, or create all kinds of weird ideas for themselves – which are often a thousand times more fearful that reality. It was a consolation to hear that even when someone is in great physical pain, he soon loses his actual perception and suffering of it when he or she enters his death process, and that is days or at least hours before actual death. Fear for death is a product of the mind, but actual death is not worse and not nicer than falling asleep. People could be saved enormous amounts of psychological suffering by being informed about these things from a young age. Thinking about it, Shano regarded all those secondary philosophers and religious teachers who had preached hell and doom as the worst type of criminals. He knew that specially in the western part of the world, the whole security craze and health care craze, enthusiastically supported by the political ‘freedom’ and many industries, thousands, even millions of people were suffering silently, under the surface of their exposed consciousness, of fear for death or lethal disease. There is no need for that, Shano understood. Dying and being dead is just an extension of what you are on earth, and than most of it in the higher and happier part of your being, and without the troubles of physical pain and irrational fears.


Next time: Chapter 10 – Mustafa



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