The auspicious time for the Kumbh Mela had come when people, especially saintly persons, gather at the confluence of the three holy rivers – the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the Sarswati in Allahabad. This time also a very large number had gathered to take bath in the holy waters on auspicious days.
During this period the saintly persons also take advantage of such gathering to hold spiritual discussions. One such sage was discussing about Lord Krishra’s incarnation when he felt an intense pain in his chest. Instinctively, he knew that his time to leave the body had come. He excused himself and retired to his temporary quarters. There he sat in “Samadhi” and left his body.
When another saint, who shared the cottage with him, came back and saw what had happened, he informed others. Soon a crowd gathered and they decided to cremate his body with full honour. The state authorities were informed and they made all the arrangements for the funeral of this pious soul.
What makes death so fearful to the majority of us, which did not affect this saintly person? There are several reasons for this. Fear of death comes from the feeling of annihilation of self, since most of us regard our bodies as everything we are. We feel that when the body is finished, everything is finished. This is why we suffer because death is rarely painless. There is also heartbreak due to separation from near and dear ones. Even if one accepts oneself to be a soul, there is a matter of inconvenience of getting started in a new body.
There are only two circumstances when one welcomes death: When one is terminally sick and suffering great pain and the other is when one is in a hopeless position with drastic consequences. Rest of us fear death; only the enormity of fear varies.
How can one transcend this debilitating fear? Spirituality helps. One realizes that one is a soul which is indestructible. And if one makes the right efforts, one qualifies for liberation that is not being subject to death any more. Lord Krishna guides in Bhagavad-Geeta, “One, who intones the word “Om” while remembering God, and leaves his or her body, that person achieves liberation (8.13).” Once someone becomes proficient in practices such as chanting and remembering God fear will diminish and the focus will shift to a bright future. Once someone achieves such a link, he or she gets freed from the fear of death; spiritually has such a power.