The Last Thought

by admin Mar 30, 2006 10 Comments

Filed under: Nirvana

Last Thought
Whatever manifested aspect a man might think of at death, when he leaves the body — that, O Son of Kunti, he reaches, whose thoughts always conform to that particular life expression.
– The Bhagavad Gita (Translation by Nataraja Guru)

Death, the known eventuality we are all heading to, the destination where all perception ends, but what about thought, what is its state? Especially the last one you will ever have at the crossroads of life, death, and after-life.

Can that last thought be perpetual? Can it exist even though the form which created it ceases to exist? Or does it end in darkness, and then onto after-life (if there is an after life)?

But I see a problem here�to experience darkness, I have to be alive, and to even know that I am dead, I have to be alive. If that is the case, and if I ignore after life for the sake of argument, there is no way I will know that I am dead. I can know that I am dying, but unless I am alive, I cannot know that I am dead�even to sense complete darkness, I will have to be alive.

If I can only sense dying, but not death, does it mean that–the last thought, the last dream, or whatever imagery the mind creates just before deathâ€â€?can be forever? Can that last thought be our heaven, hell or whatever picture we paint at that moment, when we can have one last thought? And if we are not in control of that thought, can it be a kaleidoscope of imagery? Is our Last Thought eternal?

10 Comments

  • DesiPundit » The La&hellip

    Mar 30, 2006 | 2:57 pm

    […] KarmaDude ponders on the eternal nature of ‘the last thought’. […]

  • kaveetaa kaul

    Mar 31, 2006 | 1:30 am

    The last thought is eternal in the sense that it is the bais of the next birth.

    The mind essentially needs triggers as its intrinsic characteristic.

    Therefore, ones last thought is the foundation of the blueprint of your next birth.

    Suicides can never lead to a propitious re-birth. For the same reason. Life ended on such a morose note.

    It has often been said that our goodness as human beings can be deciphered by the manner of our death.
    One has lived well if one died in awareness.

    Being a student of Vippassana and Buddhism , this is the deduction of the premise therein..

  • KarmaDude

    Mar 31, 2006 | 3:04 am

    kaveetaa: The way I am trying to approach this is not to consider assumptions about the after-life (next birth in your case), because to me they are unknown factors, and leads to many uncertainties. What I am interested in is the state of thought as we cross over from life to death, when there is no more awareness, no more perceptions; a state when each and every cell in our body ceases to exist.

    In that state can our last thought still exist? Could it exist because our conscious mind couldn’t possibly know that the body is dead, because to know that one has to be alive?

  • the little endian

    Mar 31, 2006 | 10:52 pm

    Wouldnt it depend heavily on the conditions under which one dies?

    For example, a person in a persistent vegetative state, does she have any thoughts before she dies. Does her brain hold a thought? In contrast, a healthy living person dying because of a sudden accident, could be thinking of his next meeting, next meal, next traffic light, anything. Finally, the situation, and most likely the one you are referring to, is one in which you are lying in your deathbed in full consciousness, knowing that your last breath is imminent, perhaps even knowing that the next breath is indeed your last.

    In this last situation, KD you, and others have wondered if the mind can even hold a last thought. My answer to that is a resounding yes. If you are alert, know that you are dying and are aware of your surroundings, you have the ability to hold a thought.

    There are several ways to look at it, though.

    In the “conscious deathbed” situation, if I have lived a full, healthy, fullfilling life, then there is one and only one thing I would want to be thinking of, and that is the serene knowledge that I am leaving behind a set of stable, happy, souls who I loved and who loved me, who meant something to me, and to whom I meant something.

    Now, if this is the goal, then throughout my life I should perhaps strive for creating an environment around me so that I can die in this knowledge. It is a life times work – this one moment of death.

    Perhaps there are other, detached, ways of looking at it. Perhaps it is the ultimate escape for some people. Regardless of the outcome of their lifetime’s efforts, perhaps the detached way of looking at it would be to not think of the life behind, but of the knowledge its all over now.

    Great question. Its made me think of how I want to live.

  • the little endian

    Mar 31, 2006 | 10:54 pm

    This reminds me of a line from an old bhajan

    “itnaa to karnaa swaami, jab praan tan se nikle”
    “govind naam booley, jab praan tan se nikle”

  • A dude

    Apr 2, 2006 | 8:52 am

    Can thought be held? Is there death other than that of the body’s? Can death be experienced?

  • KarmaDude

    Apr 4, 2006 | 1:18 pm

    A dude: Can death be experienced?

    To answer that question one would have to go into the domain of after-life, and that is such a grey area, that it makes it a difficult question to answer. What comes to mind is a quote from Epicurus:

    Death is nothing to us; for that which has been dissolved into its elements experiences no sensations, and that which has no sensation is nothing to us.

  • A dude

    Apr 6, 2006 | 1:42 pm

    If there is such a thing as an afterlife, then there can be no death. What we call death then merely becomes a dissolving of old associations and a forming of new ones. This happens even we are,apparently, alive. On the other hand, if death is the end of the “me” as I know myself, it may well turn out to be worthwhile asking if the “me” is indeed real. If it isn’t (and we have all these zen and sadhu jokers saying it isn’t), then there would be no death since we’re talking about the death of something illusory. And if,indeed, the “me” or “I” is real, then where is it to be apprehended? How indeed did the associations arise? And where indeed do they subside?

  • Amit

    Apr 7, 2006 | 5:50 am

    I always maintain the thought that there is no death, only a continuing journey of I the soul.

    The body may “die” but “I” as in me, my consciousness, my experience, my love, my feelings, all travel me with on the journey. Why then can’t I remember then from past lives? Because they are deep in the subconscious and to access those takes practise.

    Death also suggests a linear framework of time, something which I refuse to believe. To me, time is a single moment. A giant event happening in an instant, sound like a paradox? It is! One of the great ingenuities or Gods magnificent creation. The “me” in 10 years as I percieve it, is actually happening now, in this very moment in another layer of space and time. Therefore, there is no death, there cannot be in a moment.

    One of my favorite peoms that illustrates this is one by William Blake: “To see a world in a grain of sand,
    and heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”

    Within this construct, our perception is limited, but I’ve always believed that in scientific terms, the Universe is 15 billion years old, but to God, it’s just a cosmic moment. 🙂

  • srini

    May 8, 2006 | 9:07 am

    Very original and interesting thoughts.
    There is a book , Autobiography Of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda. I have found it very informative.
    The author speaks with authority on the topic, and very logically.
    Each one lives with his/her belief. And dies with it. There is a proverb in Kannada language. “Tanu saya beku, swarga padeya beku” which means one has to die to experience heaven”
    Any takers?

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