Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev — yogi, mystic, and visionary — celebrated his latest book launch at the 2020 MahaShivaratri all-night-long festival in India. Amidst a revelry of dancers, drums, bells, flames in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, a black curtain opened to reveal the cover of the book entitled Death: An Inside Story.
Behold this synchronicity: a live gathering of thousands rejoiced the release of Death just before the pandemic spread globally and put a halt to such gatherings. Contemplating this uncanny fluke invites accepting this urgency: greet mortality with a vision that is at once sober and joyful. This book supports such a vision, while also provoking the reader into an inward assessment. The mind’s fears get exposed, as do other limiting perceptions of death. Sadhguru wants readers to realize “from a spiritual perspective, what did not happen in life can happen at the moment of death.”
These are some of the book’s pithy statements: “Death is a possibility.” “Death does not exist.” “Death is a dimension of life that is pure intensity.” Sadhguru does not proclaim loyalty to any particular lineage. He breaks down the spiritual process into two basics: samadhi (liberation) and pragna (awareness). The experience of this book is like being in the presence of a practical, contemporary guru: remarks trigger the conditioned mind, the sense perception, and learned habits. These triggers — if the reader is contemplative — open opportunity for focused, inward scrutiny. For instance, it may be widely held that well-being involves living with a sense of security. This is challenged when Sadhguru says, “The moment you think of your security, you are inviting death.” Readers feel triggered to ask, how is my need for safety and comfort constricting the full potential and use of my life energy?
This book appeals to readers who like guidance that is playfully hectoring. Tone aside, Sadhguru gives accessible descriptions of terms such as savikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhis, ojas, and Prarabhda Karma that are neither overly academic nor spiritual. The book describes esoteric concepts and simple practices with eloquence and stories. Concepts come alive.
Part one challenges the mind’s aversion to death. Part two describes ways to approach exiting the physical body at departure time. Part three discusses what’s after disembodiment.
Embrace life and death in one breath. Be aware each moment the body experiences death at the cellular level. Sadhguru describes life as tension and death as relaxation. He says “if you know the relaxation of death when you are alive, life becomes an effortless process.” When we perceive death, not as an end to life, but as life’s collaborator, we heighten perception and enhance our creative force. Sadhguru should know — he has consecrated Dhyanalinga, built Isha Yoga Center, is the author of many books, started the Cauvery Calling movement to plant trees to increase green cover as a way to nourish soil in depleted lands of India. In achieving all this, he maintains that his silent partner is Shiva, inertia, death.