Foreknowledge of the time of death is one of the different types of Spiritual Power or siddhis outlined in the Vibhuti Pada (Book III) of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. People may shrink in fear when they hear someone talk about death. I guess this is normal, but I remember something that the Dalai Lama once said in an interview that totally changed my own views about death.
He said that he’s not that much concerned about dying. In fact, when he thinks about it, he somehow feels excited. What's more is that he said dying is just like taking off your old clothes. Since the clothes we wear (physical bodies) get worn out as we grow older, sooner or later we have to die so that we can put on a set of new clothes.
Well, if that’s what it’s like to die, then I don’t mind staying naked for the rest of eternity. I'm not the kind of guy who gets easily impressed by appearances, you see, and most of all, I hate shopping. But of course, that’s just me.
So how can we gain foreknowledge of the time of our death? The answer is stated in the Vibhuti Pada (Sutra 23) of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
“Sopakramam nirupakramam ca karma tat-samyamad aparanta-jnanam aristebhyo va”
"Karma is of two kinds: active and dormant; by performing Samyama on them (is gained) knowledge of the time of death; also by (performing Samyama on) portents."
— I.K. Taimni, The Science Of Yoga
"The effects of action may be immediate or slow in coming; observing one’s actions with perfect discipline, or studying omens, yields insight into death."
— Chip Hartranft, The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali
"The works which fill out the life-span may be either immediately or gradually operative. By perfectly Information prepared by the concentrated Meditation on these comes a knowledge of the time of the end, as also through signs."
— Charles Johnston, The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali: The Book of the Spiritual Man
Attaining Foreknowledge Of The Time Of Death
Foreknowledge of the time of death can be attained by performing Samyama Meditation on the Crown Chakra. The Crown Chakra, also called Sahasrara or "the thousand petalled lotus," is the highest chakra or psychic center which symbolizes the threshold between the psychic and spiritual realms. It is located at the crown of the head. The Crown chakra represents the permanent state, the pure and unchanging state of energy and consciousness, the state of inner effulgence or enlightenment, and the threshold into a new dimension. The reason for performing Samyama on the Crown Chakra can be understood if you study a few additional concepts.
Karana Sarira (Causal body)
Karana means “cause” and sarira means “body.” The causal body is the principle or causal element which brings about the reincarnation of an entity. When you are in a deep dreamless sleep, you are in your causal body. You just cannot remember the experience because the ego or the "I" is not present in that state. In other words, nothing is keeping track of what is happening there.
It is said that the causal body is where you can find all the seeds of Karma which fructify in the present and future lives. You can only work with this body once you have mastered the workings of the Crown Chakra and attained inner vision. Once you are successful with this endeavor, you can then begin to investigate the Prarabdha Karma which will give you knowledge of the time of your death.
The Three Kinds of Karma
There are three kinds of karma according to Hindu philosophy: kriyamana karma, samcita karma, and prarabdha karma.
Kriyamana is the Karma which is generated from day to day. Some of this is exhausted right away while the remainder goes to swell the accumulated stock, the Samcita.
Samcita is the accumulated karma of the past, and is partly seen in the character of an individual, in his powers, weaknesses, and capacities. It is in Samcita where you can find all that was produced in your many incarnations. All your tendencies come from this.
Prarabdha is karma which is ripe for reaping and which cannot be avoided; it is only exhausted by being experienced. At the time of your birth, a portion is selected from the Samcita Karmas and this becomes Prarabdha. This is then energized and starts to fructify when you begin your life in your new body. In short, this type of Karma is responsible for the tendencies that manifest in your present life in the physical world. When these tendencies are exhausted, it simply means it’s time for you to move on to the afterlife.
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