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Psychological Effects of Death of A Loved One

Grief, we must understand, is on many different levels. Somebody close to them died somewhere, and they will feel this, because, within the body, there is a certain process. Because what you call a parent, is the basis of this body, there is a very deep memory connection between the two.

Death simply means somebody who was available to you is now absent, that's all. It is not because one life vanished, you are crying about it. It is just that somebody who was, you know, filling a part of the college for you is absent, so it leaves a hole in your life.

Depending upon how close they were, accordingly, it leaves that big a hole in your life. So what you are battling with is not the death of a person, what you are battling with is the size of the hole they have left in your life. Suppose faraway, relative or a friend, somebody that you know, an acquaintance, died, tch, you feel bad for an hour, and then you get back to normal, but somebody very close and dear to you passed away, now they have left a huge hole. So your problem is, you trying to tend to this hole which is, within yourself. This hole has happened essentially.

Psychological Effects of Death of A Loved One
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Now what I say may sound a little brutal for people who are in that situation, but one must understand this. If you look for solace, yes, if somebody comes to me who has just lost somebody dear to them, I will also hug them and you know, protect them and give them some solace. But you must decide, whether you want solace or you want a solution to your life. Because today this person will die, tomorrow that person will die, day after tomorrow I may die myself. It doesn't matter. But people keep dying because we are dying kind of people. Let us understand this. All of us, we are dying kind of people.

The first thing that must be fixed in our minds, we are mortal by nature. So having said that grief, we must understand, that it is on many different levels. There is psychological grief, in thought and emotion, you suffer the loss of a person. But depending upon how much memory you have built within your body with regard to that person; let us say if it's your child or your husband or your wife or some kind of very close bond, then a certain amount of memory is there in your body.

We call this traditionally in yoga. Yogic culture as runanubandha, that this body has developed a bond, beyond your psychological friendships and companionships and love and whatever else you have, the body itself has done this. A whole lot of people feel this, somebody close to them died somewhere, they have not received any information, suddenly they feel their energies are gone and you know, they are like. They don't know what has happened, but suddenly they are almost sick.

They are feeling like that, completely drained out. Then after a few hours or a few days, information comes that this person is dead, but well before the information came, they will feel this, because, within the body, there is a certain process, that the memory starts undoing itself and you feel like you are dumped. 

Your runanubandha with your parents or with your children is strongest till you are twenty-one years of age. Once you cross twenty-one years of age, it is called the first quarter. In the yogic way of looking at it, eighty-four is the cycle of life. The first quarter is twenty-one. Up to twenty-one, if you lose a parent or if you lose a child, below twenty-one years of age, the pain will not just be emotional, it will be physical. It will manifest in the body because there is a strong runanubandha. But beyond twenty-one, it is largely psychological and emotional.

When we say runanubandha, what you suffer emotionally or psychologically, that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about physical memories. Bodies have memories. Because what you call a parent is the basis of this body, there is a very deep memory connection between the two that is at its strongest at twenty-one years of age. 

Once you pass that, it is weakened. Is it gone? Not totally gone, weakened. Let us say you are forty-two years of age, and you are a man, then you still have a reasonably painful runanubandha. But let us say you're forty-two years of age, and you are a woman, your runanubandha is almost negligible, not that it is not there, it is there, but very, very low. So, the suffering that you go through is largely emotional and psychological. If you are psychologically very stable and emotionally balanced, you will see you will handle it quite effortlessly, because there is no physical turmoil going on in the system.

But the same thing, if they lose their husband, that runanubandha is physically painful, because that is a different type of runanubandha. A child below seven, seven-and-a-half years of age doesn't have much runanubandha. The mother and father may have enormous runanubandha, but on the other side there is not much runanubandha- this is not just for psychological reasons.

A child below seven, seven-and-a-half years of age doesn't suffer much and doesn't go through the turmoil physically. May suffer, because of not being taken care of and you know, that kind of situations if they are there. I don't want to go into the detailed mechanics of what it is. But if you are over forty-two years of age and you are a woman and you lost a parent- this is why in this culture, women are not required to do karmas.

Karma is done for the dead. Not so much for you, but if you are below twenty-one years of age, it’s very, very important you do it because it is both for the dead and for you. It is very important for you, because the person who died, died, whatever happens, happens; but your life can be in constant turmoil because there is a physical memory that torments you at a different level.

Even if you are mentally stable and emotionally very balanced, still there is a certain torment going on within you. For this, there are yogic processes with which you can rejuvenate the system, there is a whole system of things to do. Here at the yoga center, we have kept it very alive. For people who lose their loved ones, we do certain processes so that the physical memory is taken away. Once the physical memory is taken away, the psychological suffering can be dealt with by the individual person, much more easily.

How to perform karmas and kriyas for dead, if you are not able to physically do something? The simple thing is to go into a three-day period of sadhana. Because internally you can do this, beyond a certain age it is largely for the dead that we are doing it. But there is an element of that, it is not totally gone. Our bodies are never one-hundred percent free from the genetic process that we have received from our parentage. There is a way to be above that, but we are not absolutely free.

Physical body functions in a certain way. So, just three days of withdrawal and a certain type of sadhana, if you don't know anything else, simply just do the Mahamantra "Aum Namah Shivaya" intensely, for three days as much as you can. A minimum of four-and-a-half hours a day if you do this, you don't have to really bother about that, because it is also nice to withdraw, it is a sensitive time, but now deaths and funerals and what happens post-death are all become social nonsense, that you have to have people at home, you have to serve them drink, you have to serve them food.

You know this, in the Western countries it's become a big thing. Even in India, certain kind of thing is building up. It is best that you just withdraw from society and nonsense and spend some private time. When somebody significant in your life passes away, it's important that you withdraw and do something with yourself, rather than simply trying to run the social thing like a distraction.

This social thing is people's way of handling their grief is, "Let’s go to the movie, let’s read a book, let us watch the television." Don't look for distractions. When there are troubles within us, we must address them head-on. Don't look for distractions, distraction is not a solution.