Response to "Ethical Dilemmas of Suffering at Life’s End"
Posted July 31, 2012
Rohini Dasi has raised quite important question about the ethical dilemma which many of us will face. How does we want us to die? What is view of Vedic scriptures like Bhagavad-Gita regarding euthanasia or putting pets to sleep?
Bhagavad Gita is clear that you are not this body. Atma or self is eternal and it never dies even though body dies. Whatever one decides should be firmly based on this knowledge! See the self as observer (seer) and body as being observed (seen). Experiences at life's end should be used to go deeper within and experience one's true nature which transcends matter. From that knowledge, one should decide whatever seems right. Decisions might be different based on one's level of realization and faith. Goal should to maximize one's inner peace and equanimity and minimize the effect of external circumstance on one's self. Gita 2.15 states those who are not disturbed by happiness and distress and don't get affected by both are eligible for liberation. It might be difficult to not get affected by disease and pain. But one should try to maximize the state of inner equanimity by focusing on imperishable and eternal self.
My suggestion to Rohini Dasi is to implement these principles in life and then, act based on guidance by Krishna from within. As far as I am concerned, I pray to Krishna to let me die peacefully. Please don't cause suffering to me or to people around me. I understand that my life is in hands of Krishna and I will not prefer to use any artificial means to prolong my life. It does not matter how long I live. What matters is that the years I live are happy and spiritual? At the same time, I will be practical and won't refuse medical treatment if it will help me. These are all personal decisions.
I am sorry that there is no absolute answer. If someone gives you absolute answer, then they are cheating you. You need to decide for yourself. What is right for you! What does Krishna tell you from within? Accept that answer. That answer may change after some time. You may decide something else after some years. That is fine. Don't be scared to get answer from Krishna who is the universal guru and who is closest to you.
Based on your questions, I think you already know the answers. You are looking for some sort of confirmation from others. Be confident about what Krishna is inspiring you from within.
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