Could there be a book more timely in its publication than ‘Death – An Inside Story’ by yogi, mystic, author, and spiritual master, Sadhguru?
The book’s publication seems almost providential, launched in the early days of 2020, when the Covid-19 virus was just beginning to snake its way out of Wuhan and manifest in various corners of the world, upending the very foundations of human existence and putting human mortality concerns into focus.
But if you ask Sadhguru today whether he foresaw the coming days when he wrote it, he is probably going to guffaw, because anyone familiar with his teachings will know that mortality and the inevitability of death are some of the very foundation stones of his message.
Famous for not mincing his words and addressing issues head-on, even the most esoteric ones, with brutal candor and peppered with his CELEBRATED brand of earthy humor, the book starts with the author’s impish QUESTION: ‘Do you know you will die one day?’ thus setting the tone for an extraordinary treatise, on a subject that most would be reluctant to bring up, let alone write a tome about.
Not Sadhguru; with his astonishing skill to evoke ancient wisdom, juxtaposed with his keen insight into modern, contemporary life, the chapters roll along effortlessly, taking the reader on a fascinating journey, through every aspect of Death.
From ‘The Process of Death’ to ‘Preparing for a Good Death ‘and ‘ Assistance for the Dying’ this book is unmatched, not only for the panache with which a hitherto taboo subject has been unpacked but also for the practical nature of its advice.
Through its pages, we are afforded insights into the Mystic’s own life. From his experiences of spending nights in crematoriums as a precocious young boy to a vivid and poignant description of his own wife Vijji’sMahasamadhi – when she had decided the time and hour of her passing – the book is written in a conversational, chatty style, making it a page-turner, belying the so-called ‘somber’ topic under discussion.
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For instance, chapters on ghosts, past lives and reincarnation are treated with a characteristic lack of fuss or sentiment.
But of course, for all this preoccupation with death, the Mystic, who had set out more than four decades ago with the intention of teaching the whole world how to live joyfully, has his eye firmly on Life and Living.
‘People think that death is a tragedy. It is not,’ he writes, ‘People living their entire lives without experiencing Life is a tragedy.’
And true to his word, as effortlessly as inhalation and exhalation, woven into the fabric of Death, Sadhguru elucidates masterfully on Life. How to live it joyfully, and indeed, how to die with grace and clarity.
Today, as the pandemic rages on and uncertainty and fatalities mount, ‘Death – An Inside Story’ is not only an invaluable but a compelling read for everyone. After all, as the title’s tagline reads, it is ‘A book for all those who shall die’.
After its release earlier this year, ‘Death- An Inside Story’ has been on the Amazon and HT Nielsen bestseller lists and it continues to be widely acclaimed, with readers saying it has helped them embrace the inevitable with a sense of calmness and clarity which they had never imagined possible.
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Have you read it yet? We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts and experience of reading it, and we are excited to tell you that we’re planning to start a series in which we will be sharing reader responses to it. We hope that you will send in your own responses to it too.
If you haven’t read it yet, do let us know how we can help you access it so that you can benefit from this outstanding, not-to-be-missed offering from Sadhguru.
About Malavika –
Malavika Sangghvi is a writer, columnist, and poetess from Mumbai. Her columns have been published in Hindustan Times, DNA India, Mid-Day, Business Standard, and Vogue India.