11. Quotes from Saints

Scroll Down for Quotes from Sadhguru, Sri Anandamayai Ma, Nisargadatta Maharaj, 
Ramana Maharishi, Sri Ramanuja, Swami Ramakrishna, Swami Shivananda,
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda,
Ram Das, Swami Rama, Chief Tecumseh, Kabir, and more.

“Cremation is a good thing to do, because it closes the chapter. You will see this when there’s death in the family. People are crying and hollering and doing all kinds of things. The moment cremation happens, people will come back home, everything is quiet, because suddenly the truth has sunk in: It’s over. The game is up. 
“This is not just for you (the living), but it is also for the disembodied being who’s just exited, because he’s also in that illusion that he can get back. And that stops. And that’s a good thing. And there (are) many rituals to see that you can somehow put a drop of sweetness into that non-discerning mind (of the deceased), so that the sweetness will multiply manyfold, and they will live comfortably. . . .”  

- Sadhguru Talks, In Conversation with the Mystic, Prasoon Joshi, 
Mumbai, March 2014

Sri Anandamayi Ma

“Birth and Death are chapters in your life story, 
but you are the Immortal River of Life. Flow on!”
                      - Sri Anandamayi Ma

“Birth and Death are chapters in your life story, 
but you are the Immortal River of Life. Flow on!”
- Anandamayi Ma

“At the moment of death one is unable to control one’s thoughts, therefore the mind will dwell where it is accustomed to going and so one has to practice while one is well and strong, in order that the thought of God may come automatically when one is weak and ill ….”
                      - Sri Anandamayi Ma, Kishenpur, 17 June 1962

“At the moment of death one’s thoughts are weighed as it were. One cannot think of anything but that which has been strongest in one’s mind throughout one’s life. For this reason the practice of the presence of God is so important, while one has yet control over one’s mind. . . . The quality of your mind is (also) greatly influenced by the kind of food you eat.”
                      - Sri Anandamayi Ma, Vrindaban, 28 January 1962

           On 17 June 1955 in Solan, India, Ma responded to a question about the death of one’s spouse. She said, "If one (incessantly) mourns and regrets the loss of the worldly enjoyments one had together, it is bad for both the departed and oneself. But if the remembrance is done as an act of worship in which the departed is thought of as a manifestation of the Divine, then that Supreme Reality is attracted both to the departed one and to oneself. If you have this attitude and have your spouse's picture, then it may be beneficial to both of you." 
                      - Sri Anandamayi Ma, Death Must Die by Ram Alexander, 
                          Indica Press, India

 “Do not cry. Lamentations for departed dear ones cause them distress.”
                      - Sri Anandamayee Ma’s advice to the Mukerjee family when their young cousin passed away at Ma’s Raipur Ashram, September 14, 1942  (My Days With Sri Anandamayi Ma by Bithika Mukerji, Indica Press)

“Ever afterward, though the dance of creation change around me in the hall of eternity, I shall always be the same.”
                      - Sri Anandamayi Ma

“Blessed is he who breathes his last breath pronouncing God’s name.”
                      - Sri Anandamayi Ma

“Sense enjoyment acts like slow poison. You are driven thereby towards death. Therefore, it is man’s duty as a human being to get into the current that leads to immortality.”
                      - Sri Anandamayi Ma

"One who commits suicide enters such a deep darkness out of which it is very difficult to be liberated. One may remain in it for ages, unless someone with power has compassion and frees one from it. Suicide is a most heinous sin . . . . The human body is born in order to enjoy and suffer the fruit of one’s deeds of former births. To try to escape from this by suicide is most foolish and only prolongs the agony indefinitely." 
                      - Sri Anandamayi Ma, 1 July 1962

“Now my friend, return to your own house. By lingering on the way you only prolong the agony of having to endure the troubles and difficulties that are met on the pilgrimage. Ever remember that one who tries to advance towards Him and practices His name, His presence, progresses whatever his condition may be. To say: ‘I am not feeling His response’ and therefore to seek pleasure in mundane things, can never be beneficial. Ever bear this in mind.”
                      - Sri Anandamayi Ma, January 1961

Nisargadatta Maharaj
“When a Jnani dies he is no more, in the same sense in which a river is no more  when it merges in the sea. The name, the shape are no more but the water remains and becomes and becomes one with the ocean.”

“I do not look at death as a calamity, as I do not rejoice at the birth of a child. The child is out for trouble, while the dead is out of it. Attachment to life is attachment to sorrow. We love what gives pain. Such is our nature.

“For me the moment of death will be a moment of jubilation, not of fear.  I cried when I was born and I shall die laughing.”
- Nisargadatta Maharaj, From “I Am That”

Ramana Maharishi

           Sri Ramana Maharishi, the greatest South Indian saint of the 20th Century, experienced the death of his ego on July 17th, 1896 at the age of seventeen. He describes those thirty minutes when he spontaneously transcended death, transcended individuality, and became the Universal Self:

           “ I was sitting alone in a room on the first floor of my uncle’s house. I seldom had any sickness, and on that day, there was nothing wrong with my health, but a sudden violent fear of death overtook me. There was nothing in my state of health to account for it, and I did not try to account for it, or to try to find out if there was any reason for the fear. I just felt ‘I am going to die’ and began thinking what to do about it. It did not occur to me to consult a doctor or my elders or friends. I felt that I had to solve the problem myself, then and there.

           “The shock of the fear of death drove my mind inwards and I said to myself mentally, without actually framing the words, ‘Now death has come. What does it mean? What is it that is dying? This body dies.’ And I at once dramatized the occurrence of death. I lay with my limbs stretched out stiff as though rigor mortis had set in and imitated a corpse so as to give greater reality to the inquiry. I held my breath and kept my lips tightly closed, so that no sound could escape, so that neither the word ‘I’ nor any other word could be uttered. ‘Well then,’ I said to myself, ‘this body is dead. It will be carried stiff to the burning ground and there burnt and reduced to ashes. But with the death of the body, am I dead? Is the body ‘I’? It is silent and inert, but I feel the full force of my personality and even the voice of the ‘I’ within me, apart from it. So, I am spirit transcending the body. The body dies, but the spirit that transcends it cannot be touched by death. That means I am the deathless spirit.’

           “All this was not dull thought. It flashed through me vividly as living truth, which I perceived directly, almost without thought-process. ‘I’ was something very real, the only real thing about my present state, and all the conscious activity connected with my body was centered on that ‘I’. From that moment onwards, the ‘I’ or Self focused attention on Itself by a powerful fascination. Fear of death had vanished once and for all. Absorption in the Self continued unbroken from that time on. Other thoughts might come and go like the various notes of music, but the ‘I’ continued like the fundamental shruti note* that underlies and blends with all the other notes. Whether the body was engaged in talking, reading or anything else, I was still centered on ‘I’.

           “Previous to that crises I had no clear perception of my Self and was not consciously attracted to it. I felt no perceptible or direct interest in it, much less any inclination to dwell permanently in it.”

* The Shruti note is a monotone in Indian Classical music that underlies all other melodies.
From page 7 and 8 of The Mind of Ramana Maharishi by Arthur Osborne, 2004, Jaico Publishing House, 121 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mumbai 400 023, jaicopub@vsnl.com www.jaicobooks.com 

           Years later Ramana Maharishi further clarified his experience to a westerner, Paul Brunton, which was recorded in his book, In Search of Secret India, published by Rider and Company, London:

           “The sense of ‘I’ pertains to the person, the body and brain. When a man knows his true Self for the first time, something else arises from the depths of his Being and takes possession of him. That something is beyond the mind. It is infinite, divine, eternal. Some people call it the Kingdom of Heaven, others call it the Soul, and others again ‘Nirvana’, and Hindus call it Liberation; you may give it whatever name you wish. When this happens, a man has not really lost himself; rather he has found himself.

           “Unless and until a man embarks on this quest of the true Self, doubt and uncertainty will follow his footsteps through life. The greatest kings and statesmen try to rule others, when in their heart of hearts they know they cannot rule themselves. Yet, the greatest power is at the command of the man who has penetrated to his inmost depths. What is the use of knowing about everything else when you do not yet know who you are? Men avoid this inquiry into the true Self, but what else is there so worthy to be undertaken?”

           Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi clarified further that: “I was not actuated by any desire to avoid rebirth or seek Liberation or even to obtain dispassion or salvation. I had read no books except the Periapuranam (Tamil scripture), the Bible, and bits of Tayumanavar or Tevaram. My conception of Iswara (Personal God) was similar to that found in the Puranas; I had never heard of Brahman (Impersonal, Absolute Being), Samsara (succession of births and deaths of the soul), and so forth. I did not yet know that there was an Essence or Impersonal Reality underlying everything, and that Iswara and I were both identical with it. Later at Tiruvannamalai, as I listened to the Ribhu-Gita and other sacred books, I learnt all this and found that the books were analyzing and naming what I had felt intuitively without analysis or name.” (Page 13 & 14, Osborne)

           On Friday, April 14th, 1950 at 8:47 PM at the age of seventy, Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi left his body permanently. He reminded those who were mourning his illness: “You attach too much importance to the body.” And later: “They say that I am dying, but I am not going away. Where could I go? I am here.” (Page 191, Osborne)

            From Talks with Sri Ramana Maharishi, Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri Ramanasramam Book Depot, Sri Ramanasramam, PO Tiruvannamalai  606 603, TN  alagamma@vsnl.com, www.ramana-maharishi.org:

           “The essential aim of the Veda is to teach us the nature of the imperishable Atman and show us that we are That.” (page 38)

           “The dead are indeed happy. They have got rid of the troublesome overgrowth — the body. The dead man does not grieve. The survivors grieve for the man who is dead. Do men fear sleep? On the contrary sleep is courted, and on waking up every man says that he slept happily. One prepares the bed for sound sleep. Sleep is temporary death. Death is longer sleep.… why should one desire continuance of the bodily shackles? Let the man find out his undying Self and die, and be immortal and happy.” (page 73, 13 July 1935)

           Ramana to a devotee on the loss of his 3 year old son: “Training of mind helps one to bear sorrows and bereavements with courage. But the loss of one’s offspring is said to be the worst of all griefs. Grief exists only so long as one considers oneself to be of a definite form. If the form is transcended one will know that the one Self is eternal. There is no death nor birth. That which is born is only the body. The body is the creation of the ego. But the ego is not ordinarily perceived without the body. It is always identified with the body. It is the thought which matters. … Let him find out to whom are the thoughts. Wherefrom do they arise? They must spring up from the conscious Self. Apprehending it even vaguely helps the extinction of the ego. Thereafter the realization of the one Infinite Existence becomes possible. In that state there are no individuals other than the Eternal Existence. Hence there is no thought of death or wailing. 

           “If a man considers he is born, he cannot avoid the fear of death. Let him find out if he has been born or if the Self has any birth. He will discover that the Self always exists, that the body which is born resolves itself into thought, and the emergence of thought is the root of all mischief. Find wherefrom thoughts emerge. Then you will abide in the ever-present inmost Self and be free from the idea of birth or the fear of death. . . . 

           “Everyone is aware of the eternal Self. He sees so many dying, but still believes himself eternal. Because it is the Truth. Unwillingly the natural Truth asserts itself. The man is deluded by the intermingling of the conscious Self with the insentient body. This delusion must end.” (page 84, 3 Oct 1935)

           “Again a jnani (realized person) has attained liberation even while alive, here and now. It is immaterial as to how, where and when he leaves his body. Some jnanis may appear to suffer, others may be in samadhi, still others may disappear from sight before death. But that makes no difference to their jnana (pure knowledge). Such suffering is apparent only to the onlooker and not to the jnani for he has already transcended the mistaken identity of the Self with the body.” (page 88, 6 Nov 1935)

           “The fear of death is only after the ‘I-thought’ arises. Whose death do you fear? For whom is the fear? There is the identification of the Self with the body. So long as there is this, there will be fear.”  (page 175, 15 June 1936)

           Ramana Maharishi to a devotee grieving over the loss of his wife: “It is said, ‘The wife is one-half of the body.’ So her death is very painful. This pain is however due to one’s outlook being physical; it disappears if the outlook is that of the Self. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says, ‘The wife is dear because of the love of the Self.’ If the wife and others are identified with the Self, how then will pain arise? Nevertheless, such disasters shake the mind of philosophers also . . . .

           “The wife was away from you when you went to the office, or when you went sleep? But you were satisfied because of your thought that she was somewhere. Whereas now you think that she is not. The difference lies in the different thoughts. That is the cause of pain. The pain is because of the thought of the wife’s non-being. All this is the mischief of the mind. The (mind) creates pain for himself even when there is pleasure. But pleasure and pain are mental creations. 

           “Again, why mourn the dead? They are free from bondage. Mourning is the chain forged by the mind to bind itself to the dead. . . . If the ego persists, the man is afraid of death . . . . Thus the sage is awaiting the casting off of the body. Just as a laborer carrying a load on his head for the sake of wages bears the burden with no pleasure, carries it to the destination, and finally unburdens himself with relief and joy; so also the sage bears this body, awaiting the right and destined time to discard it. If now you are relieved of one half of the burden (the wife), should you not be thankful and be happy for it?

           “Nevertheless, you cannot be so because of your physical outlook. . . . 

           “There will be no pain if the physical outlook is given up and if the person exists as the Self. Mourning is not the index of true love. It betrays love of the object, of its shape only. That is not love. True love is shown by the certainty that the object of love is in the Self and that it can never become non-existent. 

           “Still it is true, pain on such occasions can only be assuaged by association with the wise.”  (page 17, 17 June 1936)

           “So long as the body is considered, birth is real. But the body is not ‘I’. The Self is not born nor does it die. There is nothing new. The Sages see everything in and of the Self. There is no diversity in it. Therefore there is neither birth nor death. . . .
“One is always only in sleep. The present waking state is no more than a dream. Dream can take place only in sleep. Sleep is underlying these three states. Manifestation of these three states is again a dream, which is in its turn another sleep. In this way these states of dream and sleep are endless. Similar to these states, birth and death also are dreams in a sleep. Really speaking, there is no birth and death.”  (page 208, 29 Aug 1936)

           On reincarnation: “Some are born immediately after (death), others after some lapse of time, a few are not reborn on this earth but eventually get salvation in some higher region, and a very few get absolved here and now. . . . You are eternal. The others also will similarly be found to be eternal. Until this truth is realized there will always be this grief due to false values arising from wrong knowledge and wrong identity.”  (page 243, 244, 5 Nov 1936)

           On rebirth: “You do not know what you were before birth, yet you want to know what you will be after death. Do you know what you are now? Birth and rebirth pertain to the body. You are identifying the Self with the body. It is a wrong identification. You believe that the body has been born and will die, and confound the phenomena relating to the one with the other. Know your real being and these questions will not arise. Birth and rebirth are mentioned only to make you investigate the question and find out that there are neither births nor rebirths. They relate to the body and not to the Self. Know the Self and be not perturbed by doubts.”   (page 246, 10 Nov 1936)

Sri Ramanuja (1017 – 1137) 

           Ramanuja spent the last 60 years of his 120 year lifespan at the holy island of Sri Rangam. When it was time to depart his body, the saint approached the deity, Sri Ranganatha, to request permission to let go of the body. The deity finally consented, and Sri Ramanuja assembled his disciples to impart his final words of wisdom:

           “Respect all lovers of God as you would your own Guru. Have faith in the teaching of the ancient rishis. Never be slaves to your senses. Don’t be satisfied with the acquisition of worldly knowledge. Continue to study the vedic texts dealing with the greatness of God. When you are favored by the Grace of God and Guru, then the attraction of the senses will cease to bind you. Treat all your feelings with indifference. Enjoy the utterance of the names and glories of God’s devotees as much as uttering the names and glories of God Himself. He who renders service to God’s devotees, renders service to God Himself, and realizes God quickly.”
                      - Appendix C-III of The Life of Sri Ramanauja by Swami Ramakrishnanand, published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai

Swami Ramakrishna 

“You invested so much in this world. 
What have you saved for the next?” 
– Ramakrishna

           “According to the Gita, you will become in the next life what you think of at the hour of death. King Bharata was very much grieved over his pet deer. He died thinking of his deer. Therefore he was reborn as a deer. That is why day and night a man should practice worship, japa, meditation, and other spiritual exercises. Only then, by virtue of practice will he be able to think of God in the hour of death. If one dies thus, thinking of God, one will acquire the nature of God.”  (Gospel of Ramakrishna, M,  page 820)  

           “You are born as a human being only to attain divine love. You have come to the orchard to eat mangoes. What need is there of knowing how many thousands of branches and millions of leaves there are in the orchard? To bother about what happens after death ! How silly!”  (Gospel of Ramakrishna, M,  page 841)

           “You may think you have no motive behind your work, but perhaps there has already grown a desire for fame and the advertising of your name. Then again, if you are entangled in too many activities, the pressure of them will make you forget God. . . If one realizes God, one doesn’t enjoy anything else. . . He who is a real devotee of God seeks nothing but God. If he finds himself entangled in too much work, he earnestly prays, “Lord, be gracious and reduce my work; my mind, which should think of Thee day and night, has been wasting its power’ it thinks of worldly things alone.”   (Gospel of Ramakrishna, M,  page 671)

           Parting Words of Ramakrishna: “To Narendra (Vivekananda): “Today I have given you my all, and I am now only a poor fakir, possessing nothing. By this power you will do immense good in the world, and not until it is accomplished will you return.” . . . In response to Naren’s yearning for Ramakrishna to reveal his divine nature; Ramakrishna said: “He who was Rama and Krshna is now, in this body, Ramakrishna — but not in your Vedantic sense.”

           Ramakrishna’s Passing on Monday 16 August 1886 at 1:02 AM, He cried “Kali Ma! Kali Ma! Kali Ma!” A thrill passed over His body, His hair stood on end, His eyes became fixed on the tip of his nose,  His face became lighted with a smile, as He entered Mahasamadhi.  (Gospel of Ramakrishna, M,  page 72)  Sri Ramakrishna Math Mylapore, Chennai  600 004, srmath@vsnnl.comm, www.sriramakrishnamath.org

Swami Shivananda

“The phenomenon of death sets the human mind to think deeply…. 
Death is a call to reflect and to seek the Truth, 
the Eternal Totality of life.”
- Swami Shivananda

“Death is nothing but the change of the body. The soul throws it off like a used garment …. The soul in its disembodied form hovers about its original and familiar places for ten days. It is in the form of a ghost (pret) during these ten days. The astral body takes shape from day to day with the formation of the head, eyes and other limbs of the Linga Sharira, fed and nourished by the sesame and water poured out in libation over the stones which represent the ancestors.”
          - Swami Shivananda

The Great Journey - Purgatory
           Puranic literature describes how the soul recollects its subtle body, and then begins its journey as a ‘preta’ (spirit) to the abode of Yama, the Judge. This journey to the next world lasts for one year after death. It is like a dream in which the soul must cross a landscape for twelve spirit days (twelve earth months). The difficulty of the journey depends on the virtues of one’s life on earth. A fortunate soul has the support of his good deeds and the blessings of his relatives, who provide support for the soul’s journey. Gifts to Brahmins on behalf of the deceased benefit both the giver and the deceased. 

Swami Shivananda writes:
           “The soul is fully embodied on the eleventh day. It starts on its journey to the judgment seat of Lord Yama, the God of death. It takes one full year from the time of death to reach Lord Yama’s place. The path is beset with obstacles, distress and difficulties. The man who has done the most wicked deeds suffers more. But the difficulties can be removed and the journey rendered easy and comfortable by the oblations and offerings given by the son of the deceased during the first year of the soul’s journey, and by feeding pure and learned brahmins. The son should offer rice-balls to the father, without weeping.

           “Death is certain for those who are born, and birth is certain for the dead. This is inevitable. Therefore, you should not grieve over it. The ten days’ rites should not be neglected. The son should perform the Sapinda ceremony on the twelfth day and the sixteen monthly offerings. The soul is sustained on its onward march to the judgment seat by the libations offered to it by the son.

           “The soul is scorched on the way by intense heat, but the gift of an umbrella by his son on the eleventh day gives pleasant shade above his head. The path is full of great thorns, but the gift of shoes helps him to go riding on horses. The miseries of cold, heat and wind are dreadful there, but he goes happily along the way by the power of the gift of clothes. There is great heat and there is no water, but the soul drinks water when thirsty through the gift of a water-pot by his son. The son should make a gift of a cow.

           “Chitragupta, the recorder of fact, the accountant-general in the Kingdom of Lord Yama, informs the soul of his good and bad actions in his earthly life after the end of one full year. The soul leaves off its pretatva or the garb of a traveler on this day. He is raised to the status of a pitri or ancestor. . . . He who has done meritorious actions on this earth-life becomes united with his ancestors in the pitri loka and lives with them.

           “Those who have given up the performance of shraddh, tarpana and other religious rites on account of wrong influence, ignorance and egoism have done great harm to their ancestors and themselves. They should wake up now. They should start doing these ceremonies from now. It is not too late now. May you all obtain the blessings of your ancestors through performance of anniversaries and other rites, and regular ancestor worship!”

           “Ancestor worship is one of the fundamental doctrines of Hinduism. There are three stages in the ancestral life, viz., father, grandfather and great grandfather, and mother, grandmother and great grandmother. These are the ancestors to any one living here. He who has done meritorious actions on this earth-life becomes united with his ancestors in the pitri loka and lives with them.”
                      - Swami Shivananda

His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

           Asked if he believed in reincarnation, Maharishi waved a flower and replied, "One carnation is enough." On another occasion, when asked about reincarnation, he said: “We are opposed to it.” (Because we favor liberation.)

           “We should never look back…. We don’t consider the past. It was a stage of lesser evolution. We look forward and forward and forward—moving forward. Surround yourself with people who are running forward. Be in the presence of those who are running forward.”
                      - Maharishi to students visiting India, 2001

           In his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Maharishi states: "Every being is on the path of perfection. Through births and deaths of bodies, everyone is progressing towards fulfillment. No one should grieve over the death of another." (II, 30)

           “Change is inevitable, therefore change should be welcomed for it opens new vistas of life towards fulfillment.” (II, 27)

           “When someone dies, it is because at that point, their karma has become insurmountable in the present body. It is not possible to understand why death had to come when it did, and there is certainly no point in assuming responsibility and guilt. The course of action is unfathomable. However, especially for someone on the path of speedy evolution, the transition is purely evolutionary. They go to the celestial realms, or are reborn almost immediately. 

           “When life leaves the body, it is the breath leaving, like transcending. For one who has been accustomed to this experience (of transcending) for many years (of meditation), the transition is easy, painless, and blissful, not catastrophic. Dropping the body is like letting a bird out of its cage. 

           “Grief is natural. At first, when grief is deep and sharp, these emotions of the family and friends allow the (departed) soul to feel that they were loved very deeply. It is also natural that the grieving should taper off, allowing the (departed) soul to feel that the passing was not a drag on the life of the (surviving) beloved ones, and that they are free to move on to their destiny. It is important to feel positivity and support for the departed soul wherever they be, because our attitude affects their evolution.”
                      - Maharishi, Bhagavad Gita commentary

           When an elderly meditator, Mrs. J. V., passed away, Maharishi sent a personal message to her husband, Mr. D.V. (and through him to friends throughout the USA): "No one should feel any sadness, only happiness from the fond memories of the joyful times we shared with J. . .. She has had a long and good life, full of bliss, a long and fulfilled life, so many years of bliss, a very good life. She was satisfied and fulfilled. She is prepared for any high jump. So we should all wish her a great farewell and let her go comfortably in bliss . . .. Our feelings of warmth with her memory will nourish her and sooth her."
                      - Maharishi, March 23, 1992 message to friends, Washington, D.C.

Sri Swami Brahmananda Saraswati 
Jagadguru Shankaracharya, Jyotirmath, Himalayas

“Nobody can stay here. Every moment keep your luggage packed. 
No one knows when death will call. . . . No matter what is happening, 
we have to quickly leave off and go. So, if you are ready before hand, there will not be much difficulty in leaving. . . .”
- Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, 
Jagad Guru Shankaracharya, 
Jyotir Math, Himalayas

           “Impure food is the very reason that many thoughts occur.... The pure mind goes near to Paramatma, but the impure mind strays into various kinds of feelings. Therefore, keeping your food pure, you should continuously make an effort to purify the condition of the mind. It is necessary to put much attention to the purity of food. If you will eat well and drink well, you will think of God, certainly the mind becomes pure. With a pure mind you can experience happiness and peace, also you can obtain the greatest state in the other world too."
                     - 108 Discourses of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, published by IndicaBooks, Varanasi, 2015; page 209, 210

           “Nobody can stay here. Every moment keep your luggage packed. No one knows when death will call. The warrant of death is like the arrest warrant. One cannot think of appealing against it. No matter what is happening, we have to quickly leave off and go. So, if you are ready before hand, there will not be much difficulty in leaving. . . .”

           “To get a human body is a rare thing - make full use of it. There are 8,400,000 kinds of lives which a soul can gather. After that one gets a human body. Therefore, one should not waste this opportunity. Every second in human life is very valuable. If you don't value this, then you will have nothing in hand, and you will weep in the end.”

           “Because you are human, God has given you power to think and decide what is good and bad. Therefore, you can do the best possible kind of action. You should never consider yourself weak or a fallen creature. Whatever may have happened up to now may be because you didn't know. But now be careful. After gaining a human body, if you don't reach God, then you have sold a diamond at the price of spinach.”
                      - Shri Shankaracharya Upadesh, Amrita Kana 59 of 108

           “In taking birth there is suffering; much more suffering is at the time of dying. In the Shastras it is said that when you die the anguish can be greater than the stings of thousands of scorpions. If one scorpion stings, it is torment to endure the pain. If thousands of scorpions sting then imagine what may be the torment of the period of demise.”
                      - Shri Shankaracharya Upades,h Amrita Kana 10 of 108

           “At the time of death understanding does not remain. At that time it is most probable that the mind will recall that which has been the life's habit. . . .”
                      - Shri Shankaracharya Upadesh, Amrita Kana 11 of 108

           “Whatever man does while living, be it good or bad, it comes to be remembered at the moment of death. At the time of death, remembering the dreadful results of one’s evil actions, the soul starts repenting and hence becomes very sad. Therefore one should always be cautious, such that no sin happens, so that one has no regrets at the time of death.”

           “Worshipping Paramatma (God) is highly profitable. Any amount of time spent on it will get back to you with multifold interest. It is such a type of business, where there is not even a doubt of losing. . . . By gaining Paramatma, everything will become automatic. If you leave Paramatma and try to gain everything else, you will never be able to gain anything. Whatever is gained, will look so little, that you will not feel happy.”

           “If you want to catch the shadow, catch the real thing and automatically the shadow will be in your hands. Leaving the real, if you run after the shadow, the faster you run, the faster it will run away from you. That is why, to run after shadowy wealth and fame is foolhardy. Catch hold of the real - Paramatma - and all these will come by itself to be under your command. Remembering Paramatma is always highly profitable. Whatever time you put into this, you will get back with multifold interest.”
                      - Shri Shankaracharya Upadesh, Amrita Kana 23 of 108

           “The Jiva has been experiencing samsara for many, many births. It is only natural, therefore, that its tendencies have become worldly. To turn its tendency toward Paramatma (God) and away from samsara (worldly life) requires effort. In reality, the aim of life is to stop the mind from involvement with this world. If one engages in the spiritual practice of Bhagavan (God) and in thinking and speaking about Him, the mind will start dwelling on Him, and after some time, it will withdraw from samsara on its own.”

           “In our daily affairs we should adopt a strategy of quickly attending to good works and things related to the divine. Should any wrong thought arise, on the other hand, we should try to postpone it to another time by saying, "I'll do it tomorrow, or the day after next." In this way, wrong action can be continuously postponed.”
                      - Shri Shankaracharya Upadesh, Amrita Kana 83 of 108

           “Being born in human species is the only way out of the prison of birth and death. If one misses this opportunity out of negligence, lethargy and hesitation one is bound to undergo, forever, the plight of birth and death. Hence rise, awake, attain eternal peace and bliss by being in contact with the best of mankind.”
                      - Swami Brahmanandea Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath 1941-1953. These quotes are from a number of sources, most notably Paul Mason's web site http://www.paulmason.info and http://www.srigurudev.net

Swami Vivekananda

“In the great Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, the story is told how the hero, Yudhishthira, when asked by Dharma to tell what was the most wonderful thing in the world, replied that it was the persistent belief of mankind in their own deathlessness in spite of their witnessing death everywhere around them almost every moment of their lives.” (Everyone knows that death will come, but on the deepest level of intuition, we suspect that is not the end.)
                      - Vivekananda, article in the New York Morning Advertiser

Chief Tecumseh
           “So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long, and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”
                      - Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee, Native American

Ram Das
           When asked about communicating with the deceased, Swami Ram Das replied, “What business do you have to talk to the dead? First, see what you have to do for yourself while living. Your business is to find ways and means to liberate yourself in this life and not worry about what has happened to those who have left us.”
                      - The Vision, Vol. 72, No. 12, September 2005)

Swami Rama
           “. . . death, the passageway terrorizes the average Christian. How strange that is! Death is as harmful as casting away your breath in an exhalation.” 
                      - Swami Rama to his disciple, Dr. Justin O’Brien, Walking With A Himalayan Master, page 298

           Kabir Das was living in Kashi up to 120 years. When he knew his lifespan was ending, he went to Magahar to die. The common believe at that time was that if you die at Magahar, you will be reborn as a donkey. Kabir went to demonstrate that such superstitions are nonsense. One’s own purity of mind and faith in God is all that matters.

           “When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”

Jorge Luis Borges
“Time is a river which carries me along, and I am the river; 
it is a tiger that devours me, and I am the tiger; 
it is a fire that consumes me, and I am the fire.”
- Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina, 1899 - 1986

Marcus Aurelius
“You may leave this life at any moment; 
have this possibility in your mind
in all that you do or say or think.”

Henry David Thoreau
"Whenever I have read any part of the Vedas, 
I have felt that some unearthly and unknown light illuminated me. 
In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of sectarianism. 
It is of all ages, climbs, and nationalities and is the royal road 
for the attainment of the Great Knowledge. When I read it, 
I feel that I am under the spangled heavens of a summer night."