Do Good People Die Early?


Guruji, thanks for answering my question on living with Karmic Scars.

Guruji, I have another question, I have been observing from my childhood and with many cases, I have a firm beleif that people who are good die early. Is it so? I knew many people who were very good human and died earlier than normal age. Can you pour on some light on this? Thanks Rajesh

—Rajesh, India


The answer to this question is based on the laws of karma and reincarnation.

It may be that the “good” souls you have seen who died early had worked out much of their karma in past lives. Perhaps they came into the present life to work out some last bit of karma that was holding them back. This might be a reason for them seeming to be “good.”

But it’s also very difficult to say who is good and who is not. From the outside people may show an exterior that is quite different from who they are inwardly. A gruff exterior is sometimes simply a way to keep other people from bothering you. A number of the spiritual stories I’ve heard both from India and the West portray some great saints and yogis as having a harsh exterior for this very reason.

And sometimes the seemingly “good” people may be only those who are lacking in energy. One story that Swami Kriyananda tells in his autobiography The New Path is from when he was in charge of the monks at Yogananda’s ashram in Los Angeles, California. At one point he accepted a man who seemed “good” to come and live at Mt. Washington with the monks and to try their way of life. When Yogananda heard about this decision, and knew who the man was, he was not pleased. When Kriyananda asked him about this, one of his comments was, “If you could only see the karma!” (of this man).

In any given lifetime, a person may have reincarnated to work out some particularly unpleasant karmic pattern or habit. It may appear in that lifetime that they are far from good because of this. But true goodness is better determined by how close you are to the Divine; by how much love and devotion you have for God, and by how much energy you put into your spiritual life. Sometimes these are things that it may take time to see in a person. You may need to get to know them well before they are more obvious.

True goodness does eventually manifest as purely sattwic qualities such as calmness, devotion, joy and bliss, deep love for God, and non-attachment to name a few. They are the kinds of qualities that determine true goodness on the spiritual path.