Is Death Determined by God or by Man?


Respected sir,

My question if answered I am sure will lead a new way for me in the course of self realisation.Is "Death" in the hands of God and a preplanned event or a man is free to take anybody's life or give his life?Is it a God Plan?is the time , place , cause of death is fixed at the time of birth of a "jeeva"(soul) or it is uncertain and death can catch anyone at any moment of time? Plz resolve the query.It is troubling me for past many months? Regards AB

—Aditya Bhargava, India



Your questions are humanity’s ages-old questions.These questions assume a distinction, perhaps a unbridgeable gulf, between God and man.

All great rishis aver that mankind’s capacity for reason affirms our personal and intuitive sense that we posses some degree of free will. Even if the choices we make are necessarily conditioned by many influences (both external as well as pre and post natal habits), we cannot call ourselves human except to the degree we take responsibility for our actions.

God created therefore the law of karma (action and reaction) and its corollary, reincarnation. If we take the life of another, or offer our lives as a sacrifice or in defense of another, there are karmic consequences.

If by wrong living we die at a young age, we cannot blame God or even temptation itself or social conditioning (at least not entirely).

Therefore, it stands to reason that the time of our death is not predetermined, nor is the course of our lives predestined by God or some other external Force.

At the same time, this universe and our souls are the dream of God. Only to the extent we see ourselves as separate must we act in what seems to us as our individual capacity.

To the extent that we identify more and more with our divine, soul nature (and less and less with the body, personality and ego), we begin to act in harmony with the divine will.

The divine will is less concerned with the facts of our life and death and more concerned with inviting our consciousness to expand towards Infinity. Attunement with the divine helps us to face our karma with the right attitude and understanding. It might even mitigate that karma as a consequence of our efforts at divine attunement. This is not interference: this is the proper response of God to our own efforts. It is the process of dissolving the hypnosis of our separateness. Like the dissolution of atoms in an atomic chain reaction, great energy is released (as great effort is required to release it).

When a master or avatar leaves his body in the final samadhi (mahasamadhi) he is not committing a form of suicide. He is not making a personal, egoic decision to leave the body. Instead, being in tune with the flow of divine life force through his physical form, he obeys the impulse of the divine will when it suggests that it is time to leave. The reasons may be unfathomable to the casual witness but would certainly include the karma of people around him.

But in this process there is no separation between divine will and the jiva or life force which inhabits the body of the master. Hence it is only the intellect which views the process as God imposing His will upon the individual soul. The master is in tune with the divine will and obeys its impulses without consciousness of separation.

We must each make the effort to seek truth; to seek God’s presence in our lives and to live more by that grace and wisdom until we become wholly identified with it. Then, as Paramhansa Yogananda put it: “I killed Yogananda long ago. No one dwells in this body but He.”

In God consciousness the distinctions between life and death dissolve in eternal Bliss.

Blessings to you,

Nayaswami Hriman