What causes death-explained by Srila Prabhupada

November 22, 2018 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

Oct 4 1975
Heart attack is not the cause of death
Harikeśa: When people die, though, there is usually some cause. Like they have a heart attack or they get hit by a car or some disease. So that death is caused by the disease…
Prabhupāda: That is not the cause. That is the effect. You foolish, do not know. You are taking it, cause.
Harikeśa: Well, when you get hit by a car, that’s a cause.
Prabhupāda: Just like one man becomes insolvent, loses everything. So he said that “I had no money. Therefore I become insolvent.” But that is not the fact. He could not manage; therefore there was scarcity of money and he became failure. So that is effect. On account of his bad management, he came to a position that he could not pay to his creditor, and his business is failure. So that insolvency is not the cause. It is the effect.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Bhīṣma was able to remain in his body even on a bed of arrows.
Prabhupāda: So when you are going to die, these are the… On account of imminent death, these are the effects.
Harikeśa: But that means that the body breaks down.
Prabhupāda: Hm?
Harikeśa: The body breaks down.
Prabhupāda: At a certain period it will break.
Harikeśa: So that is the cause, the body breaking down.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So you say heart failure is the cause. No. The body is breaking; therefore heart failure.
Harikeśa: So death means the body breaks.
Prabhupāda: No, no. First of all your answer… You say the heart failure is the cause. The man is dying. I say that because the man is dying, the heart is failure. So heart failure is not the cause. It is the effect.
Harikeśa: That’s very difficult…

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Because his karma in that body is running out, he has to leave.
Brahmānanda: But if I can get some machine that will make the heart keep on beating, then the man won’t die.
Prabhupāda: No. That you are failure. You have got so many machines. You go on, keeping the heart going on. That is not possible.
Harikeśa: Finally they just pull out the plug. The doctor kicks the plug one day.
Prabhupāda: (laughs) Yes.
Some Conclusions— Srila Prabhupada has a different view than most of us regarding what is death. In the above conversation the devotees are saying it is heart failure that causes death, but Prabhupada says- No -heart failure is the effect of one about to die. In other words, death is coming to us all, and we have a certain amount of time left in balance, which is measured in terms of breaths, not bodily organs strengths. We don’t see how death is controlled by higher authorities, like Yamaraja, and his assistants, so heart failure is only a symptom of them doing their work of making us leave the broken down body. Because Doctors an others do not see things properly, they are thinking “they” are controlling these things, when in actuality these things called bodily functions are completely controlled by the demigods thru the material nature.
BG 3.27-The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.
Hare Krsna
damaghosa das