No Death, No Life

Even though human beings’ lifespans are getting longer and longer, for me, it’s a blessing if I can die before I get all the age-related diseases, such as depression and dementia. I was sick a lot when I was young. Thus, health is always my main concern. However, as I become older, I realize that no matter how well I take care of my body, disease and death will come sooner or later. It’s simply a law of nature. Just as the elixir of life cannot make us immortal, science and technology cannot make us live forever. In fact, a life without death can be a disaster. As there is no death, there is no life. I learned this from a kid’s fiction book. 

When my son was five years old, his grandfather passed away. To help him go through the process of losing a loved one, I borrowed a few books from the library. One of them, even though I forgot the name of the book, impressed me with a clear message: no death, no life. The story talked about a preteen boy in a small town, and his mother was very sick. One day, when the boy was wandering outside his home, he saw a man in black walking toward his home. Knowing that he is the god of death and is going to take his mother’s life, the boy was so upset and angry that he squeezed the god of death into a shell. 

When the boy went back home, he was happy to see that his mother looked much better. However, when he tried to cook some food for his mother, the boy found out that he couldn’t cut vegetables from the garden or break an eggshell. Furthermore, the next day, when he tried to buy some meat from the butcher, he was told there was no meat available because knives would not be able to cut animals. The boy suddenly realized that when death is contained, life is also gone. He released the god of death from the shell, and the god of death allowed the boy’s mother to live longer. Many years later, when the god of death came again, the boy was able to accept the death of his mother in peace. 

The fictional kid’s story tells us that death is needed for life, a reality for kids to understand. However, I think we all need to understand this reality, as everyone has to face death when the time comes, even gods. In yoga, the warrior pose is named after Virabhadra, who rose as a result of Shiva’s suffering over his wife Sati’s passing. And Shiva is known as the god of destruction. Shiva, also known as the first yogi (Adiyogi), in mourning for Sati, meditated at Mount Kailash. Practicing yoga can be more than just strength and stretching; it can become a journey for spiritual warriors to go through the fire and rise from the ashes; go through death and find peace!


  1. World Health Organization (WHO), Ageing and health, 1 October 2022.
  2. B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga (London: Thorsons, 2001).

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