Question: You said that at the time of death, we remember important saṁskārasfrom our life. Why is this?
Answer: We have certain attachments in our life. We work and survive because of these attachments. Without attachments, you would feel completely blank. Attachments are of different grades and shades. Some are strong, some are weak and some are of medium strength. Some are positive and some are negative. Your thought process and your emotions are primarily guided by these attachments. When you are not occupied by something external, then these attachments get an opportunity to manifest. Sometimes you may have an intense loving relationship, and that is a very great attachment and your mind is drawn to that. But if you are busy outside because of some work, then you cannot put your mind to that. Yet there may be an undercurrent of that thought, and as soon as you are free from your work, then you immediately start thinking of that. Or when you go to bed and sleep at night, these attachments can come up. As such, one way to study your mind is to study your dreams.
We fear death, because fear is the feeling that you are going to lose something. Whenever you get an idea that you may lose your job, or your husband or boyfriend / girlfriend, you may become fearful. So if you lose your life, you are losing everything: your job, your boyfriend, etc. It is a complete loss; therefore there is complete fear. When you are in that fearful situation, then your natural attachment, meaning the most intense attachment, manifests in your mind. Because attachment is your life and you are now losing it, so you naturally try to hang on to it. If a child is in fear, where does she go? She runs to the mom, because that is her greatest attachment. Similarly, when you are dying, your greatest attachment will manifest in your mind and that will carry you to your next life. This is because that is where you want to be; that is what you are clinging unto. So that is where you go. The story of Ajamila is an example of this.
Question: How do we know where we will be going because of our attachments?
Answer: You can study your own mind.
Question: You mean our attachments?
Answer: The mind is the receptacle of all attachments. This is the real study – studying yourself – which you may not do even if you go to university or college. If you can study that, your education is complete even if you have not been to college. But if you have not studied that, then your education is incomplete even if you have ten degrees.
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Just as food has taste, the emotions also have taste: sweet, bitter etc.