CLASSIFICATION OF DEATH
From the standpoint of its psychic after-effects, death can be classified into three broad types, (1) normal, (2) abnormal and (3) supernormal.
Normal death follows an illness which ultimately renders the physiological functioning of the body impossible. Generally it involves some kind of warning to the individual, for, if the illness is severe, he often anticipates that death is at hand. Although by no means true of all deaths caused by illness, when the individual has some anticipation of impending death he usually has a chance to tie up loose ends and prepare his mind for this new crisis.
The second, or abnormal type of death is that which results from accidents, murder, war and suicide. In accidents and murder there is generally no anticipation of impending death. Being unexpected, death involves in such instances a shock which can shatter the very roots of the sanskaras seeking expression through the physical incarnation of the individual.
In unanticipated accidental death, the ordinary ego-mind has a moderate tendency to gravitate towards the gross sphere and cling to it because of the ego-mind's attachment to the gross world.
In anticipated (abnormal) death, when resulting from murder or war, the ego-mind can become bound to the gross world by the chains of unfulfilled revenge. There is less tendency for such binding to occur in death due to war, than in that resulting from murder. In war the combatants on both sides are often impersonal in their actions, and aware that they are fighting for some cause, rather than through personal enmity. If this awareness is clear and steady, death in war does not yield the mental reaction of revenge....
The third or supernormal type of death consists in leaving the body voluntarily. This is done by the advanced yogis who wind up their earthly careers after fulfilling their mission, much as the student locks up his text books after passing examination. The supernormal or voluntary death of the advanced yogi is definitely anticipated and willed, but is entirely different from suicide insofar as motives, results and manner of leaving the body are concerned.
LISTEN, HUMANITY, pp. 98-99, 101, ed Don E. Stevens
1982 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust