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Thread: Euthanasia

  1. #1
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    Euthanasia

    Facts:

    1. Netherlands is the only country which has assisted 'suicide laws' on its books. The attending physician may assist with the 'termination of life' if he follows a set of procedures, without the fear of being punished for this act.

    2. In US, the states of Oregon, Washington and Montana have state 'Death with dignity' laws, which allow only the residents of those states to request medication for a 'self induced euthanasia' under the guidelines spelled out by the law. The doctor will not assist with the suicide by administering the lethal medication, but will make it possible for the patient to acquire it.

    As Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the pioneer of 'death with dignity' efforts in the US passed away this morning at a Michigan hospital, my thoughts turned to the 'end if life' issues. Should sick humans be made to suffer as their lives are stretched out by modern technology/medicine? No one blinks when a suffering animal is put out of its misery; why should it be any less for us? Scriptures may not be able to fully guide us on this issue as back then, there were none of the toxins in existence to cause the horrible modern day diseases, and neither were the extra ordinary means available to prolong the agony of the suffering elderly by keeping them alive longer, sometimes in a vegetative state. Any thoughts on that?

    -
    Last edited by Believer; 04 June 2011 at 07:19 AM. Reason: To improve the readability

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    Re: Euthanasia

    Vannakkam Believer: This was a somewhat related thread, albeit short. I know there's more but I couldn't find it. http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...t=living+wills

    I admire The Netherlands progressive stance. I'm not sure if I fully agree, but its certainly better than keeping someone alive in a vegetative state for as long as possible.

    Aum Namasivaya

  3. #3

    Re: Euthanasia

    Namaste

    Here is a vedic dhArmic article on the subject:
    http://www.krishna.com/euthanasia-ending-pain

    If i understand correctly , the term refers to "doctor-assisted-suicide" ? It is still a suicide. And suicide results in ghost , the kAraN sharir of mind + intelligence + false-ego (ahaMkAr) suffers even longer as a consequence.

    Is it correct to say that not giving / stopping medical treating is different from doctor-assisted-suicide ? Then the person is at least dying a natural death.

    For instance there are so many advanced cancer patients who refuse to undergo chemotherapy and they are given that right. This is different because they die a natural death as destined.

    Would it be wrong to say that any cure for anything long-term should be somewhat close to natural remedies, rather than using advanced technology first and euthanasia in the end ?

    praNAm
    Last edited by smaranam; 03 June 2011 at 07:46 PM.
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

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    Re: Euthanasia

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    I admire The Netherlands progressive stance. I'm not sure if I fully agree, but its certainly better than keeping someone alive in a vegetative state for as long as possible.

    Aum Namasivaya
    Quote Originally Posted by smaranam View Post
    Namaste BelieverJi

    Here is a vedic dhArmic article on the subject:
    http://www.krishna.com/euthanasia-ending-pain

    Is it correct to say that not giving / stopping medical treating is different from doctor-assisted-suicide ? Then the person is at least dying a natural death.

    For instance there are so many advanced cancer patients who refuse to undergo chemotherapy and they are given that right. This is different because they die a natural death as destined.
    I watched, literally watched my mother die of end-stage ovarian cancer. That is, I was in the room when she took her last breath and opened and closed her eyes for the last time.

    For weeks before that we saw her waste away and vomit so much dark green matter, and saw it collect in the hollow of her collarbone and neck, that it took me several towels to clean her. I'm sorry for the graphic image. She had refused chemo and said to the nurse she wanted to die now. But we have no law to permit that. We should.

    Now, the Terry Schiavo case. I was very much in favor of taking her off life support. If there was any activity even in the lowest primitive part of her brain, it would have kept her alive. There wasn't and it didn't. Her family was just in denial of the inevitable.

    Extraordinary measures to preserve existence but not life = no.

    Terminal illness with the person first having stated their wishes for euthanasia = yes.

    Someone correct me if I have this wrong, but even Lord Krishna told Arjuna that the body is mortal, the soul is immortal. The Lord told Arjuna to do what he had to do for the greater good, and if that including slaying his relatives, so be it. Isn't ending a terminal patient's suffering for the greater good of the patient and the family?

    I'm no scholar, but my opinion is that when the body's end is near, but not letting go, the soul must be suffering and needs to be set free. Again, just my opinion and belief. Do take with a grain of salt.
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ

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    Re: Euthanasia

    Namaste,

    Iam in complete agreement with Dr Kevorkian and the concept of euthanasia in general, it is a shame the kind doctor was briefly imprisoned for helping a severely ill patient with his last wish- to die in dignity at a time and place of his choice. People should be given a chance to end life in dignity, and merely prolonging a human body’s life makes no (hindu) religious sense. It is common knowledge that Annamaya Kosha (body) is just a temporary abode and that atman leaves the dead body to acquire a new one and recommence punarjanma (rebirth). No king/govt has ever interfered with when a revered hindu monk chose entering mahasamadhi in the past, and hopefully in the future the policemen of human rights don’t challenge their religious right. That said, Iam not sure if Hinduism has allowed ordinary hindus to adopt mahasamadhi practice. Citing their magnanimous example, we ordinary hindus can make a case for euthanasia and boost the ongoing legal battle to draft a bill to make it our constitutional right..

    (mahasamadhi is a standard practice adopted by gurus for centuries, wherein they undertake self chosen 'fast unto death', they refuse to take medications, water or food. Typically swamis take that position when they realize that the time for atman’s departure has come. By and large they are aged and their weakening bodies don’t complement their higher intellectial faculties. Their bodies are now more of a nuisance than an asset. Even younger swamis can resort to mahasamadhi once they know they are afflicted with some nagging prolonged illness that interferes with their ability to do what they love most, which is to meditate and attain bliss internally)
    Last edited by charitra; 04 June 2011 at 08:54 AM.

  6. #6

    Re: Euthanasia

    Namaste

    Points i was trying to raise boil down to this:

    Euthanasia is a very broad term. We are talking about voluntary euthanasia (obviously) or one where it is truly good intentioned but the person is not in a position to give permission.

    Passive euthanasia
    Passive euthanasia entails the withholding of common treatments, such as antibiotics, necessary for the continuance of life.

    Active euthanasia
    Active euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces to kill and is the most controversial means.

    - wikipedia.

    Passive euthanasia is the right one IMHO.
    Active euthanasia can potentially give rise to ghost-subtle-body (kAraN sharir) as i understand, which multiplies the suffering of that jiva N-fold. Ghosts also then inhibit places they have been and try to possess live human bodies.

    That is why i ask - why use artificially advanced technology in the first place, if it is going to make passive euthanasia difficult ? I am sure there is more to this.

    Neither is like maha samadhi as there is no dhyana yog process involved, but passive euthanasia seems to have the effect closer to maha samadhi and seems to be the only right kind.

    BG 8.23: O best of the Bhāratas, I shall now explain to you the different times at which, passing away from this world, the yogī does or does not come back.
    BG 8.24: Those who know the Supreme Brahman attain that Supreme by passing away from the world during the influence of the fiery god, in the light, at an auspicious moment of the day, during the fortnight of the waxing moon, or during the six months when the sun travels in the north.
    BG 8.25: The mystic who passes away from this world during the smoke, the night, the fortnight of the waning moon, or the six months when the sun passes to the south reaches the moon planet but again comes back.
    BG 8.26: According to Vedic opinion, there are two ways of passing from this world — one in light and one in darkness. When one passes in light, he does not come back; but when one passes in darkness, he returns.
    BG 8.27: Although the devotees know these two paths, O Arjuna, they are never bewildered. Therefore be always fixed in devotion.

    Real uttarayana (path of light) acc. to saints, is fixing mind on Bhagvan irrespective of the time of year and day.

    praNAm
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

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    Re: Euthanasia

    Quote Originally Posted by smaranam View Post
    Here is a vedic dhArmic article on the subject:
    http://www.krishna.com/euthanasia-ending-pain
    This article is an interesting read.
    Is there a chapter and verse of the shastras available to back up the statement - 'By karmic law, one who commits suicide becomes a ghost.' ?

    "The soul’s term in the human form is a type of captivity. How long he stays captive and how much he enjoys or suffers depend on his previous acts." - Could a terminally ill person choose to take his share of unfinished karmic suffering in a healthier body in his next reincarnation?

    Actors merge 95% of their personal identity into the character they are playing, but hold back the other 5% to control that 95%. Similarly, we average humans may accept 95% of what the shastras say, and hold back the acceptance of the rest of the 5% subject to our intellectual filter. We basically like to weigh some of the concepts through our thinking/experiences/exposures and come out with statements like, 'IMHO ....', 'I believe that ......' and so on. We are either incapable of accepting everything from the scriptures, or our ego tells us that we can make a better 'informed' personal decision based on inputs from the shastras and 'real life experiences'. Therein lies the problem with accepting everything that is so well described in the article referenced above. When a 'Swami' goes beyond taking a position based on some 'scriptural referenced' material, and starts attacking the medical profession, the politicians and the 'godless' society, he looses some of his credibility. And what about the claim that the desire to seek out these 'assisted suicides' have been necessitated by the technology which will not let them die. The doctors have a vested interest in keeping them alive, as it brings in $$s.
    -
    Quote Originally Posted by Minotaur View Post
    Someone correct me if I have this wrong, but even Lord Krishna told Arjuna that the body is mortal, the soul is immortal. The Lord told Arjuna to do what he had to do for the greater good, and if that including slaying his relatives, so be it. Isn't ending a terminal patient's suffering for the greater good of the patient and the family?
    Sorry to hear about the way your mother had to suffer towards the end of her life.
    Your interpretation, quoted above, makes sense to me. But, I am sure it can be 'twisted' a hundred different ways to suit one's position.
    -

  8. #8

    Re: Euthanasia

    Quote Originally Posted by Minotaur View Post
    Now, the Terry Schiavo case. I was very much in favor of taking her off life support. If there was any activity even in the lowest primitive part of her brain, it would have kept her alive. There wasn't and it didn't. Her family was just in denial of the inevitable.
    Namaste,

    Taking off the artificial life support is OK because it is passive euthanasia. It is not suicide because it is taking away what was added artificially. This is what i was saying in both the posts.

    Active euthanasia means actually injecting a lethal substance into the body, and that interferes with the soul's path acc. to the article.

    I am very sorry to hear about your mother. I pray to KrushNa to give me strength to read this thread, as i have never taken part in such conversation before.

    And what about the claim that the desire to seek out these 'assisted suicides' have been necessitated by the technology which will not let them die.
    Precisely, so why have the technology that artificially prolongs life and then euthanasia later ? If something has to be legalized and made the norm, it should be the movement towards a treatment closer to natural life process rather than active euthanasia.

    Jai Shri KrushNa
    Last edited by smaranam; 04 June 2011 at 11:29 PM.
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

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    Re: Euthanasia

    Quote Originally Posted by smaranam View Post
    Namaste,

    Taking off the artificial life support is OK because it is passive euthanasia. It is not suicide because it is taking away what was added artificially. This is what i was saying in both the posts.

    Active euthanasia means actually injecting a lethal substance into the body, and that interferes with the soul's path acc. to the article.

    I am very sorry to hear about your mother. I pray to KrushNa to give me strength to read this thread, as i have never taken part in such conversation before.
    Thanks, yes it's a really terrible thing to watch someone die.

    I read your post and understand. I never considered that maybe opting out of this life and commiting suicide for whatever reason is not fulfilling karma. Maybe it's that person's karma to have to endure whatever physical, emotional or mental pain and illness until their karma is fulfilled.

    This raises some questions that plague every faith. That is, how theologians interpret and comment on scriptures.For example, Christians take the Hebrew bible, the Torah, and think they have a full command on what it says. Yet Jewish scholars, for whom it was written study it deeper and say the opposite of what Christians say.

    Not to split hairs, but if we believe that a soul can reincarnate into anything, isn't it just as wrong to terminate a sick animal's life thereby "cheating" its karma? Well, maybe not since the animal can't make the choice and maybe it's destined to be sent to its next life by its humans. OK, maybe I'm going way out there now.

    As Believer said, and it's true, any quotation can be twisted or manipulated to suit one's beliefs or need. Shakespeare said even the devil can quote Scripture to his purpose.

    I don't foresee assisted suicide becoming legal in the US any time in the near future, though if it does, it will be up to believers to decide, then accept the consequences.

    It's a mess in the making.
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ

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    Re: Euthanasia

    Quote Originally Posted by Minotaur View Post
    Not to split hairs, but if we believe that a soul can reincarnate into anything, isn't it just as wrong to terminate a sick animal's life thereby "cheating" its karma?
    Vannakkam Minotaur: Not all Hindus believe that. I don't. I believe that there are a couple of circumstances where humans, because of karma, could become animals that are close to humans, but that's it.

    I like to think that nature should take its course in these matters. Prolonging life with intrusive methods is a boon to science not humanity.

    it is said that aged Inuit people just went for a long walk when they were no longer useful to the group. No doubt it was the individual's choice.

    Aum Namasivaya

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