BANGKOK, Thailand (Wireless Flash) — Dying happy is an actual possibility — that is, if you follow one bizarre ritual. Bangkok-based writer Richard Rubacher is researching a weird, “magical” death ritual for his book-in- progress, Kissing Death.
“Santhara,” an ancient practice that originated in India, is the act of preparing oneself for death by fasting and not having any water. This supposedly releases “magical energy” in the body and purifies the mind and soul so that the person can die in a state of total bliss.
Rubacher says the person experiences joyful hallucinations in the process and falls into a permanently “delightful daze.” Meanwhile, their loved ones gather around and throw farewell parties to celebrate their euphoric exit. Rubacher believes people who choose to go this way die with a smile on their face — literally dying happy.
He’s traveling to India in the coming weeks to film people actively practicing “santhara” for a documentary.
So far, 45 people have died this way in 2010.