Modern medicine determines death by neurological criteria, but various religious groups may have reservations. For example, orthodox Jews require all vital functions to fail and do not consider a patient breathing on a respirator as dead. What is the Hindu physiological criterion of death?

  • I think the criterion is stop of a heart function, but right now I don't have a quotation from some Hindu scripture to back up that. Dec 25 '16 at 9:26

Physiological criterion of death is provided in Shreemad Bhagvat Purana (Canto 3 Chapter 31 Verse 44 & 45) The answer is given by "sage Kapila" , Who is proponent of "Sankhya Philosophy". The topic of this chapter in which it's describe is - SB 3.31: Lord Kapila’s Instructions on the Movements of the Living Entities.See Here

जीवो ह्यस्यानुगो देहो भुतेन्द्रिय मनोमय:।
तन्निरोधोsस्य मरणमाविर्भावस्तु सम्भव॥44॥

jīvo hy asyānugo deho bhūtendriya-mano-mayaḥ tan-nirodho ’sya maraṇam āvirbhāvas tu sambhavaḥ

Meaning - In this way the living entity gets a suitable body with a material mind and senses, according to his fruitive activities. When the reaction of his particular activity comes to an end, that end is called death, and when a particular type of reaction begins, that beginning is called birth. SB 3.31.44

And the exact and Precise criterion of death is given in next verse

द्रव्योपलब्धिस्थानस्य द्रव्येक्षायोग्यता यदा।
तत्पश्चत्वमहंमानादुतत्पत्ति र्द्रव्यदर्शनम॥४५॥

dravyopalabdhi-sthānasya dravyekṣāyogyatā yadā
tat pañcatvam ahaṁ-mānād utpattir dravya-darśanam

Meaning - When the eyes lose their power to see color or form due to morbid affliction of the optic nerve, the sense of sight becomes deadened. The living entity, who is the seer of both the eyes and the sight, loses his power of vision. In the same way, when the physical body, the place where perception of objects occurs, is rendered incapable of perceiving, that is known as death.SB 3.31.45

Here what Sage Kaplia telling us is , "The subtle body ,mind and various body parts (Indtiya, इंद्रिय) remains attached until a jiva attain moksha or liberation.This gross body is a place where jiva(soul) experiences material pleasures.Both this Gross & subtle bodies when gets united its called Birth and When these gross and subtle bodies stops working in unity then its called death.

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    That doesn't answer the question! The question was about criterion that determines when phenomenon of death occurs, such as stop of a certain bodily functions. Dec 25 '16 at 9:02
  • @brahmajijnasa - Yes , I know that.But i think that topic ( such as stop of a certain bodily functions) is more related science of Ayurveda.Also you can see that according to modern medicine also body & mind are closely related.So IMO we can't seprate mind from body.In that sense my answer is correct. Dec 25 '16 at 9:11
  • I don't say your answer is not correct, I'm just saying that it doesn't answer the question. The question was about criterion that determines when phenomenon of death occurs, such as stop of a certain bodily functions. In your answer you didn't say anything in this regard. You just said "Gross and Subtle bodies stops working in unity". But that's very broadly said. Asker of the question didn't want such an answer. See his question above. Dec 25 '16 at 13:02
  • Also you quoted from the vedabase.com ... that's not the Gita press version. Dec 25 '16 at 13:17
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    @brahmajijnasa His answer is absolutely correct. Stopping of bodily functions has nothing to do with death. Yogis can stop their organs at will and yet continue to live as if nothing happened.
    – Pinakin
    Dec 29 '16 at 8:02

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