Friday, August 14, 2009


PERTH, Australia - A man who became a quadriplegic after a road accident has been given the legal right to starve to death while watching TV. A court in Perth, Western Australia, granted the suicidal wish of 49 year old Mr Christian Rossiter, who said he wanted to die by not eating or drinking. Once an active sportsman who enjoyed rock climbing, former stockbroker Mr Rossiter told the Supreme Court of West Australia that his condition meant he could not even blow his nose or 'wipe the tears from my eyes.' Chief Justice Wayne Martin said that anyone who stopped giving him nutrition and hydration through a tube to his stomach would not be criminally responsible. The ruling sets a legal precedent in Australia, where assisting someone to take their own life is a crime punishable by life in prison in some States. The judge added that nutrition and hydration 'should not be administered against his wishes.

At an earlier hearing, when he pleaded to be allowed to end his suffering, he described his life as a 'living hell'. 'I'm Christian Rossiter and I'd like to die,' he told reporters later. 'I am a prisoner in my own body. I can't move. 'I have no fear of death, just pain.. I only fear pain.' He explained that he developed spastic quadriplegia as a result of two separate accidents when he fell 100ft from a building and was then hit by a car whilst riding his bicycle. 'I believe quadriplegics should be allowed to exercise their freedom of choice but my choice is to die,' he said.

Asking the court to be given permission to have all nutrition stopped at the nursing home where he is being cared for, he said his last wish would be for painkillers to make him drowsy and to be watching TV 'to make the time pass' before he died. 'I want to say that the painkillers make me drowsy and I would like to be made drowsy in my final moments so the time would pass more quickly,' he told the court, speaking through a tracheotomy tube. 'And I would like to watch Foxtel on the television to pass the time.'

The mind is the mechanism that directs these transmigrations, propelling the soul to newer and newer bodies. The Gita explains, "Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, .. that state he will attain without fail [in his next life]." Everything we have thought and done during our life makes an impression on the mind, and the sum total of all these impressions influences our final thoughts at death. According to the quality of these thoughts, material nature awards us a suitable body.
Srila A.C. BV Swami Prabhupada:
"Coming Back - Chapter 1: Reincarnation, Socrates to Salinger"

Among the most intelligent of men was Maharaja Pariksit, the great king of the entire world, who was accidentally cursed by a brahmana to meet death from the bite of a serpent within seven days. ... When the king was informed of the unfortunate curse, he at once left his palatial home and went to the bank of the Ganges, which was near his capital, to prepare for his impending death. ... The great king, as a worthy descendant of the Pandavas, who were all great devotees, placed the following relevant inquiries before the great sage Sukadeva. "My dear sir, you are the greatest of the great transcendentalists, and therefore I submissively beg to ask you about my duties at this moment. I am just on the verge of my death. Therefore, what should I do at this critical hour?" ... An intelligent man knows that death is born along with his own birth. He knows that he is dying at every second and that the final touch will be given as soon as his term of life is finished. He therefore prepares himself for the next life or for liberation from the disease of repeated birth and death.
Srila A.C. BV Swami Prabhupada:
"The Science of Self Realization - Chapter I - Learning the Science of the Self"

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