Thoughts on Death
‘There was a door to which I found no key,
There was a veil beyond which I could not see;
Talk awhile of thee and me there was,
Then no more of thee -or me.’”
“‘Into this world and why not knowing,
And like water willy -nilly flowing …
A fact of life. Yet one talked about in hushed, frightened tones. Something which happens to others. And we mourn the dead- knowing fully well that by that time it’d not make a twit of difference to them ! We also mourn for the living – for the ” troubles” they would face, perhaps. Knowing fully well that just a few days later they’d be carrying on their lives as usual.
I am sure all of us contemplate death at some time. Particularly when we see a near one ” depart ” – either suddenly or after years of illness. Death then laughs in our face, and yet again we know that finality. And again, after a short while, move on !
While my father was being cremated I met a Pujari and started talking to him. Turned out that he was a retired Government School teacher, who, about 10 years ago and after the death of his wife , just started coming to the cremation grounds and now was there daily, helping with chores and ceremonies. He was facing every moment a reality which, to him, was the ONLY reality.
Couldn’t argue with that !
Does religion makes accepting death easier ? And what happens after Death ? Or should we be even concerned about that – concentrating instead on a ” good ” life ? What then is a good life – one of virtue- in penance seeking ” enlightenment” whatever that could be ( or of a better next birth ), letting go of all desires ( and by the way, isn’t that a desire too ? ) – or one of pleasure since this is the only life I am aware of ? And can there be a reconciliation of the two apparent extremes of penance and pleasure ?
Well, as for me I am still confused/undecided ! Let me know your thoughts !
How To Live & Die
Had found an article supposedly written by Khushwant Singh. He died of natural causes on 20 March 2014 at his Delhi-based residence, at the age of 99.Not sure if article hereunder is true but makes a LOT of sense to me generally. Here it is – and I see I still have some struggles at hand !
Your thoughts ?
” I’ve often thought about what it is that makes people happy—what one has to do in order to achieve happiness.
1- First and foremost is good health. If you do not enjoy good health, you can never be happy. Any ailment, however trivial, will deduct something from your happiness.
2- Second, a healthy bank balance. It need not run into crores, but it should be enough to provide for comforts, and there should be something to spare for recreation—eating out, going to the movies, travel and holidays in the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money can be demoralising. Living on credit or borrowing is demeaning and lowers one in one’s own eyes.
3- Third, your own home. Rented places can never give you the comfort or security of a home that is yours for keeps. If it has garden space, all the better. Plant your own trees and flowers, see them grow and blossom, and cultivate a sense of kinship with them.
4- Fourth, an understanding companion, be it your spouse or a friend. If you have too many misunderstandings, it robs you of your peace of mind. It is better to be divorced than to be quarrelling all the time.
5- Fifth, stop envying those who have done better than you in life—risen higher, made more money, or earned more fame. Envy can be corroding; avoid comparing yourself with others.
6- Sixth, do not allow people to descend on you for gossip. By the time you get rid of them, you will feel exhausted and poisoned by their gossip-mongering.
7- Seventh, cultivate a hobby or two that will fulfill you—gardening, reading, writing, painting, playing or listening to music. Going to clubs or parties to get free drinks, or to meet celebrities, is a criminal waste of time. It’s important to concentrate on something that keeps you occupied meaningfully.
8- Eighth, every morning and evening devote 15 minutes to introspection. In the mornings, 10 minutes should be spent in keeping the mind absolutely still, and five listing the things you have to do that day. In the evenings, five minutes should be set aside to keep the mind still and 10 to go over the tasks you had intended to do.
9- Ninth, don’t lose your temper. Try not to be short-tempered, or vengeful. Even when a friend has been rude, just move on.
10- Above all, when the time comes to go, one should go like a Person without any regret or grievance against anyone.
These are also his views :
Khushwant had often spoken of this hypocrisy in our society – “Why death is rarely spoken about in our homes? Why? And this when each one of us knows that death has to strike. There’s this line from Yaas Yagana – ‘Khuda mein shak ho to ho ,maut mein nahin koee shak ( you may or may not doubt the existence of God ,but no one can doubt the inevitability of death).And one must prepare oneself to face it .Once I’d asked the Dalai Lama and he had advised me meditation , to meditate on this but I would introspect about death-what happens once you die, where do you go ,what’s next. No I do not believe in the reincarnation and nor in the rebirth theories and nor in the concept of day of Judgement or heaven or hell. Being a rationalist, I do not accept irrational, unproven theories of death, rebirth in different forms as an unending process till our beings mingle with God and we attain nirvana . No , none of these theories for me .As far as I am concerned I accept the finality of death, we do not know what happens to us when we die .”
( from http://www.speakingtree.in/article/khushwant-singh-on-death )