Sunday, February 11, 2007

Of death

It's amazing, this universe we live in. It goes thru so much change over time, but deep down at its core are the same driving principles - of virtue and vice, of love and hate, of action and inaction, of birth and death. Funny, they come in sets of two.

Death is a great leveller. It's cold. It's scary (heck - even the uber-brave Saddam Hussein was frightened when the noose was slowly tightened around his neck). There's this huge low that one goes thru when a loved one dies suddenly. It is even worse when that someone was strong-willed, and a wall of support during troubled times.

All humans are ditto at birth and death. Our puranas talk about three phases of human life - childhood, adulthood and old age. These three are indeed common to the whole universe, they are manifested as dawn, noon and dusk.

The Gita talks in detail about these three phases. In fact, this very fact is depicted everyday in the Guruvayoor temple (a famous temple for the Hindus of the world), where the Lord is dressed up as a boy in the morning, as an adult during noon, and as an old person in the evening. Each day is a new beginning, so the Lord goes thru these adornments everyday. No better manifestation of the
cycle of birth and death.

There are several theories about death. What happens when we die? Do we go straight to heaven/hell or do we pass thru steps in between? As per the Gita, the soul is ever-lasting and that the body is just an outfit to be used well and thrown away.

I do not know, and it does not matter to me what happens once I'm gone. What does matter is what I do while I'm here, how many smiles I cause, how many lives I make easier and how many people I care for. To me, a life without service of some kind to others is as bad as death itself.

No way I'm dying before time !