Humankind does not wonder often enough at the never ending cycle of birth and death that the earth has witnessed for aeons. Only when something terrible happens to our dear ones do we sit up and attempt to take stock of what exactly we are doing here on this planet. Death is such a stark reality that it makes even the most frivolous of men ponder deeply about life and its real meaning, even if for but only a second.
I lost a friend, Sunil Sharma, recently who was more than a brother could ever have been. His life was such an intricate part of mine that with his sudden departure the unthinkable has happened. He was still young at heart and full of verve as well as a zest for life which had refused to dwindle with the passing years. Yet, in a matter of moments, he was gone, even though he’d been hale and hearty all his life. One look at the faces of his family members and one just had to forget one’s own grief in the quest for alleviating some of theirs. Yet I was struck by the utter futility of a life well lived and the castle of goodwill which had been built up so painstakingly. I realised that whatever we plan for in this world has to have the sanction of the almighty, else it is liable to prove infructuous.
As one’s contemporaries and seniors leave the scene one by one, all one can do is to wonder at what might have been. The purpose of life and its short lived glory numb us for some time, but then we get onto the bandwagon once more, until another such shock occurs.
In the booklet titled ‘Where are our departed loved ones?’ based on the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, departed souls are said to have found a place in the astral world or heaven, which is actually not a far off place, but the fourth dimension which we are unable to perceive behind the three dimensions. To a family member whose heart pains for a departed loved one, the greatest solace comes from being told that it is possible to send loving prayers to his or her soul. No amount of logic or scientific analysis will bring any succor to such a bereaved person. It is only when those consoling him or her speak of sending love and healing vibrations, can some balm be applied.
Life is uncertain at best, often compared to a dew drop on a leaf, which is bound to perish sooner than later. It is thus best to spend our lives pursuing finer aspects of human existence such as love, laughter, kindness, cheerfulness, understanding, wisdom, compassion and brotherhood, than any lesser goals. But then the human mind often revolts in the face of such goodness, and succumbs to the lure of passing pleasures that ultimately sting. As human beings we can perhaps be forgiven if we digress sometimes from the aim of life, which, by all accounts is to find true happiness. The trick is to come back on track before long! Some people also spend years revelling in negativity and self effacing thoughts.
Depression catches up with them and pins them down inexorably. In the celebrated film, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, the main character wants to commit suicide and considers his life worthless. But when by divine intervention he is
given a glimpse of how different the life of his loved ones would have been without him, he realises that he is better off staying alive! An uncle of mine, Col. Ajay Mehndiratta, reminds one and all that while the date of birth can be predicted with near certainty; the date of one’s death is a mystery yet to be solved. He and some other elderly livewires like Mr VK Kapoor, former IPS officer, laugh off the thought of the impending finality that is bound to come knocking one day.
Perhaps we can liken our tenures on earth to a batsman’s innings in cricket. No one knows which ball will get him out. The idea is to play it well as long as the bat is in hand.