Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Two Aspects of Death


After all to the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure’ – Albus Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone.

Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The gray rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it… White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.’ – Gandalf, in The Lord of The Rings.

Just as surely as man embarks on his life involuntarily to spend sometime in this guesthouse we call world, he must ultimately confront the painful and frowning face of death when the scroll of his life is rolled up. Whatever comes into existence must traverse a path leading to death.

In the recent past, I have come across many instances involving death or suffering of some kind to a person I know or to myself. I take up a romantic projection of this sign and here I am writing about death.

So, question time now. If this world is a guesthouse what then is the purpose of this life? Is life restricted to this present terrestrial existence, which stretches from the moment of birth to the moment of death? Alternatively, is it true that beyond this existence an eternal morrow awaits man? Dr. Carrel says, ‘The answer given by religion to the anxiety man feels when confronted with mystery of death is infinitely more satisfactory than that given by science. Religion gives the answer his heart desires.’ (You have your chosen religion. It will give you the answers if you wish to look there)

Death, we all know, is inevitable. Considering this logically there are two aspects of death.

► If we conceive of death in the life of the possibilities of annihilation, then life – under whatever circumstances it is spent – will be full of misery and pain, for the anticipation of annihilation and non-being arouses dread in man.

► The second vantage point is that of a person who finds refuge in the concept of a world beyond nature, which enables him to place this world in perspective. For such a person, death is simply the breaking of the confining cage of the body and his being liberated from it, entering thereby and ideal and enrapturing realm.

The bitterness and unpleasantness of leaving this world are seen as natural and inevitable by those who imagine that their passage through the wall of death spells an end to all dimensions of their existence and that there is no life beyond that frontier.

As I had quoted a few days ago, ‘Life is temporary. Death is permanent.’ This means, those who believe that quitting this world matter is a form of progress and ascent in the direction of infinity, the countenance of death loses for them its horror and awe.

Such an understanding of the nature of death impels man to pursue pure and exalted aims. In view of such a person, man has a two-dimensional life; the one is his material life, in which he is subject to biological circumstances and social necessities, and the other is his inner and spiritual life, a life in which he engages in though, inventiveness, creativity and the cultivation of ideals.

In the hope that people do not stop living and start waiting for death after reading this, I wish you all a safe and happy life!

After all, sab moh maaya hai! :-)

Stay safe!