Friday, December 17, 2010


Disclaimer- This is not a philosophical post but something that recently happened to me and I am just articulating those thoughts!

DEATH- DELIVERY OF EXTREME AGONY TO OTHER HUMANS!!- This is how I expand “death” given the limited words that I know in English language! But more importantly, death is something that nobody has conquered so far and cannot conquer in our life time. It is so easy to see, visualize, understand how, why death happens everywhere but when it happens in your family or in your close vicinity you come to terms with this beast! It is so sudden that everyone is dumbstruck and mind numbing- It is like as if you are hanging in air after having a controlled life so long. All your controls are gone the moment you hear the news of death of someone who is closer to you!

You feel that you have achieved everything but cannot achieve anything in front of death coming to you. Given this lingering thought, I have some philosophical questions [ofcourse introspective]:
  • Why do we have super-ego’s when someday it is going to be crushed and turned in to ashes?
  • Why do we hurt others when they will be engulfed someday?
  • Why do we want to amass so much when it is of no value while one is facing death?
  • Why do we do anything and everything to acquire a title or a designation when death does not care to wait for that relevant title?
  • Why are we killing ourselves before getting killed? That is the million dollar question that came to my mind when I encountered death of one of my close family. The shock is sudden and very prevalent that it numbs the mind for some time and you start thinking about the statement, “Life happens when you are busy with other things”. Today a lot of stress happens in work place and outside of work place and I think it’s not worth the trouble! A lot of marriages are broken because time is a precious commodity and people don’t have it. Is it all necessary?

Long back, I saw one hallmark card in the US that had a sky and a lake in the front of the card- The image on the front card was very serene and the second portion said, “the best things in life are not things”. Thought-provoking by itself, we never tend to enjoy leisure and always try to be in a race which we think we have won but in the end have lost it completely. Lot of folks have argued with me that this line of thinking is taken by “losers”. :-)). Don't get me wrong- I am not advocating to be non-ambitious and take leisure seriously as we will be perishing one day. Thats not my point and thats the skeptical line of thinking after reading this post. My point is to balance our ambitions with basic goodness of life. Well, at the end of day, you lose something and gain something- I think whatever you earn in life is meaningless if you don’t have “goodwill”. Rest of your earnings are useless and are of no value- The only thing that will remain is the “goodness” of your heart and how much of difference you have made to others in terms of any little action. It can be financial, educational, social but we need to make a start-Time is ticking and we all will have this “delivery” of death and there will not be any effort or schedule over-run with this!!

I started this blog on a pessimistic note and am ending with an optimistic note stating that all of us have limited time and it’s important to help others in need in whatever way one can. Let’s bring more smiles amongst other humans as the moment will never come and we all have to contribute that bit!


Pradeep Raghunathan said...

Nice post Prakash. Death sure is a leveller. Death of a near and dear one teaches you much more about life than anything else in this world.

Mouli said...

In the book "The Great Indian Dream", Arindam Chaudhuri talks about important things in life.

Towards the end, he discusses a point about the important aspects like love, compassion etc as against measuring ourselves only against material wealth. And categorically explains that the more we "consume" "intagibles" like love, the more our happiness increases; the more we consume material things, the more our happiness decreases or eludes us.

What's special is not the idea itself, but that it came from a man who's successful in society even in material terms, and still keeps himself aware of this.

Your post now reminds me of that.

Varun said...

Interestingly, I was having a conversation with someone just yesterday on the futility of people single-minded on pursuing just money, power, fame, etc. We did agree that these (especially money) are important to have but certainly not 'hoard', and that these weren't the be-all-and-end-all of things. Life is more about the way you impact others' lives in a positive way, and you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned 'goodwill'.

Sridhar said...

Good one Prakki. The problem is - our perspective of time is pretty messed up.

If we are able to perceive small time intervals, we get to experience the beauty of things and non-things around us, typically small things that bring a smile to our face.

If we are able to perceive the very large time intervals, we can appreciate the creation and the futility of our actions in the nature.

Sadly, our perspective of time uses a few year window, which is the lifetime of the super ego.

Vinod Kankaria said...

Everytime I attend a funeral, I become very sad and my mind throws too many questions, like the ones you have stated here... but as time passes by, I tend to forget those questions and I get back to my normal life and running the daily race of life.

I guess we have to keep reminding ourselves that we would die one day and that "goodness" is the only thing which will come along.

hezedgodson said...

Good post Prakash.. I experienced the same when I witnessed one of my close friend's dad died and my Granny's death in August. I thought of having a post on that.. but I was not well versed like you to write in a optimistic way.. :)

Rajeswari said...

Good post.

Whether it comes to ego or hurting others, I think anything really matters when it comes to crossing ones limitations. By limitation, I mean each person has drawn a line at some point or the other about life. In general, anything that falls within this line doesnt affect the person. So there is no question of ego or hurting someone. When someone tries to go beyond the line we have drawn, we dont seem to accept that and thus comes the question of ego or getting hurt. If we try not to have any expectation or a pre-notion about anything however silly they are, but accept anything as they are, in my experience, there will be no place for ego or unhappiness.

People usually are so bound with their emotions and the surroundings that each one has a limit-line drawn. Will you agree with me if I say something that sounds unreasonable to me, may sound very reasonable to you? Do you see the point? The line we have drawn on our limitations vary, that is why this difference in views, agree?

I would like to quote a small anecdote. We all know a rose plant. Where there are no flowers, people seldom go near it as they fear that the thorns may prick them. When you see the first flower blooming, you cannot stop people from going near it to see it beauty and smell the fragrance. But that doesnt mean the thorns are not there, they are still there in the plant. But it is okay for the people now as they want to see the rose rather than the thorns. If only every individual tries to be like a rose plant, there would be no ego, no worries, no fights..nothing at all. There will be joy everywhere.

Rajeswari said...

Some more....
Why do we do anything and everything to acquire a title or a designation when death does not care to wait for that relevant title?
Why are we killing ourselves before getting killed?

Well. Acquiring something whether a title or a designation is purely again individualistic. Some do it out of compulsion, some do it out of joy, and some cos of some other reason. On the whole, we are all here to live a life about which we do not know anything. We are all running and struggling towards something that is very materialistic and doesnt have real value. Rather, if only we can think about our inner self, start inspecting what kind of a being one is, our way of thinking etc etc, I think we all will be a very very happy individual. We will not be bound by any commitments and we surely will see that life in our eyes has a totally new perspective. You will start enjoying every bit of it.


All what I wrote above is based on my experience in life. But for death, I would like to quote from Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev's - "There is nothing called as Death. It is and life everywhere. It is just moving from one dimension of life to another. "

Now, can we rephrase DEATH to DEBT which means you have acquired this debt called as body from the earth and one day you give it back to her when she requires. That means, who are you? You are not the physical self, what you say as you is only a big chunk of food that you ate all these years!

So until it is time for all of us to pay back the debt, why not be a joyous person?

I completely agree with you on the importance of help to needy people.

Dave said...

sorry for your loss, Prakash. Sadly, we often need these reminders to keep what's important on the front burner instead of the back one. Did you happen to read my last blog post? Similarly themed.

Bala said...

Wonderful post Prakash. Good Insight. Simple and powerful.
Would like to quote an annectode here.
Once a saint happened to cross a funeral ceremony, he sat along with the people and started crying, a guy in that crowd asked him, 'Ji, why are you crying? you are neither his kin nor his kith, but his death has moved you so much and you are shedding tears for him. How great this dead man would have been?' For that the saint smiled and replied, 'Son, I am not crying for him, I am crying for you people who are sitting and crying for a dead person without knowing that you are going to be dead one day and not doing what ought to be done with this life'.

Death is not the end of life, it actually has the potential to change a person's life, Death Experience is what that turned Venkatraman into Ramanamaharishi. If contemplated, Death could be the best teacher ever.

Naarayan said...

I know its tough realization but as long as we can even realize for a moment that death is a death of only the physical body..and can for a second understand that all that we go through..worries, tension, anger, happiness, joy..are all a part of the emotions that this body goes through.. though we will forget it.. I think if we can realize it at some point of time in our life for a few moments we should be fine.. for many years I think the word "Death" is kind of a scary word in all our households.. as Raji quoted earlier.. as long as we realize that death is just another dimension of life.. we will enjoy our lives to the hilt and also welcome death..another dimension of life in a much more peaceful manner..

Kasiviswanathan RM said...

Expectation is one of the major cause for human suffering. Conceptually can you ever find a person with everything that you want in him? So this is the problem. We want life continuing, but we want today to be like yesterday, tomorrow to be like today, if it is good. So we are going around creating a composite of the various things that we liked in various people and places and situations in our childhood. This is the problem with human suffering. Not that things by themselves are capable of causing us suffering, but because we expect things from them, which they cannot give us. And this is the whole thing behind prejudice, human prejudice, religious bigotry, and all these things

Prakash Gurumoorthy said...

Folks- Thanks so much for your insightful comments. In fact I got so many pointers from many of you..

Aarohi said...

I was reading a book on the similar lines and one of the statements that really touched and left an impression was "Only that which cannot be taken away by death is real. Everything else is unreal, it is made of the same stuff as dreams are made of - Osho"

Aarohi said...

I was reading a book on the similar lines and one of the statements that really touched and left an impression was "Only that which cannot be taken away by death is real. Everything else is unreal, it is made of the same stuff dreams as are made of - Osho"

Guru said...

Hi Prakash,
Our heartfelt condolences on the personal loss. May the soul rest in peace.

The scriptures say at the time of someone's death who has been dear to us, a strong wave of dispassion occurs in us (Who are sensitive) which is called 'Karana Vairagya'--dispassion because of an event/reason. This dispassion will instill in us a flash of thought about life, death, meaning of life etc. and once we overcome the loss after sometime, this dispassion also fades away which we can very evidently see as the time goes. However, death is a phenomenal experience for those who are open to learn from it. Though its an inevitable end of the current life, it for sure has the capability to strengthen us as a personality but, the person should be strong minded and open enough to receive it as an experience than get shattered by it forever.

Easier said than followed, this is possible only if we have had an experience of losing our physical identity ourselves either in prayer or meditation or sleep, for, sleep and meditation are akin to death where we lose our physical identity but the full force of 'I'as an awareness remain.

May the divine bless you with all the strength to overcome this loss and may time be the best healer!!!