Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Being aware of death

All of us are certain to die some day. Be he a king or pauper, death is inevitable. It is a leveller. Yet the thought that we too will meet the end one day occurs rarely in our mind. We are afraid of death and the unknown world beyond. We consider it negative, depressing and an unwelcome subject.
 We refuse to think about it and instead search for happiness in material possessions. We get mired in the mundane things to fulfill our desires and gratification of senses. We cling to our loved ones and realize pet ambitions in life. Our valuable life is spent in material pursuits that hardly help us to prepare for the life beyond.
In our busy chase after wealth and fame, there is not much place for others unrelated to us. Unaware that death can be on our doorstep anytime; most of us indulge ourselves in pleasurable pursuits commit wrongs, compromise our conscience and neglect the needy. We lead a pedestrian life without purpose with nothing noble to speak about us after we are gone. Let us leave aside the spiritual aim of life as the liberation from the cycle of birth and death or getting the grace of god. We must answer the question whether our life is intended to be a purely for self gratification or to be lived at least in part for the service of others following a path of right conduct, love and kindness.
I read a story as narrated by Asit M Kaushik in one of his articles. It is a story of “a woman who took her debauched son to meet Buddha. On seeing the youth, Buddha told him that he had just one more day to live. The youngster was shocked, but knew there was little that he could do about Buddha’s prediction. Having realized that time was short, he clung to his mother’s sari, and broke down. He wanted to meet all his family members, friends, neighbours before the end came. With six hours left for his death, he found himself lying on a cot, distraught and disillusioned.
When just three hours were left, Buddha paid him a visit. The youth did not wish to speak to Buddha, but the latter smiled at him and inquired if in the last 24 hours, he had lied or cheated. The youth replied in the negative. Buddha then asked him if he had stolen from or hurt anybody. The youth got irritated and replied how he could possibly think of doing such things when all he was thinking of was death.
Buddha gently patted his head and said “Son, I don’t know who has to die and who has to live, but understanding the ultimate truth can be very enlightening. While you became aware of death only now in the last 24 hours, I have been aware of it for the last 24 years.”

We should be aware of the impermanence of our life and its value to devote each day to right path enriching not only our life but others too to enable us face death calmly without fear when it comes. 


  1. There is great moral in the story you have shared KP. If only we could live like that?!

  2. Thought provoking! Few acknowledge this and thought of death makes one tremulous , higher the attachment greater the proportion. So get detached which I believe would is possible with a effort.

  3. I liked the story, very true, death is perceived as something bad.I have come across old people in their 90 s not prepared for death. For me, I have prepared myself and it is just like changing clothes, leave this body and take some other!

  4. Very good story with a very good message. If only we realise this truth, we will never try to hurt others.

  5. The verse in my mind BG 2.13 dehino 'smin yatha dehe
    kaumaram yauvanam jara
    tatha dehantara-praptir
    dhiras tatra na muhyat
    As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.
    Death is after all just a transmigration of soul.
    Parkishit Maharaj was lucky that he came to know that he was certain to die in 7days and spent it hearing to Bhagvatam and perfected his life and went back to Godhead.
    If only we could be that smart

  6. Read this story many many years back and forgotten it. I am so glad to read it here again.

  7. No one knows when death will take us captive. No one knows what happens after death... True that death is the great reality & also leveller...

  8. If Buddha is a nice person, saint, good person, then why would he lie to that young man and say "you have just one more day to live"? and put him in agony for 24 hours. Later Buddha confessed "I don't know who has to die and who has to live". I think this is just an imaginary story. If it is really a true story, I will have no respect for Buddha.

  9. Death sure is a leveller. And when we become aware of it, we may steer clear of any wrong doing g's or actually indulge in it wholly....that again depends on the kind of person we are, I guess.

  10. yes...life is more than the things with see with our eyes or touch with our hands...