Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Nothing in life is as certain as death. Everything living is bound to die one day. We appear on the world scene only to disappear after a short span of time. This is the cycle of terrestrial life. Finally a time will come when even the earth would cease to exist. Indeed, nothing physical can escape the march of time and remain fixed in its place without decay, death or transformation. This is settled by Nature.
The transient and ephemeral nature of life is a universally known existential reality. Yet we are hardly bothered about it, and we continue to live as though we are here forever. We try to “make hay while the sun shines”.
We spend our lives as we please. The world is all the time with us. We tend to give free rein to desires and ambitions so much so that they sometimes extend out even beyond the confines of death encircling us. Plans and programmes are laid out years in advance when no one is sure of what is going to happen tomorrow. We construct huge buildings and palatial homes that outlive us by many, many years.
The way we hanker after life is the central weakness of our life. It is because of this that we are so afraid of death, of what is predestined and so inevitable. It keeps us always restless. It prevents us not only from acting decisively during critical moments but also from enjoying the pleasure and excitement of undertaking bold adventures in life. It is the root cause of many of our setbacks due to ego, greed, pride, hatred, dishonesty, ostentatious living as against simple living.
All these things cause problems and misunderstandings. They tie us down to the earthly plane and do not allow our imagination to soar high above to catch a glimpse of sublime truths and beauty at higher planes. They are, therefore, major obstacles in the way of great artistic creations. It is because we have staked everything on life that we are so incapable of living.
If we believe in the universal truths advocated by most religions, a belief that starts with self-realisation, death is not an end but the beginning of a new life. It is rather a point of transformation. The world we enter upon death is different with an altogether different set of requirements and standards. It is eternal and exists in both space and time. It is not discernible to us as the world we now live in was nowhere in sight when we were in our mother’s womb, protected and secure.
What are the norms and requirements by which the dead are going to be judged? This is a question we ask ourselves time and again. We must find out the answers and transform our lives in the light of their revelations, if we are not to jeopardise our chances in the life hereafter.
The wise man, as the prophets say, is the one who remembers death and keeps himself in a state of preparedness to face this eventuality. Death might then be an occasion for rejoicing rather than one of sorrow and repentance.