A wilting rose, wrinkling skin, greying hair – all these remind us of one of life’s most painful truths: impermanence. Death is a fact of life which we can never escape. It happens to everyone – family members, relatives and friends. Yet, we remain in ignorance and self-denial. Why? Perhaps because we are afraid to step out of our comfort zone, preferring to live in an illusion where we feel time is never-ending.
Life has many phases, each of which must end in order to give way to the next. Endowed with a human body whose main purpose is to realize God, we find ourselves surrounded by a myriad of worldly distractions, and soon forget the reason of our existence. The external trappings of life are like quicksand that we sink deeper and deeper into, becoming attached to our body and considering it our own – we lose sight of our true identity. Saints often tell us to be attached with a detached attitude – a difficult feat to accomplish when we are thrust into a world teeming with new discoveries every day. Our mind is fickle. When our hair turns grey, we go to a beauty salon and apply chemical products to look younger – never mind the harmful effects they may cause to our health. When we see wrinkles and sagging skin, we turn to anti-aging creams and resort to artificial methods to avoid looking old. When our eyesight dims, we prefer to wear contact lenses instead of glasses – we do anything and everything in an effort to retain our youth.
Modern age, science and technology have opened so many new doors of innovation. Man has gone to the moon and back, and made phenomenal headway in cryogenics, robotics and cloning. But, in spite of this knowledge, science has never been able to conquer death. Our human existence is but a brief sojourn, our passage on this earth is temporary. We are in transit, endlessly waiting to board the final leg of our journey back to our soul’s real home.
It is necessary, therefore, to let go and move forward – face our fear of the unknown and break out of the shackles of this physical existence. We are fortunate to be blessed with the guidance of the perfect Master. As we persevere in our simran and bhajan, the seed of Nam that he has planted within us will blossom, and he will guide us through. Where love exists, so does obedience. By adhering to the path he has set out for us, and sincerely dedicating ourselves wholeheartedly to our duty, we are working towards a smooth transition.
A wilting rose, wrinkling skin, greying hair – every experience and every relationship comes with an expiry date, and in the end we cannot take anything with us – not even our own body. But come to think of it, what is wrong with endings? Ultimately, if we sincerely practise the Master’s teachings, we are preparing ourselves for a new beginning – to become one with him forever.
Death is not to be feared. It is only the name given to the phenomenon of the soul leaving the body. After discarding the physical body, the soul ascends to the astral, causal and higher regions. Death is merely the withdrawal of the soul from its gross coverings and its entrance into finer regions. It is merely giving up the present garment, namely, the body. It does not mean annihilation. There is life after death, although we may not be able to see it.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, The Dawn of Light