Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid
We need to prepare the dying for a peaceful departure. Before the preparations remember to shed your ego, pride that I am so and so or I have been so and so. The dialogue in one picture goes like this: “today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s waste paper”! It is true of all of us! There is a Thamizh cine song: arasanum yenge andium yenge, avi ponapin kuduvar enge – அரசனும் எங்கே, ஆண்டியும் எங்கே ஆவி போனபின் கூடுவார் இங்கே – Be it a King in a palace or a beggar on the street, all of them has to be together here in this place where dead lay – The lyricist of this song calls ‘this place’ as the best place that one can ever see where equality, reconciliation and universal brotherhood move around and go in a procession in slow motion with feelings of love and togetherness! – samarasam ulavum edam – சமரசம் உலாவும் இடம்.
The best preparation that I can think of is prayers, meditation. As for the ‘dying’ [all of us included, as some day that end time is going to come] preparations for a calm, undisturbed, peaceful departure, should have begun long back. It doesn’t come all on a sudden. In fact there is a practice to chant ‘rama nama’ or any God name in the ears of the dying or just dead and pour water from river Ganges as that alone is going to help. In the North India even as the body is carried to cemetery all those walking along shout ‘rama nama’ [ram nam sath hai]. Appayya Dikshitar, a great Vedic Scholar unparallel in his time [1554-1626] was a staunch devotee of Lord Siva and Sivadvaita. He experimented himself to know whether, at his end time too, he would be able to chant Lord Siva’s name. He prepared and drank a mixture of herbs to get at the ‘unmatha’ state [a state of frenzy, intoxication, stupor-there is no control over mental faculties] and instructed his disciples to note down whatever he was then doing or saying. It was found he had reached the ninth stage of self surrender in ‘bhakti yoga’, called ‘atma samarpana’. At this unmatha state he rendered five prayer songs, known as, ‘unmatha panchasati’. If one had not remained in communication with the Lord for long what would have come out at this intoxicated state would be just disjointed prattle. Mahatma Gandhi believed strongly in prayers and chose the name ‘Rama’. Even as he was shot he said ‘hey Ram’! Another name that comes to my mind is of Venkatasubramanian [father-in-law of my wife’s brother] who served Indian Railways and lived in Perambur, Chennai. He would see Lord Siva in every stone he comes across. ‘Om Namasivaya’ was his mantra. Even in his last moments of unconscious state he was reciting this mantra and also would open his eyes only on hearing the sound of this mantra. Bhagavt Gita [Chapter VII] 30-Those who know me as the One that governs the material and the divine aspects, and all sacrifices, they with their minds harmonized, have knowledge of Me even at the time of their departure [from here].
End time and God:
Unless one has had constant practice in communicating with the God at the end time one may not be able to call on HIM! It was the practice in the olden times to give everyone the God’s name so that even if you call your kith and kin by their name, you may still get some merit as the name is that of the God! We must also note when we want to pray for someone close to us at their moment of dying, we stand totally confused! Both the person on the death bed as well as we start abusing and cursing God and others! There is confusion here because none of us know for sure as to what are the past effects which have brought about the present condition of suffering even for people who have been ‘extremely good, pious’. And we start thinking that if they finish their sufferings now may be their next birth could be a better one with less or no sufferings. Then what do we really pray for? Do we pray for their liberation, for their present troubles to come to an end; or for their return to normal life? Is it possible at all if they are aged, have multiple health problems and complicated financial and personal situations in the family? The best thing is to pray for that Soul even when they are alive. It is, generally, the practice to pray for the Soul when it has departed! But why not pray for the peace of the Soul when its body is struggling? Why are we again giving importance only to body, forgetting the Soul? Do nurse such a body and mind but remember the Soul too needs help!