Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid
Cause of Death
It is said that Lord Yama won’t take the blame for any death. Lord Yama will only take the life out of you! Then why and how does one die? There are various causes like accidents, act of God, adulteration, animals, debt, diseases [innumerable], disgrace, jobs of hazardous nature, land-women- wealth [மண், பெண், பொன் ஆசை], loss of money and dear ones, love failure, politics, pollution, suicide, sun-stroke, terror, war. They are innumerable and endless! In Mahabharatha Lord Kirshna lists out reasons for Karna’s death. The least and last of it is Arjuna’s arrow! Karna was already killed and dead by so many others; like: Lord Indra getting Karna’s kavacha [armoured shield] removed, Parasurama’s curse on knowing that Karna impersonated as a Brahmin, Karna’s chariot getting stuck due to a curse, Karna’s chariot warrior King Salliyan deserting him, his mother Kunti taking a vow that Karna would use the Nagastram on Arjuna only once and Lord Krishna help Arjuna avoid the Nagastram used once. Here what one can find is that mostly Karna himself is responsible for getting himself killed in four out of six reasons! Lord Yama is given a fearful look riding a wild, ugly buffalo with the Pasakayiru பாசக்கயிறு [a cord, string of ‘attachment’] to pull the life out. Why the cord has the adjective ‘attachment’? Simple, our attachment to material life is so strong!
Turning good on death
It is only in death that we all find something good or a lot of good things in the dead! We in fact tend to invent ‘those good’ which were not there in that dead! Very rarely, yet, someone may speak the ills too even after one is dead. They were cowards not to talk those ills to the dead while the dead was alive and kicking. Whereas at the same time they were speaking all that ills to all others!
Ignorance of this knowledge, because of attachment, becomes the cause of grief on death. Grief thus is only a state of mind, feeling caused by the attachment. Death by itself, therefore, is not the real cause of grief. We see ‘deaths’ occurring around us. Yet we refuse to learn. We think we are smart. In fact we deceive ourselves. We use our ‘intellect’ and find umpteen number of reasons and excuses not to learn. We are adept in justifying our weaknesses. All these we do only to satisfy the demands of life, the ego in us which is impermanent. From Bhagavat Gita: [Chapter II] 11-Thou grieves for those whom thou shouldst not grieve for, and yet thou speakest words about wisdom. Wise men do not grieve for the dead or for the living. 27-For the one that is born death is certain and certain is birth for one that has died. Therefore for what is unavoidable, thou shouldst not grieve.
Death of animals, birds
Animals and birds too show their emotions on death. There was a sparrow nest in our house at Ahmedabad. The mother sparrow died and quite unusual to its clan, the father sparrow looked after the chicks till they could fly away. On the bank of Tapti river behind our house at Surat buffaloes would get stuck in the mud, could not be retrieved and die. The rest of the buffaloes would not move, will stand around the dead buffalo till it is removed from there. We all must have seen similar sentiments being expressed by crows and elephants. I happened to watch a dog delivering pups. Any pup ‘still born’ or dead gets the most attention from its mother and every effort is made by the mother to revive!
Death – Crying
Does the child cry on birth realizing the certainty of its death? It is fun to note that while most of the religions celebrate and feel happy at a birth and grieve on death, the Mohammadens [or who?] are supposed to cry at the birth and feel happy at death. Is it true? If true, then Mohammadens [or whoever] have the right understanding and are doing the right thing. But is it practical? Is any community really doing it or has done it?
Death – Tribute
Great leaders and men [in every field of arts, commerce, politics, religion, science, spiritualism etc] make an impact even after many hundreds of years of their death. They are remembered and tributes paid both by sincere seekers, followers and by hypocrites and pretenders. These days, in politics and even in religion you find more hypocrites and pretenders than at any time of human history! The statues erected by these hypocrites are uncared for and unattended and are the bathrooms of birds! Such hypocrites and pretenders pay only lip sympathy. If someone would shed a drop of tear on one’s death that would be a great tribute to that life more than any word. The great tribute to whom one you revere is to make a sincere attempt to understand his philosophy of life and live by it.
Swami Vivekananda says “Only those live who help the needy, others are more dead than alive”. One is dead when one takes to begging when one can otherwise lead a normal life. No age bar for death to attack you. One dies even before birth, a still born baby! A girl child fetus is killed right in the womb!
The first was of a Congress Leader in Thiruchendur. If I remember right his name was Meganathan. It was in one summer afternoon. I must have been around 8 years old then playing with friends. Meganathan was coming back home walking in the hot sun. When he saw us playing around on the street, he called us and asked us to fetch a ‘soda’ from the shop at the end of the street. There was stiff competition who would get the soda first. We got the soda and rushed back to his house. He was lying on an easy-chair and was dead, his mouth slightly opened. None of us knew he was dead. We opened the soda and tried to pour the soda into his mouth. The soda didn’t enter his mouth but was falling out. My house was just the next house and we rushed to my mother, Meenakshi, who instantly knew Meganathan was dead. Later in Vilathikulam in the opposite row a few houses past one old lady died. I [aged about 10 years] and my friends had a problem crossing that house and going further down the road, fearing that the dead may encounter us! The poor dead lady never did that! Similarly just behind our house in Vilathikulam one boy committed suicide by hanging in a ‘kodukkapuli’ tree [known variously as Guamachil, Sweet Tamarind, Manila Tamarind]. The tree was just hanging over the open latrine of our house. Imagine the fear I had for many long months going to the bathroom everyday! He was of course a nice boy and never thought of troubling me or anyone else in the house! I saw my uncle [father’s younger brother Ramakrishnan] passing away in great agony in the hospital where I was sitting by his side. My co-brother Seetharaman was seriously ill, was put on ventilator and all hopes lost. His children took the tough and difficult decision of removing the ventilator and brought him home at Hyderabad. We were all by his side, painfully looking at him, as he took his time [a few hours since removal of ventilator] to breathe his last.