All of us are certain to die some day. Be he a king or pauper, death is inevitable. It is a leveller. We see ever so many of our kith and kin passing away and are aware that none can escape it. Yet the thought that we too will meet the end sooner or later never occurs in our mind. We are afraid of death and the unknown world beyond. We refuse to think about it and instead search for happiness and relentlessly work for acquiring material possessions. We get mired in the mundane relationships to fulfil our desires and gratification of senses. We cling to our loved ones and pet ambitions in life. The entire valuable life is squandered away in useless pursuits without any effort to prepare ourselves for the life beyond. We commit innumerable wrongs and lead a life without compassion. We do not contemplate on the consequences of our actions and the need to escape from the cycle of birth and death.
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 realised 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 could he 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 in the last 24 hours, I have been aware of it for the last 24 years.”
We should value our life and devote each day to right path to enable us face death calmly without fear