The world waits to die, with baited breaths, always conscious of the elephant in the room.
And so it squanders away lives which are not yet fully lived!
But imagine a world without death – imagine yourself living a million years.
A million years!
Your brain would be filled with so many prejudices, that you would stop accepting anything new.
Your experiences would be your enemies – they would guard the gates to your mind and not let in any new experiences.
All the wonders of life – adventure, mystery, surprise, anticipation, hope, desire, fear, anticipation – they would have become meaningless, as they would have lost their charm, their mystery and their uncertainty.
Your bodies would carry all the aches and pains of a million lives.
Would you want such a life?
Imagine now that you were to remedy these little problems that accompany longevity – how would you go about it?
First of all, you would get new bodies every few years.
Then, you would get new brains, or rather, get the same brains, minus the clutter, the prejudices, the junk.
In effect, you would seek to be the same person, with new bodies and new brains, carrying the best forward, shedding the useless.
Well, exactly my friend.
Nature seems to have figured this out for herself long ago, when she invented these creatures called living organisms – she planned this renewal and propagation through a process called procreation!
Through procreation, the old dies, and the new one that replaces the old carries forward the best of the old.
It carries it forward in new bodies and fresh minds. The bodies and minds carry forward the best of the parents, through the genes that have taken part in their creation.
It would not be incorrect in that sense, to consider our children as being us – only, they are improved versions.
So celebrate death for it is but a release from the old, the useless and the irrelevant – celebrate your progression through your children, who carry the best in you forward. You continue to live through them.
As additional comfort, understand, that those abstract creatures called words and actions – well they never die!
Ever tried to kill an action or a word after it is released? Try it to realize the impossibility of it!
Gandhi is still as much around as he was when he walked this earth. Hitler still harangues us through the pages of history, to warn us of what might be if we are not careful. At a closer level, my grandmother, bless her soul, is still around through my dreams, through our family conversations and through her pithy one liner pearls of wisdom (“apna ghar te hag hag bhar” – “your own home is always yours, to shit in as you please!”).
If that is her, then who was it that passed away? Surely it was only her old, withered body and those ideas of hers that had failed the test of time..
And who am I, if not a better versions of my grandparents, minus their old bodies and wearied minds?
Through us, the best of her still walks this earth and speaks her mind. That which should have gone is gone and that which ought to have carried on is still very much around and shall continue to be..
Ditto for my children, and my foster children – my students whom I taught in various academies and institutes, my friends and any of those whom I touched anytime in my life through my words and actions. When I die, they shall carry forward the best of me, hold my worst in their minds as a caution against that which should not be, and shall forget the rest, which should not matter anyway!
So will I die? Yes and no. My body will die, my soul will not – for that which carries on is my soul, if you may – not some ghostly apparition, crying to be redeemed or yearning to live yet again, but as an undeletable energy, amalgamated yet again into who knows what, and as the essence of those words and actions of mine which deserve to live on.
In that sense, I will very much live on. And on, and on..
So I rue not my seemingly short ‘life’. That would be a very poor understanding of it.
I revel instead in those of my children and their children, and in others, that I have had the chances to touch and change in some little manner.
For that body of mine, I sing:
“When I die my friend, don’t weep for me,
For I am gone, to solve,
A new mystery.
To find another place for me
To look beyond the stars again
To go where I longed to go
To peep around corners I couldn’t yet see!
And you my friend shall follow
But not yet, not yet
It ‘s a privilege given me
You shall have to bide awhile
For I am gone to the place I love
To solve another mystery..