My cousin lost her Grand Father recently. You will not find him in history books, but he left a mark on every one who came in touch with him. His singular achievement was to create a family which is a team. I am yet to come across another set of folks who are related by blood or marriage and celebrated life enormously. It is almost like magic. He instilled values like simplicity, gratitude and faith. I have been personally touched by his gestures and his blessings. In spite of his arthritic hands, he wrote for me and many others a hymn. The hymn has graced all the houses we have lived in. I find solace in the protection of the hymn. This blog post is an ode to a simple man whom I would like to emulate. God be with you, Mama.
In ancient times in India, everybody prepared for Death. Life was divided in to four stages;
Bhramacharya Ashram: It is the stage of learning and community living.
Grahasta Ashram: It is stage of married life and put the learning to practice and become a productive citizen.
Vanaprasta Ashram: It literally means facing the forest. It is the stage in which a person acts as a mentor. It is said that the person in this stage only give solicited advice.
Sanyasa Ashram: This is the stage when one would renounce everything and enter the forest to die.It is not that death is not pondered about during other stages. In games like Kabaddi and Kho Kho, players get out (Death) and come back in to the game (re-birth).
I like Stephen Covey for his advice; plan your life based on the person you want to have become by death. I think it is a sage advice and enables one to be centered both in moments of unalloyed joy and manic sorrow.
I read an amazing book by Bill Bryson recently which is titled pompously as "A short history of nearly everything". In this book the author argues that the purpose of life is to replicate. We are slave to our DNA and not the other way round. For the time untold, the double helix in the DNA has existed and replicated. The miracle of life gets the double helix to unzip and each strand finds its partner molecule creating new cells – The chemistry of life itself. It might come as a surprise to many that we share the same enzymes and life plan as a Banana tree or a Peacock. It is both humbling and revealing to know that the life is the same for all living beings.
We have differentiated ourselves by achieving a level of consciousness which is unmatched in the known Universe. My theory is that the Universe needs to know it exists. We are the medium through which it achieves this.
If the age of earth is compressed in to 24 hours, then as human beings we have been in existence for the last few minutes only. In order to make a lasting impression and compensate for meagre existence, we can create noble institutions, build successful companies, write ageless classics, create unforgettable melodies, establish new religions, find cure for cancer, figure out that E = MC2. However there is no need to despair if we are not able to. All one is required to do is live a contended life spreading peace and love, as Mama did. As DNA has proved, we are all the same. We are the life force of the Universe and exists through life and death.
The constant reminder of death should allow oneself to rise above foibles and achieve joy which comes through love and a sense of accomplishment. Here is a wish for every one of you – Become all you can.