In the heart of our hearts, we all know that life is transitory but we all behave and face life as if we are immortal — look at the kind of risks people take in the name of adventure or in the name of dares — unbelievable, some also fall prey to their foolhardiness and die — leaving their near and dear ones in grief!

There is a story in the Mahabharata where Yudhisthira sends his brother to a nearby lake to fetch water for drinking and when he does not return, he sends another and another and none returns. So, he sets out himself to find out what happened to his brothers — he comes upon this lake and finds that all his brothers are lying dead on its banks, as Yudhishthira was thirsty, he bends down to drink some water. Just then a yaksha or spirit stops him and tells him that if he does not answer his 18 questions, he will meet the same fate as his brothers. Yudhishthira being wise agrees to do so. One of the questions was, “What is the greatest wonder” He replied, “Each day death strikes, but we live as though we were immortal. This is the greatest wonder.”

Death is such a taboo in society that it is hardly ever spoken about or discussed. In fact, death is feared even though everyone knows that nothing is as certain as death and taxes! But if you listen to spiritual Masters, they tell you that dying while living is liberation — and there is no liberation after death! Conflicting isn’t it! What the Masters mean is that the death of our desires and ego leads to liberation — a state of void where the only reality is the present moment. If we accept this, then why should we contemplate our (physical) death while we are still alive.

One of the oldest Buddhist practices is Maranasati or meditating on mortality — that we are all going to die one day. What this does is it removes the fear of death completely from your system. It is said that mindfulness meditation on death is said to be the supreme form of meditation in Buddhist tradition.

If you actually contemplate death, you will realise that life is transitory from a universal perspective (earth is just a dot in the universe, and the individual in turn is less than nothing!) — life is like a rainbow, there now and gone the next moment, it is like a dew drop on a blade of grass, a flash of lightening in the sky — it all happens and nothing lasts! — Said Buddha.

Living life in full awareness, enjoying every moment of if while sharing that joy and happiness with others, maintaining loving relations with others, finding meaning in life and giving back to society — while living every moment as if it was your last — that will give you the joy the feeling as J. Krishnamurti said, “In dying every day there is renewal, there is rebirth. That is immortality.”

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Divyansh Mahajan

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