Some time back, an old acquaintance of mine met me accidentally.
“Sharma ji, after putting in thirty years of government service, I am going to retire soon. I want to do some business after retirement. Kindly suggest.” said he.
“But why the hell do you want to work again? Are you going to face financial crunch after retirement. Won’t you get retirement benefits, gratuity, pension?” I asked.
“By the grace of God, I would get hefty gratuity, government pension. All my children are well settled. I now want to start some business for my grandsons.” he said
“Don’t be a stupid sir, just as the ripples created by a stone thrown in a pond multiply ceaselessly, likewise the worldly responsibilities never come to an end” I laughed.
“Then what should I do” he asked.
“Start preparing for your death!” I advised.
Stunned by my advice, my acquaintance became crestfallen and said, “Sharma ji, I have always considered you as my wellwisher. I have not expected such a suggestion from you. By bringing in the “inauspicious” topic of death, you have made me gloomy.” he said dejectedly.
Though it is a certainty, I have found that most people refrain from discussing the final destination of life – death.
Our Shastras (शास्त्र) clearly state that one must start preparing for one’s death after the age of fifty.
Dying ill prepared only means entangling oneself perpetually in the tortuous cycle of birth and death (संसार), taking rebirth again and again in the eighty four lakh lower forms of life mentioned in our Shaashtras, like donkey, monkey, housefly.
Only in the human form lies the chance to get liberation from this agonizing cycle and attain Moksha.
That is why human life is considered a highly valuable one.
But instead, we go on wasting our lives in :
(a) greedily gathering wealth, increasing social status.
(b) Sexual gratification ( running madly after pits of shit and urine! ).
How can one prepare oneself for death? How can one extricate oneself from the painful cycle of birth and death?
For this, Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya has beautifully written :
पुनरपि जननं पुनरपि मरणं
पुनरपि जननं पुनरपि मरणं पुनरपि जननीजठरे शयनम्। इह संसारे बहुदुस्तारे कृपयापारे पाहि मुरारे॥
भज गोविन्दं भज गोविन्दं, गोविन्दं भज मूढ़मते॥
O fool, you can extricate yourself from the distressing cycle of birth and death only by the kindness of Govinda or Lord Krishna.
To receive Lord’s compassion, chant His Name lovingly, incessantly.
There is no other way!
~ Sanjay Gargish ~