Birth. Death. Old age. Disease. That’s what the title stands for, in Sanskrit.
It’s been a long and tough period of several months to date. With work being a bit relaxed in the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on this thing we call LIFE. Not surprisingly, LIFE also constitutes the other inevitable parts of living… disease, growing old and, finally, death.
The reason for this line of thought gaining prominence is because of my father. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer several months back. As it is, the prognosis for such a thing is not good… but still given his healthy condition, doctors thought he might pull through for some more time. But all of them, and us, were fooled. What we thought as an improving situation actually turned out to be worse with the disease no showing any signs of even slowing down.
The deterioration in my father’s health and physique was a complete shock to most of the people who knew him… and he is still on the slide, so to say. Everyday is still a struggle for him. And with everyone being informed only last month, there has been a slew of guests streaming in, with pretty much the same sentence on their lips – “Oh no, why did it have to be cancer? And that too for you?”
Now, me being myself, I had some things to say which I then decided that those are better left unsaid. But here I can. Why cancer? Pretty stupid thing to say, in my opinion. Why cancer… would it be have been fine if he had gotten AIDS, or Ebola? And the “Why you” question doesn’t make sense either. Do we have privileges to chose what can afflict us? We seem to be laboring under the delusion that we can avoid disease and death by just not thinking about it or assuming we will not be afflicted. The other big delusion we have is that we assume ourselves to be “good” people and so nothing “bad” should happen to us.
I am a strong believer of things happening for a reason. We may not know it right then and there, but reason is there. Now people might think that to be an absurd notion, but this is what I have seen, experienced and realized to be true over the last 20 years. So, we gotta roll with the punches instead of trying to slide in to a death spiral of depression, self-pity and become mentally inept.
The world around us is programmed to condition us in to forgetting that our part in this cosmic drama is extremely minuscule and our puppet strings can be cut at any time. Only those who realize this and turns the mental faculties towards understanding what and who drives this drama can attain peace at the end of the show.
Srimad Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 Verse 6
tyajaty ante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya
“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.”