Last night we were all twittering away friends from across the globe, when I decided it was time to retire. One of them for whom it must have been early evening said goodnight and with a promise to meet again tomorrow. In levity I told her that we would definitely meet provided I was alive until then. Said jokingly but taken very seriously by a few people.. the instant response was "SHUBH SHUBH BOLO" ...talk of auspicious things. The talk of death or dying instantly elicits this response. I have heard it time and time again and have been quite bemused by this statement....being a person who constantly questions and tries to find reasonable explanations for any belief I encounter, I have come to some conclusions that may not be to all but seem utterly reasonable to me. What I have seen and come to believe is that we are so conditioned by our beliefs which are learned as we grow, that we do not ever stop to think if they are right or not, we just continue to believe. Superstitions, behavior patterns thought processes are all the conditioned by the particular historic patterns of our species.
When my mother once told me that homes should never be swept in the night after sundown because for some odd reason Lakshmi would run away. I asked her where THAT came from....it did not need a degree in rocket science to understand that it must have been from the time when there was no electricity and sweeping the homes may have led to a clean sweep for the one sweeping. Or that Friday the 13th is inauspicious, we all know the basis of that belief, the Sunday after that was very auspicious and to say that all Friday 13ths after that day are not good would be carrying it a bit too far.There are many superstitions which can decried if thought about with logic and reason. Many may have been apt at some point of time but cannot hold true for generations to come.
To get back to where I started from( pardon me, I have been accused of digressing needlessly once I get started), the twitter interaction made me think of this issue of why we our concept of death is anything but auspicious. The one certain truth of life is that it must end. Everything does, nothing which is born can stay alive forever, whether it is a blade of grass, a snowflake an animal. Why,then must we consider it to be inauspicious, if we consider living not so. We celebrate life in its myriad forms, are we then so fearful of its end that we cannot think about it and shut our minds to it. We are not afraid to live are we, with all the uncertainties we face? On the other hand we take up the challenge of living, many a times not giving up when defeat is imminent.
In my personal opinion and many may not agree, what we are afraid of is not the fact that we will not last until eternity for we well know that this shall not be. Our emotions which connect us to all who we know,is what makes us afraid, for the person who goes has gone, we mourn really not for them, they are not there... we mourn for our associations, our memories of them and perhaps when we bury or cremate the body of the one we love, some of them take flight with the soul which is no more(memories have a habit of becoming dim with time). It is natural to miss a person one has lost to time, and remember them but it is also natural there has to be an end to any beginning. Then should we rejoice the living and call the end of what we have rejoiced inauspicious? Do these words really have any meaning other than what we make them out to be?
We have descended from the apes and we have kept up the descent, not really
ascended into thinking beings.Animals are slaves to their instincts,we on the other hand apart from our intellect we are governed by emotion. We distinguish right from wrong, good from bad, beautiful from ugly, but then is anything really right or wrong, bad or good? It is our perception of anything which makes it so, perhaps which makes us unique too, but if we look beyond perception there is no element of good or bad or right or wrong of the just and unjust.
We are and have always been sentimental, we hold on to memories, we keep little things which remind us of our loved ones, why we even display our own pictures proudly by our bedside.... which is perfectly justified, but when we get perfectly attached to these things that make up our world is when our vision falters.We cease to look beyond our world and become embroiled in the pettiness of emotive thought.
When every religion talks about eternal life why are we so concerned about dying? Perhaps if we leave aside perceptive emotion and perceive without judgement, see rather than watch, listen more than we hear, be quiet rather than be heard,we may start taking small steps to that life eternal. The cacophony of life prevents this.
Diwali will be here soon, I MUST remember not to give clothes or any gift to the Dhobhi,the poor man has been happy to live with this burden since Ramrajya.. must follow tradition.