Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Death - The Greatest Lesson of Life

The recent blasts brought back to me the fragility of the existence of man for who can deny -
'For Dust Thou Art, And Unto Dust Shalt Thou Return' - Old Testament, Genesis, III, 19.

Death – one of the harshest realities of life. Death acquits us of all of all obligations, all responsibilities, all debts, and all the moral duties that bind us. All human beings, ab initio, have feared death but have resigned to this truth without any resistance.

Who does not want to live long? When elders bless a youngster, they pray for wealth, success happiness but most of all, they pray for his long life; that his days may be countless as the stars in the sky or sands on the seashore. An old, aged man with one foot in the grave yearns for the return of many more of his birthdays. The most fundamental and arcane thing in life is man’s blind clinging to existence.

I remember a few lines from Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat
Strange – is it not? – that of the myriads who
Before us passed the door of Darkness through
Not one returns to tell us of the road
Which to discover we must travel too.

How true these words are!! No one has returned from the Dead to apprise us about this reality of life. We don’t know whether life after death is abysmal or acme. We know absolutely nothing whatsoever about it and yet we fear it. That’s because man fears anything he does not understand or has no control over. Death is akin to the undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns.

The question that should arise in the minds of right thinking people is that whether we work to survive or survive to work. It is an acrid truth that man today has become more machine-like and less humane. He actively participates in the mad rat race to usurp more power and more money and the irony is that no matter who wins in the end, he is after all lowered to the level of a rat! He gets up early in the morning and returns late at night and the city acts on him like a juicer, squeezing all the life force out of him. Death is Nature’s way of asking Man to slow down. It is Nature’s way of accentuating the fact that no matter how much man progresses in his lifetime, he will always be quelled by Nature, ad infinitum.

Death is and will remain perhaps the greatest truth in life and the quicker man faces and comes to terms with it, the better it will be. Since life is a great surprise, death should be an even greater one. To die will be an awfully big adventure. The quote by Emily Dickinson sums up the concept of death:

Because I could not stop for Death-
He kindly stopped for me-

The carriage held but just Ourselves-

And Immortality.


  1. Though the prose is excellent, I would like it better if it was on a positive subject. :)

  2. @Boundlessdreamz : Thanks :)... BTW, are you someone who shies away from 'negative' subjects 'coz I think the so-called 'negative' subjects bring out positivity in a much better contrast and make us appreciate life that much more...

  3. Well expressed ! Loved the Rubaiyat and quotes, so aptly contextual !