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Death and its ramifications

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    From Life Unto Death

    Leave out the highly evolved souls but to the rest of the mankind, death is the most terrorizing aspect of life. Though we all know that dying is after all a part of living, we just do not want to go through that phase of our living. Most of us would love to believe that death will never strike us while some shrug it off saying, ‘When it comes, it comes. Why bother about it now?’ This arises out of our belief that there are millions far elder to us and we still have a long way to go as compared to them. Death unfortunately does not strike us chronologically. That is why it is said that we must live our life like there is no tomorrow!


    Why is death so horrifying? Because it’s a journey from which no one ever returns to write a travelogue telling us which is the best place to stay and what are the sights to see. This journey continues to be highly mystifying, which no one wants to undertake. Our Scriptures may eulogise this journey with a beautiful description of how the Soul crosses the ethereal River Vaitharani on its heavenward trip but we refuse to get enthused about it!

    There is a dialogue by the eminent writer Sujatha in the latest Rajni block-buster ‘Shivaji’ which goes like this, “If you know that you are going to die tomorrow, your life today will become hell” The most dreadful aspect of death is, therefore, the awareness of its timing. We are all happy and able to carry on our lives merrily because we know not when our end will come. But if that fact is made known to us, our life will take a top-spin!

    I have seen many people with terminal illness who are aware of their approaching death and each one reacts to it differently. Some go all out to enjoy themselves but they are very rare cases. Many keep brooding over their past and the life after death. Some become very introspective and feel penitent about the wrongs they have committed against their fellow humans. Here is a true story of such a penitent person.

    I have heard natives of my village telling me that if Kumaresan took a walk in the street all the women would rush into their homes and bolt the doors. Such was his reputation in the village. If the more rationalistic of you are of the view that the kind of villainy that you see in films can never exist in real life, you would change it the moment you encounter him. You could justify some of his actions only if you applied the standards of animals. The way he slave-drove his daughter in law would make you shed tears of blood. There were no beggars in that village thanks to him. It was not his generosity that caused this miracle to happen but his cruel habit of setting his German shepherds after them that drove them all out of the village. His wife bore all the telltale marks of his cruelty and even their physical unions at rare occasions could at best be described as his assault on her. I could go on and on but suffice it to say that the parents of little kids in the village always used his name effectively to put the fear of god in their wards and quieten them.

    One fine morning, Kumaresan noticed a small swelling in his neck while shaving. He felt it with his fingers and never felt any discomfort. A week later, he noticed it again but did not think much about it. Two weeks passed and the swelling was still there but by now had grown a little. He was not still feeling any discomfort but felt a bit odd having it there like an unwanted extra fitting. So he went and saw a Doctor who did all the tests and took a bit of the swelling for biopsy. He was asked to come back after a week for the results. In the meanwhile, the villainy of our friend went on unabated and every day he was scaling new heights in such acts which made him a terror in the village.

    In the following week he was too busy chasing a new virgin in the village and skipped his visit to the Doctor. He visited him the week after to be told that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in a fairly advanced stage and it could be life-threatening. Kumaresan just could not believe what he heard. He felt dazed. He collected his results and walked quietly back to his place. When he reached home his daughter in law came running with a pot of water and a towel to enable him to wash his feet as was his custom. He took the towel from her and smiled at her kindly. The poor girl was totally disconcerted by the unexpected smile and dropped the pot on his feet. In the normal circumstances, this would have earned her a resounding slap but the man gently admonished her for the unnecessary panic that she was feeling towards him.

    The following days saw Kumaresan changing more and more. He became highly compassionate and was lavish in his generosity. He endeared himself to everyone and spent considerable time in the company of children. His acts of retribution towards his wife almost embarrassed the poor lady. Very soon the cruel villain in Kumaresan was totally forgotten.

    Two months later, an old crony of Kumaresan heard of his lymphoma and took him for a second opinion to an expert from abroad who was in the city on an invitation to treat a Minister. The expert repeated the tests and, after a thorough study of the results, declared the swelling to be very benign. A simple surgery would help him get rid of it and there was no lymphoma or any other danger to his life. Kumaresan was overjoyed hearing the verdict in his favour and returned home with a song on his lips.

    Seeing him arrive at the door, his daughter in law greeted him with a smile and offered the pot of water. He slapped her hard for daring to smile at him warning her that he would wring her neck next time she showed her dirty teeth! Hearing the commotion his wife rushed outside to see what was happening and one look at her husband’s face told the experienced lady that the villain in Kumaresan was back with a vengeance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  2. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,
    On reading the title of your post, for a minute, I thought it was food for one's soul (I am repeating your words!) & whether I should moderate it and shift to the Spiritual Forum !
    What a fool I am ! You have wriiten about the ramifications (implications?) beautifully !

    Is it a meaningful coincidence, that I wrote about my near-brush with death, two days back, in another thread started by Ms Pushpavalli ! Having escaped from a "tete-a-tete" with death, I know how one feels !

    Even in a pensive, serious post, your humour is beautifully evident in your words
    Because it’s a journey from which no one ever returns to write a travelogue telling us which is the best place to stay and what are the sights to see.
    Imagine, in that case, the book-shops will be overflowing with travelogues - good, bad & indifferent ! We will perhaps even start looking forward to death incase, somebody makes it sound like an enjoyable resort !

    From the way you have described, I presume Kumaresan is a real-life character. It is shocking that people like him have a giant-size ego and are incorrigible ever !

    I am reminded of the poem, Death the Leveller by J Shirley, I learnt in school! I love the following lines from the same:
    Your heads must come to the cold tomb
    Only the actions of the just smell sweet and blossom in their dust.

    You excel in philosophy as much as you do in humour !
    Love,
    Chithra.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2007
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  3. srinivasan_vanaja

    srinivasan_vanaja Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sir,

    Death is not the end of our lives, it is a part of our lives. At this part, people decide whether we lost our lives or lived our lives.

    At this part, our good/bad deeds and our true nature is discussed. But one thing we are sure and confident. At this part of lives, we are sure how the unheard discussion is going to be.

    Though all of us do not know our death of place, time and the cause, we all aware of the fact that one day or other we are no more.

    But what do these human minds think? These minds show pity for those who come to know their end and calmly giggles at their deeds and behaviour.

    People who know their end and who do not are the same. Instead of pitying others we should have some self pity.

    Its better to some extent we remain not knowing our end as it changes the very nature of ours like Kumaresan. And it is better to some extent that we can escape from our future blunders.

    And finally the very best parts of our lives is the time of our birth and death where our mere existence is not felt.

    regards,

    Vanaja

    P.S.: It is really horrible to think about this death where the loss is :oops:
     
  4. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    Cheeniya,

    You have indeed rammed the ramifications of death into our minds! But do we mortals ever learn? Be it Homer or the Yaksha Prashnam, the impermenance of life and certainity of death have been drilled into us along with the mandate of virtuous living. Still does that make us better human beings, as you have taught us from the parable of Kumaresan? But I beg to differ when you say that death is one journey from which travellers do not return to write a travelogue. I have a morbid fasciation to read books on returning to life, afterlife, life after death experiences. Quite an armchair traveller here, I am. It is a strange discovery to read of the shining tunnel, the ringing bell, the sight of dead releatives waiting with serene smiles- the path of death is indeed lined with many travelogues. I saw a Kevin Costner movie recently where his dead wife communicates to him from South America. In his quest to research death and loss of consciousness, he meets with missionary nurses serving in Palliative units who tell him of the layers of death and how even a simple procedure of going under general anaesthesia is a like-death phenomenon.

    And then the cowards die many times a day, and the brave die but once.

    Afterword: One of my cobweb laden manuscripts is about euthanasia. Three chapters and it met with sudden death never to revive again.
     
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  5. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,

    That was again a great piece of writing. Kumaresan's story is quite familiar. We had a rowdy in Madurai whose story was almost the same expect that the final twist was not there. He was given some three months to live and he promptly died at the end of that notice period. But during those three months he was almost a saint. But even that could not save him from the jaws of the Great Leveller.

    For a while I focussed completely on reading about death. The first was Kadopanishad which starts with Death. (Eknath Easwaran titled his book on this Upanishad, Dialogue With Death). Then Elizabeth Kubler Ross' classic, The Wheel of Life. Then Osho's exposition of Death. And Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. And a few months back I happen to read a book written by a Doctor (a woman) who used to do autopsies all her life. Death and more than that fear of death brings out our authentic selves. As fear of death usually brings out the good in us, it just goes to prove, that even the worst among us, like Kumaresan, are good deep down inside. If only we had some other force as powerful as death to bring out that goodness in us ..... well, then we need not die in order to go to heavan.This world itself will be a heavan.

    Your writing on death is strangely comforting too. I am especially tensed up today as I am releasing SHE 10 in the evening. In that context your thread provided the sobering effect which I very badly needed.

    Thanks, Bro.Sri,
    regards,
     
  6. Manjureddy

    Manjureddy Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniyasir,
    All of us are Kumaresans. If the fear of Death could make angels of us all, no karma, no world.
    Woody Allen is supposed to have declared" It is not that i am afraid of Death,I just dont want to be there when it happens to me."
    Same here. But I will admit i am afraid too. Of my death and that of those dear to me. Reading Nachiketas story, Ahtavakra Gita, Tibetan Book Of The Dead, Edgar Cayce's tomes, all to no avail. Still afraid. But all that fear of death and thoughts of impermanence do not seem to have had any beneficial effect on my personality. Had i been promised life eternal too, i'd be just this same i think.

    My sister and I once shared a goggle eyed, prurient interest in subjects related to Death and afterlife. We used to rifle through Grandmother's book shelf which contained books issued by the Theosophical Society. Of particular morbid interest to us were the writings of Leadbeater and paperbacks of a Tibetan Monk named Lobsang Rampa. To a pair of giddy headed girls, these sanctimonious yarns about Seances, Astral travel, Karmic bodies, Green Taras, Pitris etc. seemed awesome, fascinating and totally credible. We were kicked by the idea of communing with the dead. I'm mortified to admit now that we even tried to talk to our Grandfather, 5 or 6 months after his death.( though we had been terrified out of our wits by the priest's gleefully detailed discourse about the Purgatory that lay behind the dreaded Vytharini, when he read out the Garuda Puranam after thatha's death).
    We used the Planchette, at that time a popular schoolgirl pasttime,an aluminium 10p.coin on a chartpaper Ouija board, inscribed with alphabets and numbers. And with absolute earnestness, called upon Grandpa to visit us. My sister still has the note paper on which she had hastily scribbled the "spoken" alphabets with her left hand, her right forefinger,along with mine, being on the coin.

    When mother found out what we were up to we got a good dressing down. My brothers, the obnoxious brats, din't tire of making fun of us and calling us cheater-cats and frauds. To the question " are you happy", Grandpa(the coin) had answered "Yes". To "where are you?" he(it)answered "Lite-Malaka", to "When will manjula get married " : "123 two more digits V" Three years after this, all forgotten by then, i got married on January 23 , the year same as the two digits; to a man named Vinay Kumar. I find this inexplicable. Maybe a coincidence. Sister and I still wonder what that Malaka business is. The only Malacca we know of is the spice Island in the East Indies famous for swashbuckling pirates like Sandokan. And Grandpa dint seem to have had the faintest desire to loot ships, when alive.

    After reading Raymond Moody's famous book " Life after Life" i had lost some of my fear and almost started looking foreward to the adventure of dying: tunnel, light, angelic couriers....But the season passed. I am back to being afraid. And getting no better or no worse on account of that !
    Regards
    manjula
     
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  7. sowminivibu

    sowminivibu Silver IL'ite

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    Dear sri,

    i finish reading ur post on jealousy and there i see another one abt the implications of death..its one mighty weapon tht gives even ppl like kumaresan the stick......well,i cud closely connect this to my paati,my appa's amma.....i have a perippa with whom she was very close and it went to the extent of even chasing my dad n mum out of the house when my mum was 9th month pregnant ....

    well my parents did cum out and struggled thru their lives and all along my paati was watching us suffer....when i was arnd 15 or 16 she had to undergo an operation for which my perippa refused both to take up the expenses and the taking care part...she was just left at our house and they left....the operation went on successfully and it took her almost 3 months to revive back to normal health....i still remember even my sis who was just 7 or 8 yrs wud help with anything....

    as she was able to walk,my paati insisted on going back to my perippas house...life passed on for another 3 yrs....i had gone back home in summer for my holidays frm bits pilani and my paati cums home in a rikshaw with a torn saree and she was unable to climb staircase and told my mum she was feeling hungry...my mum immediately gave her sum idly to eat and gave her the amt of money she asked for her day t day expenses like medicines or clothes....

    tht was the last i saw my paati.....my second year final exams were going on in Bits Pilani and i reached home frm rajasthan.....as soon as i enter my mum told paati was no more and tht she passed away a week back....i asked amma why i was not informed and she told me tht since my exams were on she didnt want me to think abt this.....but then after tht what my dad told me almost shook me up....he told tht when she was in the hospital,appa and amma went to visit her...even in her half coma stage she told my amma tht she felt sorry for all the nasty things tht she did for her and tht in return it was so nice of amma to give her back only love..she almost pleaded amma n appa to forgive her for being so cruel wth them.....and at the coma stage she was almost blaberring tht she desperately wanted to see me and every person who went b4 her she was calling ou my name....Only then did i relaise in her death bed tht she had the worst time of trying to see what all shes done bad in life and how much she was repentin for it as she deftly knew she cud not wash away those sins !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    when my amma keeps telling me tht we need to be patient with such ppl,i used to get angry as i cudnt see my amma go thru all the hardwork..but when i heard tht my paati was so badly pleading her for her apology...only then did i realise tht A SUPER POWER is always there above us...

    lov
    sowmi
     
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  8. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Chithra
    Talking of death as something to look forward to reminds me of a famous definition of a diplomat which says "A diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to it!"

    All that we read about death as being only an extension of life et al is only meant to remove the fear of death from our minds. It might appear to a layman that the soldiers who fight for the country are all conditioned to accept death as a matter of their military drill but some research work on this subject has revealed that the soldiers are as scared of death as any of us! The only difference is that they are under some kind of a spell when there is actual fighting.
    Is it not an irony that no matter who we are, death is the only thing that is most certain to happen and yet we just try to wish it away? We dont even want to talk or think about it and when scriptures carry some scary description of what is life beyond death is all about, we ban reading of such stuff like Garuda Puranam as a part of our daily religious routine! On the contrary, it might help if we read it more and more to get an insight into the process of life after death. Most of us didn't even know of it until Director Shankar adopted it as his theme in 'Anniyan'!
    Sri
     
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  9. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    dear Cheeniya,

    I read this yseterday and was musing around on my own.....how true were some of teh things u have said.....the fear of death does terrorise one .....
    as one grows older, there are many moments when we think on these concepts with no answer....Like all the others whave rightly said, how much ever we read on these subjects, still it is the only thing which has a death certainty about it that we cannot deny . and the thought that we dont know when it will happen to anyone? Such mystery in our lives which we cannot solve and we .......?!
    i too enjoyed the dialogue of Sujatha in Shivaji......very well said one, but wonder in how many that was registered ......

    Well your post did make me stop and think ....and of course think positively that i have another minute , another day to Enjoy life and admire the wonders!

    Does give one the shivers now and then isn't it:boo: ?
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2007
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  10. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Vanaja
    Though all of us do not know our death of place, time and the cause, we all aware of the fact that one day or other we are no more.
    But what do these human minds think? These minds show pity for those who come to know their end and calmly giggles at their deeds and behaviour.
    People who know their end and who do not are the same. Instead of pitying others we should have some self pity.

    It is not my intention to contradict this statement of yous but having been close to some half a dozen persons including my brother's wife, I still feel that 'people who know their end and who do not' are NOT the same. My sister-in-law died of multiple myloma in 1978 when she was just 36. The diagnosis of this fatal ailment was made in 1974 and she lived in the shadow of death for four years. She had to be told of her condition the moment the diagnosis was made because she insisted on it. She was a very brave person and bore the pain of her disease very bravely and gracefully. The story of her ailment and her death was serialised in Maniyan's Idhayam Pesigarathu under the caption 'Kanneer Pookkal' (Flowers of Tears).

    My manni never bore any illwill towards others or shouted out all her pain. She used to tell me that if there was some prospect of her surviving the disease, she would have made quite a scene to demand attention but the knowledge that her concluding chapter was being written made her accept the fact gracefully and be very gracious about it. And when she died, we all felt so moved by the extreme patience and grace that she displayed throughout the four years that very nearly made her a Saint among us.

    Many people who are aware of their end never want any sympathy or display of emotions from others. We may in deference to their view emote in a very subdued way but I dont think any of us would 'giggle' at their impending end.
    Sri
     

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