Hari Om. Recently I returned from India and pilgrimage to Rishikesh, Badrinath in Himalayas. In this journey, I have experienced how life and death are interwoven in the Indian thinking. Generally, body is not given so much of importance and somehow a subconsious feeling of vairagya (detachment, dispassion) towards the body (whether genuine or not) governs the day-to-day living.
I was talking to our friend, Sri Rajuji, yesterday morning and he was narrating how he felt the presence of Lord Siva in the crematorium grounds he visited to perform the last rites of his sister-in-law. Lord Siva is said to roam in the crematorium grounds smearing the ash that is left over after burning the body. What remains of all the pampered body is just but a handful of ash.
Swami Sivananda ji said to remember 4 things…(1) Remember God, (2) Remember Saints, (3) Remember the pains of Samsara and (4) Remember Death.. Rembering any of the above is sure to make one’s life divine.
I was reminded of a poem I wrote around 10 years back about the dance of death, and I wanted to share it all with you here. I have seen deaths in the family and friends circle and it inspired me to write the below poem. It is difficult for near and dear ones to come out of the pain, but Time is the greatest healer and if we adjust our perspective towards Death, we can only welcome it.
(The Dance of Death)
by Aparna Hari
The stage of life is all set,
To witness the ogress of Death;
Unleashing her reign of terror,
And stemming life’s vital fervor.
Dancing her way through,
She enters, into life’s every hue;
Cutting across those barriers,
And unbothered about men’s arrears.
Nothing but ashes and mud,
The remnant if her path is tread;
That lingers is the grave of dead,
If anyone enters her realm of the dread.
Hide in the temples, shout for the hospitals,
Utter those redundant recitals;
Try to run beyond the landscape,
Yet from her sight, can you ever escape?
None loves her, none wants her,
Yes, for whom should they die for?
But how much ever you avoid,
Keep in mind, at the end life is ought to be void.
Have you watched her dance in Ecstasy,
When everything about your end is gloomy?
Yes, It is her relishing in victory,
In relieving you from life’s drudgery.
‘Coz, she alone knows the secret of Origin,
That relies heavily on the past virtue and sin;
Disguised as the death’s messenger,
She is in reality, Life’s harbinger.
She opens her arms wide to embrace,
To offer you unending solace;
And directs you to the path of her inner self,
Where you find no trace of gulf.
You witness her frenzied dance,
Reveal you the secret of Nature’s stance;
Of an undivided Equality,
In this God’s creation of Totality.
Who said it is the end
Of life and happening?
True, this is “An End” to “That Beginning”
But, can there be “The Beginning” without “This End”?
In Service of the Lord,