Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Death: A transition.

Life on earth is like a stage where actors step in and step out to play their roles. Actors go back stage after their part is done, and reappear in a new role later.

The Bhagavad Gita refers to birth and death as a transition of the individual in and out of the physical bodies. Just as a person changes old clothes and wears new ones, so too does the individual (Jiva) leave the old body to assume a new one.

New and old are relative terms, for old clothes discarded by one person becomes new clothes for another who gets to use it.

A purchase of a second-hand car assumes that the car is both old as well as new.

The journey of the individual over lifetimes is governed by the individual's deeds (Karma) - good and bad. Good deeds lead to better life experiences while wrong deeds lead to painful experiences.

Good deeds done in this lifetime are not wasted but are carried forward and rewarded in future lifetimes. Likewise wrong deeds do not go unpunished but are compensated for in future lifetimes.

Responsible living involves planning not only for present lifetime but also for life after death. Commitment to live a life that is ethical and purposeful is the means to a better life after death.

We usually chant the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra as a prayer for health, healing, and for the dead. It reminds us that there is a power greater than pain and death, and that death is a passing phenomenon compared to the eternal reality represented by Shiva Mrityunjay.

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