Today 1.20.2020, marks an year, that my father, Shri Murli Mohan Shukla, passed away. Naturally it has been time for me to reflect.
While my philosophical bent of mind and yogic training has afforded me the luxury of remaining immune to bodily attachment, to cause sorrow for someone’s passing away.
I can say that while I had no sorrow for the inevitability of his death, but I do find myself feeling sad for my family members as well as those who are close to him, who were overtaken with emotions. I have spent time to reflect on what is it that causes a person to mourn and feel a sense of loss, when each person knows death is inevitable.
It is not that my father suffered from any long medical ailment or had a sudden death by accident, rather he was going to be 85 in a few months and he was not bedridden, but for 2 days of hospitalization for pneumonia, is what he had to go through at the end.
One would have thought that as his worldly duties were long over and with his age one could have been better prepared to deal with the inevitability at some time, which was bound to happen.
The person who has gone, he is definitely not part of this physical world, but those who are close to him who are left behind are still in the same world.
On my reflection, I find that the death is not for the person who has passed away but it is for those who are left behind.
Typically human consciousness of the world has an element of the past interactions with someone, awareness of the present of that person and anticipation of future interactions with the same person.
When a person passes away, the only consciousness, of him from those left behind is that of the the past. There is no consciousness possible of the present because that person has passed away. His body is not there. There is no possibility of any anticipation of future interactions.
So the death actually is within those who are left behind. Death of the consciousness in the mind space, which makes the awareness of the deceased person’s presence not possible, neither the possibility of any future interactions and that is what causes the pain for those were attached.
So in reality it is the death within those who have been left bereft of the present awareness and future interactions of the person who passed away, causing the death within.
How does one deal with this absence of a person, whose lack of presence and impossibility of future interactions, leave such a void?
The vacuum is essentially in the mind space and it is that vacuum which causes the sadness.
We know that nature abhors a vacuum and so to fill it, events, people, activities etc, tend to take over the vacuum space if one allows it to be.
However the sense of vacuum, which one experiences, affords us an indulgence to the ‘rasa of karuna’, emotions of sorrow. One of the nine ‘rasa’, emotions to experience as per Indian philosophy.
In a world, where most people are constantly chasing gratification of senses, of ego pandering, possibly rare are the opportunities for one to experience and continue to stay in sorrow.
Each person who chooses to be in sorrow on the demise of a near one, should be allowed to experience it fully, but sorrow being a negative emotion and like all negative things, when over indulged, sucks one in a whirlpool. Thus it is incumbent on the grieving person to take hold of the sorrow emotion and allow the vacuum be filled with their choice of events, activities, people etc.
The choice is of the grieving individual concerned, whether to put life back into the void or continue savouring the ‘karuna rasa’ and allow to continue the death within.