When one's life is in danger

S. V. Subrahmanian svsubrahmanian at YAHOO.COM
Tue Sep 25 11:02:24 CDT 2001

> praNamyaasakR^itpaadayoste patitvaa
>  prasaadya prabho praarthaye.anekavaaram.h |
> na vaktuM kshamo.ahaM tadaaniiM kR^ipaabdhe
>  na kaaryaantakaale manaagapyupekshaa || 22||
> Oh Merciful Lord!  I am prostating to Thy feet often to
> secure Thy blessings. Oh treasure house of mercy! I offer prayers to
> please Thee. Thou should not be indifferent towards me during my last
> moments.  At that time I may not have the control and energy to pray
> to Thee!

I always read this verse with deep feeling.  Only the last line should
translate as "I may not be able to seek your forgiveness then, when .... <as
you have translated>.  Thanks for reminding this shloka.

My teacher used to say:  "When you go to a movie, your parents ask you 'Do you
have enough money to buy the ticket?  Be careful.  Here keep this extra cash
just incase of emergency.'  If that is how much care we take in going to a
*movie*, how much care should we take for the final journey.  How much prepared
we should be to face the last journey.  Should we not take into the account the
emergencies on the way to death?".

Since it is true that death could come any time, in any form, the only panacea
is to be ever prepared.  One common advice given by elders in our tradition is
to live life one day at a time.  One day is lived as though it is a complete
life.  All activities are done properly, as per the SAstras and when one goes
to retire, one seeks forgiveness for omissions and commissions.  Sleep is a
temporary death.  So with the contemplation of God and His Glories one should
go to bed.  Such a life, led for a considerable period of time, will ensure
that one remembers Ishvara at the time of death.

Many of us are worried about how we would be born again.  But truly speaking we
should be worried about how we are going to die, for that ensures whether there
is a future birth and if so how it would be.

The question that one should frequently ask is "Death might come to me anytime.
 It could be the next minute.  What is the duty of the man is about to die?
(Obvious allusion to Sri Parixit)".  The answer should dictate the mode of our
life which will ensure that we are engaged only in Godly activities, even if
death approaches us stealthily.

There is a Telugu poem, I don't remember all the lines which talks about death.
 The setting is Kashi, where Harischandra is supervising the cremation of dead

This is where all the dreams that a poet might have dreamt come to an end.
This is where the mangalya of the wedded woman is thrown in the Ganga.
This is where all the armies and power of the king, stop.
This is where Lord Shiva dances with his anklets
In a way, it is the cremation ground from where Ishvara governs the
Universe sitting on the throne of ashes.


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