Some Challenges, Some Thoughts on Life and Death

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 18 Nov 2019

Dr Ravi P Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

When a person has crossed six decades of one’s life he /she often wonders about how their childhood, school or college friends are doing since they are also of the same age group. This was not necessary earlier because friends and relatives usually stayed near each other and one could easily interact with them. But modern life has scattered people all over the world, some as distant as Australia or USA from India or Nepal.

Contrarily, Internet and telephony have made distances irrelevant — one can talk or send messages instantaneously by a click on one’s laptop or Mobile phone. FB— Facebook has gone one step further by informing about    birthdays or other anniversaries of friends and acquaintances; but FB often does not come to know when a person has died. Instagram can be used to send photographs of oneself.  Twitter also being increasingly used for communicating with others — friends or foes. There are other means of publicising what one is doing if one is a celebrity — movie star, boxer, cricketer etc., by the use of social media.

Some people, especially those who like to lead peaceful, uncluttered lives or who practice meditation, wonder why all this publicity and brouhaha.  They are happy to live with a quiet feeling of being alone and isolated and feel that this helps them to communicate with the God or Deity of the faith they follow. Others — poets, philosophers, scientists also tend to not pay too much attention to the social media and stay focused on their occupations.

Reverting to the desire of knowing what one’s friends are doing, how is their health, their family life and so on, people tend to communicate through the modern technology that is available. When one gets to know about their anniversary or about the marriage of their son or daughter, birth of their grandchildren, one wishes them and occasionally sends them an appropriate gift.

But when an email or a phone call is not responded to, one wonders what could be the possible cause. Is the person ill or hospitalised or who knows — has passed away. One feels curious and concerned. The inevitable thought of the friend’s demise also leads to sadness, nostalgia. A class mate of mine living in USA responded after several weeks, stating that he was hospitalised but was feeling better now. Another friend’s wife informed through FB (she did not have my email id) that her husband had passed away in Chicago USA, a few weeks back. To say that I felt sad would be an understatement.

Similarly, two of my relatives who were also in USA, informed through internet that they had had heart problems, had been hospitalised, were now feeling better and were leading  normal  lives.

Another thought that passed my mind was that since USA did not face much pollution as in India, had excellent healthcare and hospital facilities, how could one explain the situations that I learnt about my friends and relatives? Moreover,  several varieties of nutritious foods and juices were available, then why these life and  health issues? Perhaps because people generally did not do Yoga despite the fact that the UN had decided to call 21 June as the International day of Yoga on the proposal made by India five years back.

Life is full of happiness, uncertainties, challenges, sadness. Death is an inevitable part of life — the closure of life. How one manages to live peacefully under these conditions requires inner strength, a philosophical attitude, belief in one’s God. The Hindu treatise Bhagwad Gita says that everything happens for a good reason. It adds that

‘One who has taken birth is sure to die, but after death one is certain to be born again’.

With this knowledge, one should not grieve too much at the death of any dear one. Let us live peacefully, harmoniously, meaningfully in the life that we are born in.

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Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. ravipbhatia@gmail.com


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 18 Nov 2019.

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