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Next to me was a fat woman with a chicken soul. She had never been before the dead body and was building her courage to face it with a cup of Ara. “From all the deeds, I fear death”, she murmured.
Is death cruel? Does death brings a cruel end? Is death the ultimate end? I stopped my chanting and began ruminating on this.
We believe that the ‘cruelest end’ human beings can have on earth is the death. We also believe death as our ultimate end. But before death, isn’t there anything that kills us brutally? For me, death is not the ‘ultimate’ and ‘cruel’ end.
Why is death not an ‘ultimate’ end? This is because of the two reasons I state below:
1. We have had so many ‘ends’ before death
2. And we live after death
The first point to reasoning why death is not an ultimate end says we have had many ‘ends’ before death. This is because human beings come to end so many times in their life. When do they end? They end their lives when lovers leave them for another; when family turns away from them in times of need; when they are thrown away from the job; when effort-blended proposals are rejected; when people threatens them to slice their throats; and when they dread alone the danger world trudging through the burning egos. In short, we die every time we face difficulties and challenges and thus we come to an ‘end’.
However, we don’t realize this—the death in difficult times. This is because we define death in terms of our ‘breath’. In difficult times, our breathing does not stop or come to cease: rather it becomes faster. Since our breathing does not stop, that is not death for us. This is how we defend. A laymen’s perspective indeed!
The next point is that we live after death. Our souls live for times to come. Just because we do not have body or our body is burnt away, we cannot say that we do not exist. After death is the major hurdle that someone goes through. If he/she had lived a good life, he/she does not suffer but if he/she had lived a bad life, hell is his/her home. Souls suffer. If we consider death as our ultimate end, there is no point of Buddhists talking of having to reap our actions once we are dead.
Death, for me, is just another transition of life: like a youth transitioning from adolescent to adulthood to manhood to old age. If we do not fear transitioning from adulthood to manhood, there is nothing to fear the death as it is but a similar process. Therefore, death is not an ultimate end but a transition and there is nothing to fear for it.
The next question is; is death cruel? Death has never been and will never be cruel. For me, death is an ‘inspiring friend’. A genuine friend indeed! If it is not for death, who would love to take our dirty, weather-beaten, polluted, rotten and smelling body? Death is kind enough to take us for the renewal. Who would be kinder than that? After death, even our close relatives refuse to come near the body but death does not.
For me, death is akin to a rubbish collector who does all dirty jobs. Death is like a ‘dustbin’ that receives scraps: broken bottles which cannot store wine anymore; torn plastics which cannot be used; scribbled papers with no more spaces to be written, and old clothes that cannot be stitched. However these useless items can be a brand new piece once recycled.
So, why should I fear recycler, the death, who gives me a new body, a new hope and a new life? Why should I consider it as an ultimate, cruel end?