I had met him once. In the middle of a spiritual sojourn.
He had just moved from Minnesota to India. Moved? Yes. Because of your job? No, I have taken off for last 3 months. Don’t feel like doing something yet.
“Wow! How is your family taking it? Must be a tough transition,” I inquired. Perhaps hoping to hear another perspective on living in US vs India.
“I lost my family,” he said softly.
I couldn’t speak another word. I retired into the night with many questions hitting me.
Next morning I met him again. And in that discussion he disclosed that he and his wife had all but planned to move to either North Carolina or Dallas, from the cold Minnesota. He had even booked the ticket for a trip to NC to check some cities out. And then they thought that his wife and kids (a boy and a girl) might visit India.
On the visit to India, the wife and the son went on a bus to a place. The bus caught fire and both died.
The pain of my friend was at multiple levels:
- Why did they have to go? At such a young age?
- Why them? Couldn’t I have gone?
- Why like THIS??
There are no reasonable answers to any of these questions. There is no way one can even fathom the friend’s pain. As much as you may want to empathize or sympathize you will never be able to do it. For dealing with death, specifically such a death is only done by one who goes through it. Such is the intensity of this pain.
And then he said something that will remain in mind forever.
“All the plans were worthless. Of no use whatsoever”.
We all make plans. Without understanding the heavy odds they have to be implemented against.
Every moment, we breathe, we don’t know whether the next breath will indeed happen. Yet, our plans are detailed and “rock-solid”. Not that we shouldn’t make plans, just that we need to appreciate their fragility.
We sat for another hour. And in that hour, I could only discuss the situation logically. Although that wasn’t how I wanted to, given his pain.
The fact of death – spiritually – is that it doesn’t matter if you are attached to the being who left, or the being was attached to you. If the attachment takes a strong emotional shape, then the progress and movement of the being to subtler realms is very tough.
There was a curious case of Oscar the cat in a Rhode Island Nursing Home. As of February 2010, he had predicted correctly the deaths of 50 patients. In their final hours, he would come and lay down near them. (Oscar the therapy Cat). Imagine the state of those patients and their loved ones as they were dealing with death before it even happened!
Some will call this superstition, some will call it a fluke and some will call this miracle. But it is probably neither. A perfect record of 50 correct calls, with the case recorded by David Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor at Brown University, in the New England Journal of Medicine, it isn’t the first two.
And I don’t believe in miracles. So, the question is – Can Cats detect something that we humans cannot? Yes, they have superior powers of detecting sounds and energy. Many animals can detect electromagnetic waves very well.
It very well might be that here was a case that presented Death as an “Energy phenomenon” as opposed to a physical phenomenon. If that is so, then even Life is an energy phenomenon.
In such an eventuality, energy is manifesting as matter due to a certain condition. The change in energy in Spiritual schools is said to occur from Grosser to Subtler levels. The grossest level is creation. The subtlest level is substratum consciousness. Often called God.
It is in this context that Death and subsequent movement of energy is seen in Spiritual schools, specifically of Hinduism. And the advice for the time of Death – to those dying and those around them – is based on that understanding.
If the dying being remains attached to those alive, then it is avered in Hindu scriptures that, the being will not be able to get to higher realms (Subtler levels). Because of that, it is advised to “Let go”. That is why the body and everything else of the dying being is destroyed by burning as soon as it can be done.
The Ashes left are always submerged in running water, to completely do away with any part of the dying being’s living existence.
So, if my friend really loved his son and wife, I suggested, it would be best to let them go. Just plainly let them go. It was tough, but the best thing he could do was to say –
“I am fine. I loved my time with you and hope you enjoyed your time with me. My existence is enriched and I hope I added to yours. But now it is time to go. Move on and realize yourself completely very soon.”
Even when I was saying so, I realized the utter stupidity of those words in that context. How could one even deal with that pain? I realized the near impossibility of having such a detached view of one’s son and wife. But that was the best thing for him and the ones he loved. If, he could even make that happen.
His eyes were moist and questioning as we got up. We became good friends, and in my heart, he will remain a special person. As someone who went through a mind-numbing experience and still remained sane! For dealing with death of loved ones and the pain that came with that. One, that I can never imagine.