Sunday, November 19, 2006

That was an intriguing question......

"Sometimes life throws some intriguing questions, provides profound insights, answers to skeptical questions, and life-changing reasons why there is nothing better on earth than being dead."

These were the words of one of my friends, Ra while returning from a regular evening prayer at the Srikrishna Math, few days back. There was a reason behind this.

Ra had lost his cousin in Chennai who was around 34 years but he was still a child. Still a child because his cousin was mentally retarded since his birth and the worst part was he had consumed kerosene when he was 3 years old. This had added to the severe and profound degrees of retardation. For the last 30 years or so he was treated like a baby, fed in time, served with medicine on a regular basis and was helped for all his daily activities. His parents, working for a Govt PSU, re-locating from one place to another in India as part of internal job transfers, have attended to their child to the best of their abilities. Taking care of a chronically retarded child is one of the most draining and difficult tasks any parent can face. Beyond facing the child's physical challenges and medical needs, they have to deal with the emotional needs. He was medicated at the best hospitals in India as per doctor’s recommendations with the hope that some miracle would happen and that the child would return to normalcy. For them age was a number. The parents were touching 65+ but still they had hope at the end of the tunnel with due support from their daughter settled in the US. Medicines if needed were procured from the US also.

But a human body is not a machine, and after reaching a threshold of survival on artificial methods, it finally gave away. The child finally breathed his last in the first week of Nov’06 after he was hospitalized in the ICU for close 48 hours

There was one question which Ra’s aunt (i.e. the cousin’s mother) asked him which put him into deep thought. She said.

"I don’t want any parent to give birth to such a child who suffered his entire life. More so there is no chance for his re-birth as he had not done a single sin in life. Why would he take a re-birth since his present life was devoid of any wrong doings"

The rationale behind her statement is one takes re-birth and escapes from the cycle of birth and re-birth only when all the sins and ill deeds done by the person in the course of his life are cleaned and wiped off. Only when one comes out un-tarnished from this loop s/he attains nirvana. That’s simple Hindu philosophy to my understanding (though my knowledge in this domain is limited)

When we love someone and s/he is no more, it feels devastating. This seems to be a universal part of our human experience. But why do we have to suffer like this?
If we humans lived our lives separately from others, needing and relying on no one but ourselves, then the loss or death of another would have little impact. But we are social creatures. Compared to others, we spend a remarkably long period of our lives—17 or more years, living with and depending on our parents. We are born into families. We are not solitary, and the price we pay for our attachments is vulnerability, the pain of loss. Because we depend on other people, because they do matter to us, they occupy a special place in our hearts. They are like a part of us and cannot be replaced…any more than our hand or some fond memories could be. When someone we love is gone from our lives, it is as if a piece of us has been torn away. The loss rends the fabric of our lives and a lull ness sets in.

What I could make from Ra’s words is:

The loss of a child is one of the most stressful events in the life of a parent, no doubt about that. I felt, the parents had the feeling of guilt, a feeling that they had violated some responsibility, higher principle, or belief. It was more of a reaction to feelings of helplessness and responsibility. The parents compared their actions against some idealized standard and since they discovered a discrepancy, the death became their fault. Such statements as, "If I had child would have been alive today!" had become part of their thinking.

When,in reality,there was nothing they could have done to change the course of events.They had done all they could have done at this old age also.

Well what torments me is how are the parents going to come out of this emotional trauma and live life the normal way.Well that’s going to be tough as each day,life would flash before them the pictures of their child whom they have served like a kid for the last 30 years day in, day out.They would feel a mixture of emotions. Some feelings and thoughts are fleeting,and some stay for a lifetime.More so they are not inclined to go to the US and spend time with their daughter as for them US is an alien land.I pray for their goodwill and wish they have a peaceful and simple life and move on.

I had a lost one of my friends when I was in college and I had seen in own eyes how he sacrificed his life to save another life.The most painful part was the inexplicable loss for the parents and their reaction at the sight of "Uggi".

There was a touching,straight from the heart write-up on this by Deepti after she bid farewell to her father.

I know death is invincible, unbeatable and inextinguishable but after death, what? and then what? Is it re-birth and if so, for whom and why? There are lots of questions? Can I find convincing replies to those. I guess I need to read more to get my queries answered and its not easy for sure, I know that much.

Cross-posted at Desicritics .

Keep reading and remain connected.


At 4:36 AM, Blogger Ranganathan said...

Good one :-) let me put my question this way ...
where do you go after you die?...

The following is a snippet from the famous poet "Kannadasan of TN"
- Till the house your relations
- Till the end of the street your wife
- Till the end of the crematorium your son
- Who will come until the end?

At 4:40 AM, Blogger Ranganathan said...

The following is a snippet from the famous poet "Kannadasan of TN"
- Till the house your relations
- Till the end of the street your wife
- Till the end of the crematorium your son
- Who will come until the end?

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