The Power of Death

Sleep is good, death is better, but the best would be never to have been born at all, wrote the German poet, Heinrich Heine. While birth means the beginning of bondage, death is the temporary release from bondage; for once again birth awaits those who die, like a lockup awaiting the return of a prisoner gone on parole. Hence in religion like Hinduism and Buddhism salvation means freedom from the cycles of birth and death. But compared to birth which is full of sufferings, death has many benefits like –

Freedom from humiliation

It is death which comes to one’s rescue when faced with the humiliation of being rejected by a lover, the shame of failing in an examination, failure to get a job in spite of several attempts made in this regard or the fear of a creditor confiscating one’s house for default of debt. To escape from the humiliation of being ravished by Muslim invaders, Rajput women used to commit jauhar i.e., enter fire and burn themselves to death.

Freedom from misery

Many people prefer death due to sheer boredom, especially when their dear and near ones have moved far away or have died. It is death which provides relief for those suffering from diseases and for those in dire economic state. Death comes as a succor for those who are forced to marry against their wishes or when forced to migrate leaving their hearth.

A weapon to make other yield

The threat to die is a good weapon to make others yield to our demands. It may be a son demanding money to start a venture or a daughter to marry her lover.

An intimidation for a possible violent reaction

Activists use death as a threat to intimidate their opponents. For instance Gandhiji used to threaten that he would fast up to death if his demands were not met with. This meant that if he died his followers would become emotional charged and his opponents may have to face dreadful consequences including violence.

A tool for revenge

After the partition of India, Muslim thugs in Pakistan abducted thousands of Hindu women and committed atrocities. One such woman who was gang raped later expressed her desire to marry the leader of the gang and get herself converted to Islam. After a month or so she told her husband that she wanted to give a feast on the occasion of her marriage and conversion and asked her husband to call his friends (who had raped her). She mixed poison in the food prepared and served it to her husband and her friends. Once they fell unconscious after consuming the food, she hammered their head and killed all of them and later committed suicide. In this way the Hindu women avenged her humiliation. This story should be a lesson for all those who commit suicide when falsely implicated in a crime or harassed by a powerful tormentor. The victim in these cases should kill those responsible for their misery before committing suicide.

Impetus for ethical living

It is said once saint Eknath was asked by one of his devotee how is that the former always remained calm and composed and does not get angry in spite of serious provocation. Instead of answering his question Eknath looked at him seriously and told him that he would live only for about a week. The stunned devotee took leave of Eknath. On the sixth day the devotee came back to have his last darshan of Eknath. When Eknath asked him whether he had felt angry with anyone during the past six days, the devotee replied how he could be as he had only a week to live and hence spent his time with his family, friends and even unknown people with all modesty. To this Eknath replied that it is not true that the devotee would die the next day and the reason to tell him like that was to see that the devotee himself experience that how life teaches us humbleness when we come to know our short-lived existence. Death is a power aid to teach us to live with modesty and also a deterrent to involve oneself in corrupt practices or living a life of vices.

Reveals the transitory nature of success and achievements

For all those who are after fame, ambitious, goal setters, want to break records, amass wealth and achieve success death comes as a full stop for all their activities. Whether it is money, fame or accolades it is all temporary and comes to an end with our death.

The ultimate tool for fighting the system

It is said that earlier in India people used to threaten a tyrant king that they would migrate to other countries if he did not change his way of governing. Fearing loss of revenue the king used to yield. At present we hear news of people committing suicide for reasons listed above. We human beings though not asked our consent before being brought into this world; unlike animals have a choice to leave this world by committing suicide. Committing suicide should be legalized as it is one’s right to die if he/she is unable to live according to his/her terms. Those committing suicide feel that their life is not worthwhile living. While that thinking may be their point of view, at least while dying they could take steps to make the world better for others to live. This they could do by eliminating or at least punishing a corrupt politician or bureaucrat before committing suicide. At present the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats have lost the fear of punishment for committing frauds. They know that people do not take risks to confront them as the result would be disastrous for persons who do so. After all people fear for their lives and they know that the politicians would do anything to harm their lives. But in case of those who have decided to commit suicide, they have nothing to lose. Hence they could, before committing suicide give a befitting reply to those involved in corrupt practices and anti-national activities. By doing so they could accumulate good karma and may find life in their next birth worth living. Instead of living for nothing, it would be better to die for something and that something is to cleanse the corrupt political system existing in our country.

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Ithihas

Kaleidoscope of Indian civilization

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