My Loving Tributes to Fr Thomas, Fr Ronnie, and Prakash Chandra Ajila
Sep 20, 2015
Death is an integral part of life and no life can overrun it. Life is received from the womb of mother earth and it ends in the tomb of mother earth. Life and death run parallel to each other, it's a unique personal journey, and no one is aware of its beginning or its end. Before life began, we never existed in this world nor will we after death. Each life is a spiritual being that comes from above and goes back to its home after death. World is just its temporary home. What a mystery of God !
Like a fish jumping out of the sea and back into the water, our lives arise out of that great ocean of existence and returns into it. It is not in our capacity to ever understand why we are sent to this world and after sometime why we are taken back to Him. However, the Supreme Being, who we call God, Jesus, Eshwar, Allah has spoken through his various prophets and holy books over the years about the purpose of our life and death. Almost every one of us believe in our Prophets and Holy Books perhaps with some exceptions, who we call atheists, but they too are children of God. God knows them and has been dealing with them since time immemorial and will take care of them in future too. Word of the Lord can’t go void. For it is written, "EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD."
Every day on earth, almost 180,000 people die. In another 95 years or so, everyone who's alive today will be gone. Journey of death we carry along with us every day but none of us knows its hour and time. Every moment one has to keep his luggage packed. Nobody knows when death will call. The warrant of death is like the arrest warrant. One cannot think of appealing against it. No matter what is happening, we have to quickly leave off and go. So, if we are ready beforehand, there will not be much difficulty in leaving. It can happen at any time, to anybody. Are we ready ? This question may surprise many for a moment. But sooner or later, we have to face death as a reality.
Most of the people face death with gloom, fearing what happens before and after death. Is there an afterlife? How can I prepare for death and what's the point of it all? Although in every human being there is a deepest point of worry about death, people usually are not bothered about these questions until the end when death can no longer be ignored. By this time they might be caught by surprises and be unprepared for the situation at hand; a perfectly natural and beautiful stage of colorful life can be overshadowed with fear and confusion.
As I said, every man has thoughts that linger deep inside his inner consciousness that upon death, he will cease to exist entirely; no more feel love and hate, no more enjoy yummy food or its chummy pleasure, no pain or sufferings, nil factor covers his property, his happiness, his bank balance nor can he experience his unique family bond and warmth anymore. As a family they were one entity and by death they become two separate entities, with no more relationship or hope to reunite. How scary and sarcastic is death for he who worked day and night and all of a sudden he's gone forever without a trace, but his loved ones will forget him gradually (perhaps with some exceptions) and continue to live without him.
Upon death, atoms are decomposed, or, if the body is cremated, scatter hither and thither on the pyre. He will cease to exist and with his pending hopes, dreams, goals and things left undone are irrevocably erased completely just as decay begins. This way, rich or poor, black or white, sinful or skilful, kings or scientists, all will leave behind their wealth, race, knowledge and unite in a common ground, 6" deep pit; justifying that no one is greater than other ! Further, there's no more remorse, anger, no fighting, jealousy, hatred or feeling of alienation of that sort suffered during their lifetime in some form or other. It is an end of everything. Therefore, life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here.
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. ~Mark Twain
Most of us are frightened of dying because we don't know what it means to die nor has anybody trained us to die. As long as we are frightened of life we shall be frightened of our death too. A man who is not frightened of life is not frightened of death too, because at some point he has mastered his fear by his closeness to God, by following God-fearing exemplary life. Yes, we must die first to find out actually what takes place when we die. This isn't a joke. We must die - not physically but psychologically, inwardly, die to the things we have cherished and to the things we are bitter about. If we are dead to our pleasure, the smallest or the greatest, naturally, without any enforcement or argument, then we will know what it means to die - ‘A good man has nothing to fear, either in life or in death’.
People tend to die as they lived, says Maggie Callanan, a hospice nurse who's the author of Final Gifts, who has witnessed more than 2,000 deaths. "Nice people get even nicer, manipulators manipulate, funny people die funny," she explains. "We all have ways of navigating through life, and when dying those tendencies are intensified by ten.
Naturally, every one of us has unexplained fears within us about our death. One of my Hospice friend says that one of the best ways to heal our fear of death is to spend time with the dying. If you don't have a friend or a family member who is dying, you can train as a volunteer with Hospice and assist with a dying patient for several hours a week. It's enough simply to be with them, respond to their needs, listen to their experiences and observe your own reactions. Prayer and communication with our God, Eshwar, Allah, Jesus, Mary, Buddha, Krishna, according to our belief or spiritual practice puts us at ease while we depart for afterlife. Also reading Holy Books and meditation, hearing and listening to divine words serve the purpose of dying peacefully.
Most importantly, our spiritual path takes to us our afterlife. Every child of God walks in the spiritual path, a great deal of purification naturally takes place during his earthly life, by accepting responsibility for his actions and exchanging forgiveness with others. At times they might fail but to err is human. However, prior to our departure to heavenly adobe, we must all take responsibility for our past actions, and forgive others without any prior conditions. If you've hurt someone, even in the distant past, apologize to that person and try to make amends in whatever way is appropriate. This may take time, but keep trying, as it takes us to a closer spiritual path of afterlife. Forgiveness does not mean we have to accept bad or inappropriate behavior. The person's behavior may be wrong, but we can still forgive that person. Forgiveness is a form of compassion which arises from the understanding that basically, we're all essentially the same. The easiest way to walk into spiritual life is to lead a life of simplicity and honesty, trying not to harm others. It is good to cultivate love, humility, kindness and generosity in our dealings with others. Love is the underlying current that runs through the entire cosmic creation and it is the most direct path on to our spiritual path.
God gave each one of us life with its vital organs. Why should we allow them to decay soon after our death ? It would be the right choice if we donate our vital organs so that God-given free gift of life may continue to live with others even if we die. This is also a spiritual path which takes us closer to our afterlife - any amount of good acts with little bit of sacrifices will assure our spiritual gift of afterlife.
I have always respected the works of the Late Wilfy Rebimbus, who composed and sang hundredsof songs about Christian Love, Christian Giving, Christian Forgiveness in context of one's life and death as an offering of instructions given to the people, anointed by God. His heart-rending songs prayers were:
1. Char Desanso Sounsor
2. Monshachem Jevan Lan Ek Poin
3. Monsha ye Althodi
Only God knows and holds the appointed time for a person to die. However, for those with a personal relationship with God, I believe He does prepare (and give us peace) for it. Recently three of my known friends died, who were closer to God by their faith and action. I pay my loving tribute to them and also to my Idol Wilfy Rebimbus. .
Fr Thomas D'Souza
Parish priest of Mukka Church, Fr Thomas D'Souza passed away on July 8. He was 60. He knew nothing about the fateful day. A day before was fully occupied in Prayer and Service - Retreat. Early the next morning he breathed his last due to cardiac arrest. I knew him personally; he led his entire life God-fearing, in the service of mankind for over 33 years. He loved every child of God irrespective of caste and creed.
Fr Ronnie Prabhu
The one who people used to call 'Smiling Father', he had once told me that his source of vocation was that while young he felt in him that he was the pampered child of God. This was a terrific sentence about his relationship with God. What a strange calling, and he lived upto his calling till his death. He passed away due to brief illness at St Philomena Hospital at the age of 75 on August 18.
One of Fr Ronnie Prabhu's favourite projects was inter-religious dialogue, for which he worked tirelessly in an effort to bring unity among the children of One God for the glory of God. Fr Ronnie had mastered his Life unto Death so much that prior to his death, he shared his fearless smile with all the onlookers gathered near his bed; a confident smile offered back to God saying "Abba Father it is finished; your purpose I have fulfilled in this life".
Prakash Chandra Ajila
A dedicated, selfless leader, warm-hearted gentleman from Karnataka expatriate community was Prakash Chandra Ajila, the president of Bunts Qatar, who passed away due to cardiac arrest on August 28. He was 55.
It is very hard to believe that our gentleman, ever smiling Ajila is no more with us. He was the past president of Tulu Koota Qatar, and an active member of Karnataka Sangha Qatar, living in Qatar for the last 25 years with his family. He was a kind, loving family man. Because of his warm and tender-heartedness, children used to be drawn towards him as a fatherly figure in seeking his guidance and advice. This is one of the characters of a man who is down-to-earth.
Ajila was very popular among the expats due to his humble and helping nature. He had been in the forefront of social and community activities. He was employed with Hamad Medical Corporation and had helped the expatriate community especially with their healthcare needs. He was senior MRI technologist at Rumailah Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation and was awarded Star Of Excellence Award on World Radiology Day.
A single call, irrespective of the time of call, and one could find him for one's needs. Ajila was a gentle, honest, committed community leader. He knew the purpose of life as once he had told me "nankyethaapunduaath help malpuni, Devernanenapu deed". He rendered his selfless yeoman’s service till the last moment. It is really painful to lose such a great leader among our Mangalurean or Karnataka community.
Eternal Rest Grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
Finally, a casual question to the readers:
"Do you believe that people come to know when they are going to die before they die?"
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