A Date with Death

September 30, 2015

Death is an integral part of our life. In this article I have tried to explain how we can contain the fear of death, the origin of God with a different view, the purpose of life and where to find it and how we can achieve a dignified exit to reunite with the God.

Every one of us has to pass through the fear of dying one day or other. It is not only reserved for the convicts who receive the death penalty. We have many questions and possible explanations. Question is whether we will be able to meet our end comfortably in a dignified way welcoming it or rather fearfully trying to run away from it. If we can welcome it comfortably what is it that takes us to actually sail through the fear, is need to be known.

Mother Teresa’s divine call came when she saw the people dying on the streets of Kolkata. To give them a dignified exit from this world she sacrificed her everything and became a saint. She made her service a worship. Our ex-President Dr Kalam died while doing his passionate work, being with and teaching students. Those great souls do not needed any preparations to exit. Their lifestyle was their prayers and preparations. They were always ready. As St Augustine said he was ready to die even at the ground, while playing.

Fear of death bothers more to those people who lead a regretful life, not those who lead a fruitful life. I personally witnessed this truth being with a few elders during their final days.

Can we become like a Mother Teresa or a Dr Kalam within our domain? Can we welcome our final moment being ready ever, any time? Talking about death is considered pessimism and bad omen; but the fact is death is an integral part of our life.

If we can decorate our birthday celebrations, wedding day and many more other occasions in life, can’t we beautify our room in which we may take our last breath? We may not die there in the same place because no one knows when and where we are called back. Still the room where we sleep and rest during our old age being sick and unable to move, may be beautified with enough natural things. Let the fresh air freely flow brushing away the odors of medicines, daylight freely enter to destroy the bacteria and the stars and moon be clearly visible in the night. When we look outside, flowers butterflies and birds be visible to see the beautiful creation of God. We can install a music system to play the hymns, devotional songs and let there be enough portraits of God, saints and the loved ones. Whatever may be the way we lived our life, but surely we turn toward spirituality at the end because our soul do not allow us to get away from the Almighty.

I have often witnessed aged and helpless people placed at the corner of the house and left alone inside a dark room with no sufficient light and air inside. I have witnessed their lifeless eyes staring at the celling of the room lying on the bed. Those eyes silently conveying the message that they need company and life inside the room. I have seen their faces brightening up when a visitor comes to see them and the pain when they go. I have seen those dry eyes full of emotions caring for us even when they are personally disabled.

How to lead a life to die prepared? We had a wonderful example in front of us, the Apple founder Steve Jobs. As he said every challenge in life including the first meeting with his would-be wife he met with only one mindset, he may not get a second chance. What example he set we all know. Just a sense of may not be getting the second chance in life again. A sense that death may embrace him anytime and this moment should be lived fruitfully. This clearly indicates that having the sense of death at the corner of the mind is neither a wrong thing nor a bad omen.Instaed it may do wonders in our life. May be when we forget this fact and live as immortals, we fall and fail in life.

All living things die and decay and go back to the point of origin; from the gigantic stars to simple bacterias.The work of creation and destruction (change of form) is a non-ending process. It is like the two parallel rail tracks on which life runs like a train. As the famous law of the physics and chemistry says "Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed". It just changes its form. In this direction if we take our thoughts little further, the death belongs to the body only, the soul continues to live beyond death in a different form (Like it is in the form of human body now) which we do not know. We fall and fail when we suppress the voice of soul. Those listen chose constructive ways and those neglects try to destroy and on the process get destroyed and fall. The best example we had in Dr APJ Kalam’s and Yakub Memon's death. Both brilliant minds but their end reflected their choice in life.

Death in any form unites us with the Almighty after the purpose of life is served. How we know that our purpose of life is served? From where the purpose of life comes? One fine day I asked this question to one of my mentor when we met at marine drive sea shore in Mumbai. I was struggling to establish myself those days and used to find peace at the sea shore. He told me that if and when I come and sit at the sea shore when I become old, if I have lead my life meaningfully, a joy of fulfillment/abundant will automatically cover my heart thinking about the struggles and the victories I had in my life; my responsibility toward my fellow citizens in the society and the entire mankind. And that happiness cannot be artificially created and felt. This is the proof that I lived my life the way it should have been.

The purpose in life comes from our immediate suroundings. Not everything is perfect there. We need to pick up things which are imperfect and set things right.If something is wrong where we are born or where we go, when we meet a wrong person or whatever we feel imperfect ,we are being there to set things right. God has a purpose behind us, being there. Let us Understand and accept it instead of complaining. A helping hand for the needy (to orphans), a little concern (old aged and helpless), some guidance (to illiterates) and some sacrifice (to needy) or a combination of all these toward the less fortunate around us. From here we need to pick up our purpose in life. That is why we are born and sent to a particular environment or we enter a particular situation. We feel our presence there is accidental when we see things blindly, but when we open our wisdom we can see the hidden purpose of God.

We say every now and then that life is very short. How short is it, in fact? I am very much fascinated by the full moon and love nature very much. When interacting with a group of students during one such full moon day at the sea shore we started calculating the number of full moon days we really can enjoy in our lifetime. And that figure turned out to be just 240 full moon days after all the calculations we made! So short our life span is!

What is death in fact then? Is it the end? Surely NO, not only all religious teachings; but also the law of the nature and science says this. It signals the beginning of another form of energy like every destination in life signals the beginning of one more leg of journey. Like the transition stages in life; infancy to childhood, youth, adults and aged. Adulthood signals the end of youth in us but at the same time we welcome the beginning of adulthood as more responsible and matured individuals. Only the role we perform changes. Likewise we change our role after death and continue to live thereafter also.

Fear of death may be originating because we don’t know what role we suppose to play, where and how after we exit from this life. When we cross each day here in this world we are getting closer to a new beginning. This journey of life may be treated as the process of purification in which an “innocent child” becomes a ‘matured child” at the end of the process,passing through various stages of life and enters the divinity again completing a full circle.

Sometimes we doubt and question the presence of God; it is because this world seems to be very cruel. As we all know that nothing in this world is simply existing. There is a manufacturer behind it. There is an action and reaction or a cause and effect. There is a reason behind everything .All things we see are commanded somewhere. It is not chaotic, from the universe to a simple household (family structure) .If we can take this assumption a little ahead it is very clear that there must be someone behind this huge unbelievable creation. He is God.

Then a question may arise; from where God came! One of the explanation I read is we are programmed to believe that there must be a cause to exist something. Let us imagine that something just exists without any cause. That is the origin of God. He simply exists without any cause behind him since God is beyond any cause and our imagination. Like this many things in this universe may be existing without any cause, just because we do not know about it yet, we can’t deny this assumption either (Try to imagine our existence without our parents!!Amoeba multiplies without sexual reproduction).

One of the famous quote explains death as “Life is pleasant, Death is peaceful; it is the transition that’s troublesome”. This transition is in our hand .We either make it a painful ride or a joyful journey depends on what we chose in life. A joyful journey choosing constructive ways in life makes us worthy to embrace that deep sleep (death) without much fear and rise again united with the Almighty.

When we don’t even enter a bus train or plane without a clear sense of our intended destination, wetake life for granted and enjoy life without any purpose and goal. Weshould have a clear cut destination in life too, throughgoals set for us and toward society. We keep praising the great souls but somehow do not get enough motivated to be like them within our limits.

If our passing over should be peaceful and remembered, our journey toward it should be joyful and purposeful. There is no point regretting at the end when we have a chance now and make amendments. Try to meet anaged person who lead the life of a criminal, all powerful and hear his comments about life. Only such people can understand and tell us what they have lost on the way.

Not only should we, the human beings but also all other species, every creation that breathes and is alive, has the right to exit in a dignified manner. It is our responsibility as most intelligent species to ensure this right to all other living creatures around us.

Nothing ends really, there is no end and hence there is no death but transition. Where there is an end, there is a new beginning, there is resurrection. We die to rise and live again with God.


Vincent D'Sa Archives:
By Vincent D'Sa, Shankerpura/Dubai
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Comment on this article

  • John Pereira, Mangalore/Mumbai

    Sun, Oct 04 2015

    This article is an eyeopener for some. I met an 81 year old Bhatkar in Goa a couple of days back, who is having acres of property. However, he is in the process of usurping the property of his brothers, one of whom died, followed by his wife. Now his only son has been told to vacate the house which was built by his hard-earned money. I questioned him, why is doing this? He vociferously told me his father had bequeathed the entire family property solely to him, which to my knowledge is a blatant lie as I understand he has forged the documents and has laid a claim to the property, inspite all his children are well-settled and are silent spectators in the saga of grabbing property, knowing that all of them will be beneficiaries. The elder guy, who is in the twilight of his life and still nurses greed of property which he will not be able to take with him on his death.
    Has anybody experienced death and come back to life. I have heard that a person known to my friend had died and he came back to life before he was about to be buried at his funeral. He narrated his experience that although he had died physically, his soul had not separated from his body but he could experience purgatory where people are burning in fire and asking for their thirst to be quenched. Even, I experienced death in my sleep and I found on dying my soul suddenly plunged into a dark abyss, which could be hell
    I have heard that in case of those who go to heaven, they have to cross a thorny path and meet Peter

  • Roshan Braganza, Mumbai

    Sun, Oct 04 2015

    Death is very traumatic after loosing loved ones . Our senses carve to meet them again 'physically'. Religion gives lots of answers as we know it . But logical and scientific explanation !? , well one can find hell of stuff and books about this but most of them are money making business and not authentic .

    Now lets look at the departed person , yes it shakes us , sometime makes us believe we are mortals. Body with no movement , brain with no neuron activities . Yes , conscious dead for eternity and gone for ever. No coming back !!. Well most skeptics , doctors or rationals agree with this . Now lets look at the history , from newtanian era to end of nineteenth century physics was about matter from macro level , how they behave and interact with each other . Here matter ( space , mass ) was above energy ( mind). But after einstains and max planks ground breaking theories , science went deep into sub atomic level and quantum mechanics born . It was too radical and shook the very foundation of science . Matter and mass r convertible ! , waves and particles that can behave exactly the same at exact point !! , time dilations and existence of other dimensions !!. It gave rise to string and M theory which proposes 11dimensions all curled up each other ,

    Extensive research on NDE ( near death experience) gave bizzare experiences , which skeptics debunked as secretion of glands in brain when it shuts down upon death. However they were unable to bedunk , how cardiac patients after recovered threw CPR had the hovering experience over their body or reading dashboards outside the ICU. The very foundation of Quantum physics turned lots of scientists and doctors into a belief that CONSCIOUSNESS SURVIVES DEATH . One of controversial but popular and accepted theories is Dr Lanzas ( rated as best 3 scientists alive today by newyork times ) BIO CENTRISM ! which proposes mind over matter , ie the universe exist because of our conscious and how we percieve it . The term conscious is debatable and has both knowledge , experience , traits which baby learns right from the womb , but it has more of it , the AWARENESS of SELF and sensation of universe that some how connected ie infinite consciousness. One of the strongest proposition is that Conscious can exist outside body , and OBE and AP ( astral projection) theory support this. The human emotions like happiness , love or awareness may exist in other dimensions as matter and manifesting as energy in this 3 dimensional physical world. So possibly upon death , some part of conscious survives and continue to exist in other realm .

    So coming to skeptics who say there is nothing after death , even if you take this account which gives rise to lots of conclusions . First of all nothingness or non existance from Existance cannot b explained scientificaly. Even if eternal nothingness is accepted , it results in another theory ETERNAL RE OCCURENCE , born and having same life again and again i

  • Lorna, thottam /mira road

    Sat, Oct 03 2015

    Very nice article. Most of us don't like to talk about death. But that is the truth of life.
    Keep writing.

  • Clevin D'Souza, Pangla/Dubai

    Sat, Oct 03 2015

    Nice Article Vincy. We attend so many funerals but always think that we have many more years left to be there. We always try to gather more and more wealth Though we know we will go empty handed.

  • Bonison Pinto, Mangalore

    Thu, Oct 01 2015

    Well written article. I liked this line very much "I have witnessed aged and helpless people placed at the
    corner of the house and left alone inside a dark room with no
    sufficient light and air inside". Death is projected as something bad. Though we know death is inevitable, it should be accepted gladly, because we pass from mortality to immortality & to new life.

  • Lavina Mathias, Mangalore

    Thu, Oct 01 2015

    Dear Vincent,

    Good article. Yes, Many of us having fear of death. As per your article famous quote explains death as “Life is pleasant, Death is peaceful it is the transition that’s troublesome”. This transition is in our hand .We either make it a painful ride or a joyful journey depends on what we chose in life. A joyful journey choosing constructive ways in life makes us worthy to embrace that deep sleep (death) without much fear and rise again united with the Almighty. This is true.

  • AZECHIEL SEQUEIRA, M'ore-Kulshekar/ Mumbai

    Wed, Sep 30 2015


  • Joe Britto, Nakre/Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 30 2015

    Wonderful article by Vincent D'sa and most useful as well as his tips are practical .

    I would like to share a few words as well.

    If one feels down or off mood , then He/She should think that Today is the First day of His/Her life on Earth.

    If that thought does not help then imagine that Today is the LAST day of your life.

    Even if that fails to enliven our Spirits then think that TODAY is the ONLY day of your life and make the best of whatever comes your way and do every deed as if it were your last piece of action.

    These immortal words of GBS are worth registering in our frail human minds :

    "I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations..."
    George Bernard Shaw

  • ibrahim, Mangaluru

    Wed, Sep 30 2015

    Nice article, at-least someone is speaking about death, which many people hate to discuss. We are constantly reminded to remember death everyday, because we do not know the food i pick up from my plate will reach my mouth or not. I may die before my hand reaches my mouth, so we are so close.
    I have seen many people who drive from one place and with in a matter of seconds their cars met with accident and rest is history.
    Majority of human being are not aware of purpose of life. The purpose of life is achieving ultimate success. We are destined to heaven or hell.
    If we remain grateful to our Creator and follow the real commands (not man made) we will achieve success. If we worship anyone else other than Creator, then that is considered major sin, there is no forgiveness
    However, we need to set our priorities right. Priority to achieve success hereafter should be topmost. Some people under the impression that, if we achieve good positions, become rich we are successful. We are successful in this world, but may not be hereafter.
    So we must be careful enough to think and ponder about our life after death, which is permanent where as life we are living here is temporary

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