According to oriental philosophy, death is not the end. It denotes freedom of the infinite from the clutches of bodily flesh. It is therefore said that the wise do not grieve over the materialistic end of life of their loved ones; it is, but another check against the list of karmic events to be completed during one’s time on earth.
I grew up listening to such philosophical conversations revolving around life and death; and yet, the significance of it never touched me until I saw the passing away of my grandfather, followed by the passing away of my grandmother (in the very next year)– both of whom were deeply involved in the intricacies of my own life.
In many ways, being able to overcome their loss with a deliberate effort has made me feel much more ‘improved’ as a person. This also meant letting go of my own ‘selfish desires’ to hold on to people who were ready to move to the next stages of their ‘soul-ly evolution’.
To lean on fellow travelers-such as parents, siblings, spouse, children, friends and so on- for comfort during the journey on earth is, but naturally human. And yet, like in all journeys, some people leave, and some others enter; as a traveler, you keep moving on until your stop arrives, enjoying the journey to the best that you can.
Time, the powerful healer would have done the job; and yet, I was impatient. The memories of the past- my time with my grandparents, albeit sweet- had to be forgotten.
Rather, they had to be remembered without my feeling a longing emotion for those experiences (to occur) all over again.
Why was this important to me?
When you spend too much time dwelling on what’s irreversible, you lose out on the charm of the moment.
I wanted to move on.
But before that, here’s a narrative that I would like to record for anybody who might want to read about the couple who set deep seated ideals for the family that they built .
My grandfather was a man of few words- a humble teacher, and a master story-teller, who was unfettered by the charms of the materialistic world. He was deeply content, and grateful to the divine for his existence. “Do thy duty; fruits are not thy concern”, he would quote the Bhagvad Gita to the 5 year old me- whenever I would crib about my lost dues to him.
A man who knew not to utter lies, he was innocent at heart, and kind in his deeds.
My grandmother was his perfect companion- a woman of steely grit, and smarts. She knew how to wade through the maze of worldly life to which my grandfather often showed a detached indifference. Like him, she too was content with whatever life provided her -with all its concomitant challenges, and worries.
With them around, there was hardly anything else that needed attention in my life- a habit that remained until their end.
In writing this brief note about them, I hope to clean away what remains in me as the residue of my infinite memories with people who meant the most to me. Those flashes of the charming home in which they lived their lives, the place that ‘homed’ our emotions while as children we grew up, the love that ‘templed’ its air, and the eyes of its people that always reassured us that “all was well”…
“Letting Go” of the past for the onward journey makes you feel lighter; it unbinds those departed souls from the pangs of their earthly bondage too. To some, this may seem like an insensitive act- “The souls need to be remembered, and their memories cherished forever”, they may say. Yet, the orient in me wishes to say a ‘goodbye’ with the same smile with which my grandparents would wave at us from the balcony of their house whenever we drove out.
That era has ended- only for a new one.