Soulie Saturday #8: Is Death an End… or a New Beginning?

He lies there, still, not a movement, eyes closed, a distinct calming aura radiating around his face… if peace is for real, this is it – I say to myself.

Someone standing near, bursts in a bout of tears. A few others follow suit. The cries around break my attention from him, turning it instead, towards the sadness all around. The atmosphere is heavy, emotions swirling around in the cauldron of time… two of them are more easily graspable than others uniting us all in these moments of sorrow. Grief and pain, they are very much palpable; a loved one is no more.

Someone’s father, someone’s brother, someone’s dear friend, husband, a well wisher, someone who made a difference in another life… that someone is no longer alive. The breath of spirit has been stripped away by forces beyond control. The loss is real and hard. The reality hits like a hammer hitting a nail in the heart and one feels helpless in the face of existence.

Funeral pyre at Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi
Death, is it an end or a new beginning?

One part of me can't fathom the enormity of the loss and wants to cry and there is yet another part of me that wants to shift, come face to face with what is, as is and see… him... calm, composed and unperturbed - all set to flow into eternity, just like Mother Ganga, and embark on a new journey of rest, rejuvenation and renewal.

Emotions that were once a part of living... nothing affects him anymore… nor pain, nor pleasure, within and without.

The worldly sorrow and misery no longer hold him hostage. Thoughts, desires, wants, restlessness and anxieties cannot disturb him now. They have all drifted away with the billowing vapours, dissipating, dissolving like unwanted particles of dust in the atmosphere. He is unattached, finally free… free from the bounding shackles of caste, creed, color and race. If peace is for real, this is it, I say to myself and close my eyes in prayer... in those moments, peace suddenly becomes tangible.

Why is it that events like death, loss, darkness seem intimidating to most of us …
is it because it is hard to let go of the people and possessions we hold so dear?
Is it because it is so hard to come to terms with our own emotions of pain and grief?
Is it because death brings us face to face with our own fragilities,
our own tenderness in the midst of anguish and bereavement
and calls for a new level of endurance and acceptance?

The hissing murmers of an endless stream of questions in my mind slowly fade with the fading vapours flowing away as do the cries and shrieks of his near and dear ones. Only ashes remain here. On the earth. There, in my heart, he breathes… his journey in peace sparking a light of joy and happiness, for an entire eternity to come.

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If we live, we live for the Lord;
and if we die, we die for the Lord.
So, whether we live or die,
we belong to the Lord. ~ Roman 14:8

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This picture is from one of the oldest and sacred ghats in Varanasi, Manikarnika Ghat. Funeral pyres burn here night and day, everyday. A cremation here is considered to be a liberated passage into the higher realm (myoksha) and ashes are flown into River Ganga just as life flows into eternity. Legend has it that it is at this ghat where Mother Parvati’s Karnika (earring) had fallen, hence the name. At the upper level of the the ghat, one can see the Baba Mashan Nath temple. You can read more about the ghats of Varanasi here - A walk along the ghats of Varanasi.

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Be a part of #Soulie!

A Soul Selfie series or “#Soulie” series aiming to meaningfully strengthen my personal connect with my Father, God (you can choose to call Him by any name you like as long as the reference is maintained and more importantly the essence) by peeping within my own heart — collecting your prayers and feelings too as you discover the world – and jotting them down on paper. It’s a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts.

Here is what you can do if you wish to join in.

1. Send me one picture / blog / instagram clicked by you and a few lines by your heart on how that moment makes you relate with that Someone Higher in your life in a more meaningful and healthy way.

Post a Comment


  1. A great communication and perception on death and connectivity... feel through capture!

  2. Thoughts that would cross everybody's mind someday. We can chose to be fearful of death or accept it as a reality!


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