India is a place where death and dying is not hidden away, nor sanitized. Vedic India's perspectives on this subject are frank, wise and wonderful.
I visited my friend Nirguna, who is dying of an inoperable tumour, and being attended to in the next-door apartment. He specifically came here to Mayapur a couple of months ago with the intention of passing away in a sacred place, surrounded by his friends and absorbed in spiritual consciousness at the final moments of his life.
I met Nirguna last year in Poland, where we not only shared a room together during the Baltic Sea Coast Festival of India Tour, but also shared many thoughts on our decades as devotees of Krishna. He was vital and healthy then, and since his long marriage had just ended he had enthusiastically resigned himself to spending the rest of his life in vigorous service and renunciation.
Since life does not end with the death of this body, and since he has absorbed himself in deep spiritual service for many years, Nirguna is still enthusiastic, peaceful and happy, despite these being his final days in his present body. An exalted trancendentalist does not fear death, and as such Nirguna is ready to move on.
He remembered me from Poland and stared unblinkingly into my eyes for many minutes. Devotees and medical staff are with him around the clock. I pray I can be so fixed and determined when my time comes, and be surrounded with so much loving care.
Today also marks a special time for me and my family, since around noon I shall be immersing my mother's earthly remains in the sacred river Ganges with mantras, prayers and a small ceremony.
I have carried her ashes with me from Australia, and soon she shall receive the divine shelter of Mother Ganga.
The expert and devoted head priest and long-time resident saint here in Mayapur is Jananivasa, pictured below, right, with his identical twin brother Pankajanghri. He will be performing the ceremony and guiding me through the procedures.
We're all in safe hands.
Posted by Kurma on 1/11/07; 2:54:59 AM
from the dept.