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Mariners – Passing To Eternity

A very close batch-mate was seriously ill and died. Along with his family and friends, I too had to steel myself for the inevitable end. The memories of glorious days spent out at sea (in happier times) remained, though he did not. You have been in this state before, more than once; we all must have been through this, at some time or the other. Yet that sense of loss, the grief, that accompanies each death of a colleague, remains the same.

The wise ones, of all faiths, counsel acceptance of death with calmness, courage and fortitude: ‘From the moment one is born, every human being (in fact, every living thing) is programmed to face one unalterable fact. That he/she is going to (inevitably) approach death, with each passing moment’. If this be so, then, logically, what is there to fear or dread ? Is it the fear of the unknown, that is the most difficult to bear ? Or is it the pain to our near and dear ones, which we may fear ? Death actually ends the pain, for the person passing through the ‘gate’; in doing so, he merely leaves behind the inanimate matter, which we call as the body.

Fine words, these. But of what consolation will they bring, to the mariner’s wife, who must forever lose the man she loved and depended on for 20 years or more? What solace will they bring to the young child, the very ‘apple’ of his / her father’s eye. All the words (in all languages) cannot convey even an iota, of the love that exists between these wonderful people, this family. How will mere words fill the awful void, that death will soon bring in their midst ? Right now they are coping, with incredible courage. When the body has been cremated and the funeral is over, then will begin the time of grief. The time when routine life has to be picked up and reorganised.

A recollected guffaw or Shayari, a long forgotten scribble discovered in some dusty old year book from DMET or RAJENDRA, strikes a resonant chord. The old group photograph will upset you and may bring tears. Yet, with each recollection, slowly and surely, the wounds of parting will heal. ‘Time gilds, with gold, the iron links of pain’.

Some philosophies try to tell us that all illness or miseries are the result of ‘Karma’, i.e. the sins committed in one’s past life, and that they must be suffered. We are not ‘allowed’ to interfere with this process. If this were true, than one would never have to take any medicines, and even if taken, the person would never get cured ! Another thing is, that every time a person suffers a punishment, he should be aware of his sin, so that he does not do it again. Of what use is there, in punishing a person for some ‘unknown’ sin of his past life ? Also, the sooner you take medicine, after proper diagnosis, the easier it is to cure yourself. In fact, we take inoculations so as to prevent the onset of known diseases. By this means, the world has managed to eradicate a vast number of dreaded diseases, although there are still many left to take care of. So sickness is obviously not something that is destined or certain. It is more likely caused by not taking suitable precautions and needlessly exposing your body to infection. If you neglect to boil your drinking water, and get some germs, can you blame it on fate ?

You decide whether you remain well or get sick, depending on how your sub-conscious mind is ‘programmed’. If you do not program your mind, it will revert to programs written by others ( your ancestors or your environment). We can ensure, that while we live, we can do so in the best of health, provided we take adequate care of our body and mind. Numerous people have been able to cure themselves of existing sicknesses and thereafter live without any sickness, till the end of their days, after suitably ‘re-programming’ their sub-conscious minds.

We know, for a fact, that any machine has a certain longevity or ‘life span’, after which its parts are worn out. Even the best tools can’t make the parts new again, so an end must come, which is inevitable, just as the Sunset must follow a Sunrise. We cannot think of having one without the other. Although we die physically, the soul is said to be immortal, so in that sense we don’t ‘die’.

As the days merge into months and years, each precious memory will deepen into a reservoir of strength. And only then will the words of the wise ones reveal their fullest meaning. These frail bodies are destructible, made from mere atoms, to be formed and reformed i.e. re-incarnated. But contentment, happiness, love. These things are not ‘made’ and therefore cannot ‘die’, they merely are. They are eternal. With this awareness all pain will vanish, to be replaced by a deep inner peace.

– Vikram Gokhale & N. Nanda (authors of NG Series)

[Mr Vikram Gokhale and Mr. N. Nanda are both Marine Engineers, who are senior faculty with LBS College. They have extensive experience, not only as teachers in the Marine field, but also practical experience as shipboard engineers, in tackling a variety of problems.]

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