“I waste every day in useless, insignificant work…..and I waste every night, controlled by sleep. And in every twenty four hours, I never for one second consider that cruel death is sitting very close by my side”
– Bhakti Vinod Thakur (book KalyanaKalpataru– song DurlabhaManavaJanma)
As I hung up the phone after talking to Kirtidamataji, who is battling a cancer that has reached her brain cells, our driver slowed down. A huge crowd had gathered at the highway; a minute before we reached there had been a major accident. As we drove past the site, the gory sight was visible to all. “Krishna!!” was the spontaneous, anguished cry from all of us as we saw the road divider crash through the car, the vehicle mutilated beyond recognition. The thought of what must have happened to the passengers inside was shuddering. Some of us felt nauseatic, even as the police tried getting order into the confused state.
A few minutes later the phone rang again and I heard that the wife of my dear friend Jaydas, who gave birth to a baby boy three days ago, has contracted Dengue, a deadly disease and an acute infection of the lungs, and is struggling for her very life. While the child has been discharged from the hospital in the morning, the mother may not live to see her new-born again.
I sighed and fell back on the seat, trying to gather my wits; thrice in a span of five minutes I was reminded of death, the inevitable outcome of everybody in this world. The mood in the car became sombre; six brahmacharis, on our way to the farm centre heard another incident that burst to my memory. Three days ago Mayur’s sister had a close shave; she was travelling from Vrindavan on the fateful Mangala Express that derailed, and over a dozen passengers died in the accident. She was in the coach behind the one that fell off the tracks.
How fragile is our bodily existence! Any moment we could be stripped off all that we hold as dear. Meanwhile we hold grudges, and perceive prejudices and insults. Then there is the eternal struggle with lust; while people are dying all around us, the desire to enjoy gross and subtle sex pervades our consciousness.
Even as I am penning down these thoughts, my room is facing thick foliage in our quiet Govardhan Eco village. My thought ‘Oh what a relief to be in such a peaceful setting’ is short lived as a devotee informs me that a forest dog has pounced on one of our ducks, and taken him away. At a distance, I can hear his partner quack in the pain of separation; her beloved has been killed in an instant.
I am reminded of Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s kesavatuvajagatvicitra– ‘the material creation of Yours, Oh Keshava is most strange’ I conclude that sex and death are the two eternal activities happening in this bizarre material world; all that the beasts, insects, birds and humans do is within the realm of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. However as humans we have the rare chance to end this crazy game once and for all.
Let me now remember Krishna and chant with feeling, preparing for the moment when Time will disdainfully strip me off all that I hold on as mine; including my body that I foolishly adore in front of the mirror.
“Alas. Alas! What a remorseful situation has arisen! I am absorbed in all this trouble, but I never consider that all these things are temporary and subject to perish very soon. After I am dead and gone, where will all of my material opulence remain?”
– Bhakti Vinod Thakur (KalyanaKalpataru- DurlabhaManavaJanma)