Thursday, February 19, 2009

Birth & Death

"How come we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved." - Mark Twain

Mark Twain quotes are funny. What's new?

However, birth and death are two loaded terms. Most of us do not seem to think much about birth or death. We all remember our birthdays. But, do we think anything more about our birth itself? Not about the biological process. But, birth as an event. What does it signify? Is that a distinct event at all? Or birth and death are imaginary markings on a continuum called life. Time is continuous. Days, weeks, months, years, calendars are all imaginary markings created just so that we can frame time for our convenience.

Engravings on Osho Rajnish's tomb, it is said, read as "Visited this planet between this date and that date." I think that is right. It ties well with another quote "we are not human beings on spiritual journey but spiritual beings on human journey." It is all goes back to the concept of soul. Soul has to evolve from life to life. So, it needs a vehicle. That vehicle is body.

Buddhist philosophy explains concept of soul very beautifully. Although essence is same as the one found in Hinduism. Buddhism has explained it much better. Soul is on a long journey. It is so long that one vehicle is not enough to complete the journey. Every time the soul takes a new vehicle, we are born. After many years of driving that vehicle, vehicle reaches its end life and soul discards the vehicle and that is death. What happens to the soul after death? Buddhists say that soul rests in a resort like place called 'Bardho' waiting for right vehicle to show up. Then comes right vehicle, right circumstances, right parents, right family, right race, right society - all just perfectly right for soul to complete its next leg of the journey. Soul hops on and begins the next life.

This explanation is beautiful.This helps understand why we are the way we are, why are our circumstances the way they are and so on. We have everything perfectly right for us to complete our journey. Since we are not capable of knowing the truth and the whole truth, we may not understand everything but explanation seems to make sense. Right circumstances and right means for right journey. Our problems, worries, hardships are all part of that right combination perfect for our soul to complete journey. At times it may feel very hard but if we have to evolve, all this is necessary and firmly believing that we are perfect the way we are and our circumstances are perfect goes a long way in alleviating suffering that we create for ourselves. That's why it is said -pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.


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