அடிக்கடி மணி கேட்டுக்கொண்டிருந்தவர்
என்று நான் ஒரு கவிதை முன்பு எழுதினேன். ஒரு மனிதன் இந்த உலகை விட்டு நீங்குவதை காலமாதல் என்று சொல்லும் வழக்கம் தமிழ்ப்பண்பாட்டுக்குரியது. கால நேரத்திற்குள் அடைபட்டுக்கொண்டிருந்தவர் இப்போது காலமற்ற, இடமற்ற ஒரு அனுபவத்தினுள் நுழைந்துவிட்டார் என்பதைக் குறிக்கும் வண்ணம், அவர் காலமாகவே ஆகிவிட்டார் என்று சொல்கிறோம்! ஆஹா, எவ்வளவு அற்புதமான, நுட்பமான, அழகன பண்பாடு, கலாச்சாரம் நமது! இப்போதெல்லாம் நான் இறப்பு பற்றி கொஞ்சம் அதிகமாகவே சிந்திக்கிறேன். அடிக்கடி சிந்திக்கிறேன். அச்சத்தினால் அல்ல. ஆர்வத்தினால்! அதைப்பற்றிக் கொஞ்சம் தெரிந்துகொண்டதால். ஊறுகாய் மாதிரி போன வருஷம் எனக்கேற்பட்ட அனுபவத்தின் காரணத்தினால். இந்த கவிதையை வைத்துப் பார்த்தால், இறப்பின் மீது எனக்கு ரொம்ப காலமாகவே ஆர்வமிருந்திருக்கிறது என்று நினைக்கத்தோன்றுகிறது. அதற்கு நான் படித்த ஆங்கில இலக்கியம் ஒரு காரணமாக இருந்திருக்கலாம். அமெரிக்கக் கவிஞர் எமிலி டிக்கின்சன் இறப்பு எனும் இறவாமை பற்றி நூறு அற்புதமான கவிதைகளாவது எழுதியிருப்பாள். Because I Could Not Stop for Death என்ற கவிதை ஒரு உதாரணம். அக்கு வேறு ஆணி வேறாக இறப்பை தான் வாழ்ந்த காலம் முற்றிலும் அவள் அலசி ஆராய்ந்தாள்! அவளுடைய கவிதைகளும் எனக்கு அதன்மீது ஆர்வம் வரக்காரணமாக இருந்திருக்கலாம்.
எதுஎப்படியோ, சமீபத்தில் இறப்பு பற்றிய அமெரிக்க ஆன்மிக குரு எக்ஹார்ட் ட்டாலியின் (Eckhart Tolle) உரை ஒன்றைக் கேட்டேன். அது என்னை என்னவோ செய்துவிட்டது. அவர் பேசும் அந்த பேச்சின் கடைசியில் என் கண்களைக் கலங்க வைத்துவிட்டார். ஒரு சில இடங்களில் மட்டும் வார்த்தை புரியவில்லை. அந்த இடங்களில் மூன்று புள்ளிகள் வைத்துள்ளேன். உங்களுக்குப் புரிந்தால் எனக்கும் சொல்லுங்கள். இந்த வீடியோவில் வரும் இயற்கைக் காட்சிகளைவிட அற்புதமான, பொருத்தமான, அழகானவற்றை நான் கண்டதில்லை. கூடவே வரும் இசையும் என்னவோ செய்கிறது. பல கணங்களில் டாலியின் பேச்சைப் புரிந்துகொள்ள முடியாமலும் செய்கிறது.
எனக்குப் புரிந்தவரை அந்த உரையை அப்படியே கொடுத்துள்ளேன். இதைத் தமிழில் கொடுத்தால் அழகே கெட்டுவிடும். ஆங்கிலத்திலேயே கேளுங்கள். மரணம் வருமுன் மரணித்துவிடுங்கள் [மூத்தூ, அன்த கப்ல மூத்தூ] என்று இறுதித்தூதர் (ஸல்) அவர்கள் ஏன் சொன்னார்கள் என்று உங்களுக்குப் புரியலாம்.
Death and the Eternal
When you walk through forest that has not been tamed and interfered with by man, you will see not only abundant life all around you but you will also encounter fallen trees and decaying trunks, rotten leaves and decomposing matter at every step. Wherever you look, you will find life as well as death. Upon close …however, you will discover that the decomposing tree trunk and watering leaves not only give birth to new life but are full of life themselves. Micro-organism are at work. Molecules are rearranging themselves. So death isn’t to be found anywhere. There is only the metamorphosis of life forms. What can you learn from this? Death is not the opposite of life. Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal.
Sages and poets throughout the ages have recognized the dream like quality of human existence. Seemingly so solid and real and yet so fleeting that it could dissolve at any moment. At the hour of your death, the story of your life may appear to you like a dream that is coming to an end. Yet even in the dream there must be an essence that is real. There must be a consciousness in which the dream happens. Otherwise, it would not be. That consciousness, does the body create it? Or does consciousness create the dream of body, the dream of somebody? Why did most of those who went through near death experience lose the fear of death? Reflect on this.
Of course, you know you are going to die. But that remains a mere mental concept until you meet death in person, for the first time, through a serious illness, or accident that happens to you or someone close to you, or through the passing away of a loved one, death enters your life as the awareness of your own eternity. Most people turn away from it in fear. But if you do not flinch and face the fact that your body is fleeting and put it off at any moment, there is some degree of dis-identification, however slight, from your own physical and psychological form the me.
While you see and accept the impermanent nature of all life forms, a strange sense of peace comes upon you. Through facing death, your consciousness is free to some extent from identification with form. This is why in some Buddhist traditions, the monks regularly visit the morgues to sit and meditate among the dead bodies. There is still a widespread denial of death in western culture. Even old people try not to speak or think about it. And dead bodies are hidden away. A culture that denies death inevitably becomes shallow and superficial, concerned only with the external form of things. When death is denied, life loses its steps. The possibility of knowing who we are beyond name and form, the dimension of the transcendent disappears from our lives because death is the opening into that dimension.
People tend to be uncomfortable with endings because every ending is a little death. That’s why in many languages, the word for ‘good-bye’ means ‘see you again’. Whenever an experience comes to an end, a gathering of friends, recreation, your children leaving home, you die a little death. A form, that appeared in your consciousness as that experience, dissolves. Often this leaves a feeling of emptiness that most people try hard not to feel, not to face. If you can learn to accept and even welcome the endings in your life, you may find that the feeling of emptiness that initially felt uncomfortable turns into a sense of inner spaciousness that is deeply peaceful. By learning to die daily in this way, you open yourself to life.
Most people feel that their identity, their essential self, is something incredibly precious that they don’t want to lose. That is why they have such fear of death. It seems unimaginable and frightening that I could cease to exist. But you confuse that precious ‘I’ with your name and form and the story associated with it. That ‘I’ is no more than a temporary field of information in your consciousness. As long as the form identity is all that you know, you are not aware that this preciousness is your own essence, … which is consciousness itself. It is the eternal in you. And that’s the only thing you cannot lose.
Whenever any kind of deep loss occurs in your life, such as loss of possessions, your home, close relationship, or loss of your reputation, job or physical abilities, something inside you dies. You feel diminished in a sense of who you are. There may also be a certain disorientation. With all this, who am I? when a form that you unconsciously identified as part of yourself leaves you or dissolves, that can be extremely painful. It leaves a whole, so to speak, in the fabric of your existence. When this happens, don’t deny or ignore the pain or the sadness that you feel. Accept that it is there. Beware of your mind’s tendency to construct a story around that loss in which you are assigned the role of victim.
Fear, anger, resentment or self-pity are the emotions that go with that role. Then become aware of what lies behind those emotions as well as behind the mind-made story. That hole, that empty space, can you face and accept that strange sense of emptiness? If you do, you will feel that it is no longer a fearful place. You may be surprised to find peace emanating from it.
Whenever death occurs, whenever a life form dissolves, God, the Formless and the Unmanifested, shines through the opening left by the dissolving form. That is why the most sacred thing in life is death. That is why the peace of God can come to you through the contemplation and acceptance of death.
How short-lived every human experience is, how fleeting our lives! Is there anything that is not subject to birth and death? Anything that is eternal? Consider this. If there were only one color, let us say blue, and the entire world and everything in it were blue, then there would be no blue. There needs to be something not blue so that the blue can be recognized. Otherwise, it would not stand out, would not exist. In the same way, does not require something that is not fleeting and impermanent for the fleetingness of all things to be recognized? In other words, everything, including yourself, were impermanent, would you even know it? Does the fact that you are aware of and witness the short-lived nature of all forms, including your own, not mean that there is something in you that is not subject to decay?
When you are twenty, you are aware of your body as strong and vigorous. Sixty years later, you are aware of your body as weak and tattered. Your thinking too might have changed from when you were twenty. But the awareness that knows that your body is young or old, or your thinking has changed has undergone no change. That awareness is the eternal in you. It is the formless one life. Can you…it? No. Because you are it.
Some people become deeply peaceful and almost luminous just before they die, as something is shining through the dissolving form. Sometimes it happens that very ill or old people become almost transparent, so to speak. In the last few weeks, months and even the years of their life. As I look at you, you may see a light shining through the eyes. There is no psychological suffering left. They have surrendered, and the past, the mind-made ego in me, has already dissolved. I have died before they died and found a deep inner peace. That is the realization of the deathless…
To every accident or disaster, there is a potential redemptive dimension that we are usually unaware of. The tremendous shock of totally unexpected imminent death can have the effect of forcing your consciousness completely out of identification with form. In the last few moments before physical death, and as you die, is an experience of yourself that your consciousness is free of form. Suddenly there is no more fear. Just peace and knowing that all is well and the death is only a form dissolving. Death is …recognized as ultimately illusory as illusory as the form you had identified with as yourself.
Death is not an anomaly or the most dreadful of events, as modern culture would have you believe but the most natural thing in the world, inseparable from and just as natural as its other polarity, birth. Remind yourself of this when you sit with a dying person. It is a great privilege and a sacred act to be present at a person’s death as a witness and a companion. When you sit with a dying person, do not deny any aspect of that experience. Do not deny what is happening and do not deny your feelings. The recognition that there is nothing you can do by making feel helpless, sad or angry. Accept what you feel, then go one step further. Accept that there is nothing you can do. And accept it completely. You are not in control. Deeply surrender to every aspect of that experience: your feelings, as well as any pain or discomfort the dying person is experiencing. Your surrendered state of consciousness and the stillness that comes with it will greatly assist the dying person and ease the transition. If words are called for, they will come out of the stillness within you. Action will be secondary. With the stillness comes benediction, peace