Sunday, September 24, 2006

Reflection on Death

On Saturday afternoon I was discussing with my family about funerals. We discussed whether there is any point in funerals when the dead body is displayed at the house of the family or sometimes just outside the Gurdwara so that the Sangat can have Darshan (glimpse) at the body before its cremated.

Various points were raised. It is true that a lot of people don't even want to look at the dead body but just walk pass because they are 'expected' to do so. The main people who wish to probably see the dead body before cremation are close family members. Therefore, bringing the body to public view causes unnecessary crying by random people, making family members feel more sad and upset. On the other hand, showing the body of the dead person is a physical reminder of death to everyone. In the fast pace of life, absorbed in worldly pursuits and attachments we so easily forget that one day we will die. It is true that in India people remember death more, even the trucks and tractors have "Rab Raakhaa" written on them to remind passers by that death can come any time and that God is our Guardian.

I came across this Shabad, which really hit me:
ਸੂਕਰ ਕੂਕਰ ਜੋਨਿ ਭ੍ਰਮੇ ਤਊ ਲਾਜ ਨ ਆਈ ॥
sookar kookar jon bhrame ta-oo laaj na aa-ee.
You have wandered in reincarnation, as pigs and dogs - did you feel no shame?

ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਛਾਡਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਕਾਹੇ ਬਿਖੁ ਖਾਈ ॥੩॥
raam naam chhaadd amrit kaahe bikh khaa-ee. ||3||
Forsaking the spiritual-life giving Name of Vaheguru, why do you eat poison? ||3||
(Ang 692)
We forget so easily that this human life is so special! After wandering through so many births Vaheguru has given us this human body. So why compromise? Being a dog, pig or cattle - is this our goal? Vaheguru help us! Vaheguru bless us to make our life WORTHY of living through blessing us with Gursikhi Jeevan (the lifestyle of the Guru's Sikhi), the gift of Naam Japnaa (meditating on Naam) and living in His Grace and Glory.

In the evening Daas went to the Rainsbayee (all-night) Keertan at Bedford. A Bhaji from India, who did Keertan at Khalsa Camp, beautifully sang a Shabad. The Shabad was:
ਸਭੁ ਜੀਉ ਪਿੰਡੁ ਮੁਖੁ ਨਕੁ ਦੀਆ ਵਰਤਣ ਕਉ ਪਾਣੀ ॥
sabh jee-o pindd mukh nak dee-aa vartaN kau paaNee.
He gave all beings souls, bodies, mouths, noses and water to drink.

ਅੰਨੁ ਖਾਣਾ ਕਪੜੁ ਪੈਨਣੁ ਦੀਆ ਰਸ ਅਨਿ ਭੋਗਾਣੀ ॥
ann khaaNaa kapaR painaN dee-aa ras an bhogaaNee.
He gave them corn to eat, clothes to wear, and other pleasures to enjoy.

ਜਿਨਿ ਦੀਏ ਸੁ ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਆਵਈ ਪਸੂ ਹਉ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਣੀ ॥੩॥
jin dee-e so chit na aave-ee pasoo hau kar jaaNee. ||3||
But they do not remember the One who gave them all this. The animals think that they made themselves! ||3||
(Ang 167)
The Shabad made me reflect on life, death and that being thankful to Vaheguru for everything should be constantly on our mind. Something, which we easily forget.

Today I was walking on Smethwick High Street towards the Gurdwara Sahib when bumped into a Veerjee who told me some very sad news that today the bodies of 3 young Gursikhs, aged 15, 17 and 21, were recovered from a lake in the Lake District (For full news story click here).
ਮਰਣਿ ਨ ਮੂਰਤੁ ਪੁਛਿਆ ਪੁਛੀ ਥਿਤਿ ਨ ਵਾਰੁ ॥
maraN na moorat puchhi-aa, puchhee thit na vaar.
Death does not ask the time; it does not ask the date or the day of the week.
(Ang 1244)

The shocking news, reminded me of the Saakhi (story) of when Guru Nanak Sahib jee asked a 7 year old child why he wakes up at Amrit-vela and comes to see the Guru when he could be sleeping or playing. The young child called BooRaa replied: "Guru jee I fear death!" Guru asked, "Why is that?" The young child replied: "Well, one day my mother asked me to light the cooking fire. When I put fire on the wood, I observed that the smaller sticks burned before the larger sticks. Since that day I thought death might come at any time. Therefore, I enjoy hearing Gurbaani in your Sangat (Company)." Hearing this Guru Nanak Sahib jee renamed the child 'Bhai Buddha' jee ('Buddha,' meaning wise old man) because he had the wisdom of an old wise man as opposed to a young immature child.

Please take time out to do Ardaas (a prayer) for the Aatmik Shaantee (peace for the souls) of the 3 young Gursikhs who sadly died, for the recovery of those who suffered injuries, and also for the families of all those affected.

ਕਬੀਰ ਸੰਤ ਮੂਏ ਕਿਆ ਰੋਈਐ ਜੋ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਜਾਇ ॥
kabeer sant moo-e kiaa ro-ee-ai, jo apne grihi jaa-e.
O Kabeer! There is no need to cry or feel sad at the death of a Saint (Gurmukh); because he is just going back to his home where no-one can remove him (meaning, the Gurmukh is now forever absorbed in the Presence of Vaheguru).

ਰੋਵਹੁ ਸਾਕਤ ਬਾਪੁਰੇ ਜੁ ਹਾਟੈ ਹਾਟ ਬਿਕਾਇ ॥੧੬॥
rovhu saakat baapure ju haattai haatt bikaaa-e. ||16||
(If you wish to cry or feel sorry then) cry for the wretched, faithless cynic, who is separated from Vaheguru, (in exchange for his bad actions) he is sold from store to store (meaning, he suffers in reincarnation). ||16||
(Ang 1365)


Sifar said...

Da-at Piyaree, Visar-ya Da-taar....


FaujKaur said...


upinder kaur said...

Death always reminds us of God.
Its simple... If you remember Kal thought of Akal will follow.

ਸਲੋਕ ਮਃ ੫ ॥
ਪਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣੁ ਕਬੂਲਿ ਜੀਵਣ ਕੀ ਛਡਿ ਆਸ ॥
ਹੋਹੁ ਸਭਨਾ ਕੀ ਰੇਣੁਕਾ ਤਉ ਆਉ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਪਾਸਿ ॥੧॥

Sifar said...

Once Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev jee Maharaaj asked Bhai Mardana that how far does he thinks the death is. Bhai Mardana humbly said that he does not know if he will see tomorrow or not. Upon this Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev jee Maharaaj said that death is not that far from us. Death is as close to us as the air we inhale, we may not be able to exhale it.


Puneet Kaur said...

Beautiful post & amazing sakhi about Baba Budha ji!how lucky Baba Budda ji, Bhai Mardana ji & Bhai Lehna ji must've been to see Guru Sahib & be blessed by Him.

Guru rakha