“ Is n’t gospel the study of death? True proponents are always enthralled in the practice of dying. ” — Plato
Death is certain. We all know that. What we don't know is when we will die and how our end is to come. That's one big source of anxiety in our lives. It may not be always apparent on the face, but deep down in the unplumbed depths of our mind this anxiety is ever-present and is veritably strong. It shoots up sometimes when someone close to us dies, or when we're in a profoundly despairing mood, or when we begin to question the meaning of life and mortal actuality.
We generally try to keep down from the study of death( or, more directly, we try to help it from sticking around too long in the mind) by involving ourselves with life and its enterprises. We spend hours planning how to do this and that, or deciding what untreated job is to be completed over the weekend, or wondering where we should go during recesses, or figuring on meeting someone for commodity, and so on. Not every plan works out the way we want it to. Some of our plans miscarry miserably, some go crazy interior, some need to be drastically modified, some bear last- nanosecond differences and, if we're lucky, a many of our plans are fulfilled impeccably.
Life is full of inconsistencies. It isn't surprising that utmost of our plans fail, what's amazing is that a many do manage to succeed. The topmost riddle enterprises our paradoxical geste
. We're eager to plan our life which is only a crazy pack of misgivings, but we don't indeed feel the necessity to plan our death, although it's the only event we can be absolutely certain about. also, plans about life depend on numerous variables over which we've no control, but a plan about death is entirely a particular affair involving only the existent, and hence far easier to carry out successfully. Who's further intelligent and practical — bone
who plans to pluck the stars from the sky or bone
who plans to pick apples from a tree in the vicinity?
The sense behind this thinking can be questioned, of course. We can point out, for case, that if life has its misgivings, so has death. Just as we can not be too sure about the how and when of anything in life, we're also not sure about the how and when of death. So in what way is death less uncertain than other events in life? This is a valid question. And the answer is that, in this respect, the event of death is indeed analogous to other events.
One big difference still is that, while some awaited events may noway take place, or if they do, not in the way we allowed
they would, death always takes place and every time in the same way, videlicet, by the stopping of the breath. Everything in life is continuously changing; only the fact of death has remained unchanged. We can be absolutely certain about nothing except our eventual death. In Swami Vivekananda’s words
“ The whole world is going towards death, everything dies. All our progress, our vanities, our reforms, our luxuries, our wealth, our knowledge, have that bone
end — death. That's all that's certain. metropolises come and go, conglomerates rise and fall, globes break into pieces and deteriorate into dust, to be blown about by the atmospheres of other globes. therefore it has been going on from time without beginning. Death is the end of everything. Death is the end of life, of beauty, of wealth, of power, of virtue too. Saints die and wrongdoers die, lords die and mendicants die. They're all going to death. ”( CW, 2. 92- 93)
We don't know in advance the exact time of our death or under what garb our death is to come. But this depends on circumstances beyond our control anyway, and knowing or not knowing about it can not alter what's to take place. What's within our control is how we encounter death whenever it chooses to come. Our internal medication and station are the crucial factors that decide how we ’ll face our death. While we can not choose the external manner of our death, we can surely choose how we're going to face this great event. We do thus have some choice in the matter.
occasionally we can exercise our choice indeed in the external circumstances leading to our death. The great Greek champion Socrates( 470- 399 BCE) did it — and in what a staid manner! His musketeers had come to the captivity and offered him an easy escape, they had bought all the officers who stood between him and liberty. Had Socrates accepted the offer, he'd have been less great than he was. But he gave them the repulse without indeed a moment’s vacillation. At the trial the judges had wished to let Socrates go, but the angry crowd had suggested for his death this was indeed a singular evidence of Socrates’s conviction that the state be administered by its wisest men and not guided by the mob.
Socrates also explosively believed and tutored that death wasn't the end of everything. “ When you lay me down in my grave, say that you're burying my body only, and not my soul, ” he told his votaries. Socrates was no armchair champion. He lived what he tutored. He was quick to realize that the time had now come to die for what he tutored. “ Let us face death as we've faced life — dauntlessly, ” he said. The wisest man in Greece knew his death was essential for the survival of hisphilosophy.However, his gospel would warrant credibility, If he compromised his values in order to save his life. He might live but his gospel would die. Plato’s description of the event not only brings gashes to our eyes but also fills our heart with profound admiration for this stalwart, wise man. In choosing the right time and manner of his death, Socrates made himself and his training immortal.
Another illustration comes to mind. Sambhāji( 1657- 89), Hindu king Shivāji’s eldest son, was locked by Aurangzeb after Shivāji’s death. The emperor offered Sambhāji a choice “ Convert to Islam and you ’ll be set free, or differently get ready for torture and death. ” The stalwart son of the stalwart father chose the ultimate. branch by branch his body was crippled and at every stage he was offered the volition. Sambhāji’s resoluteness was unyielding. He stuck to his ordnance till the last. He failed a idol’s death, because he'd made a idol’s choice.
The stories of Socrates and Sambhāji are corridor of given history. There have been innumerous others each over the world who chose their deaths intelligently and came icons in their own little way, but we know nearly nothing about them. There's no record available of their frippery, wisdom and achievements. The recorded history of the world is too partial, too sketchy, and not indeed balanced and representative, because it’s not entirely free from the particular prejudices and predispositions of those who recorded it.