Imagine this …
You are sitting on a large, slow moving-very slow moving-conveyor belt atop a mountain. The conveyor belt is headed towards a precipice. The moment you reach the precipice, you would be thrown off it. To make the things worse, the conveyor belt is worn out & may snap any moment & you would be hurled down the mountain.
Does it sound scary?
As mentioned above, the belt is moving slowly, very slowly. And, while you are on the belt, you can do a lot of good things to keep yourself busy. For example you can have a lavish, sumptuous dinner or you can get a nice hot oil massages or else, if it suits you, you can even party with your fellow travelers! However, since there are many , many people traveling along with you on the same conveyor belt- all jostling for more space-you may , at times, have to fend them off since they may throw you off the belt, down the mountain. Some of your fellow travelers can be real nasty while some are pretty good. Amidst these pleasant & unpleasant experiences, you would be moving slowly, but steadily towards your impending death & destruction.
Chances are that while you would be ‘enjoying’ your existence on the belt , you, most probably, would be praying in the heart of your hearts that the belt does not snap off …not at least till you reach the end of the precipice! Now the question is: how many of us would like to be in such a situation certain that the Damocles’ sword hanging above our heads will fall on us sooner or later?
Come to think of it, life’s exactly like this conveyor belt. As we are busy “living” our lives, experiencing tragedies & triumphs as a part of our respective ephemeral existences, we are slowly but surely moving towards our graves. Does this make us jittery & nervous about our impending destruction? Hell, no!
We tend to live in such a way that we conveniently forget that our existence is a mere interlude between two periods of non-existence! (One wit had summed it up in her proposed epitaph for herself: First I was not, then I was, now I aint again any longer )
The irony of living thus was expressed by a 14th century Shaiva poetess as:
A wide pit's underneath you,
Yet you are dancing in glee?
Forsaken's to be the wealth amassed by you
How can you relish your food and drink?
Or, is death really not as scary? Is it something one can mock at?
A la John Donn’s “Death be not proud… death, thou shalt die” poem?
Or is it that we tend to live in the world of make-believe expressing intense grief at the death of our loved ones as if our own existence is more permanent?
Philosophers, poets, mystics et al can debate endless around this, but I guess the trick is, as the Bard would have perhaps put it, how to be & yet not be!
- Eat , Live and Pray ?
The so called "realities" of life seem to be depressing. So it is best to be petty minded & shallow. Life wont let go of us- alive, that is !