Death Of A Dog And Death That Dogs Man
Somebody has lost a dog who met with a gory end when some apparently crazy drunken guy ran his car over the poor thing. Now this person who had all along treated the dog as a family member feels miserable and is inconsolable. Well-meaning friends and even strangers who read about the incident have reached out to console this person. Nobody who stumbles on this heart-rending story could help feeling touched or morose or brood over the unfairness of it all. These are very predictable knee jerk reactions of decent people brought up in a clean environment of compassion, kindness and consideration for all living things, big and small. Nobody likes anything, let alone the precious life of a pet, being snatched away from him or her. How rude, meaningless or baffling it all is when the life of an adorable creature like a pet dog is snuffed out for no reason or without forewarning!
Pondering Over Death
But, wait! What do we know about there being no reason or forewarning? Distance yourself a bit from the dramatis personnae of the sordid happening, namely the lady, the dog, the apparently crazy guy, time and place of it. After the groundswell of emotions has subsided and all that you are left with are bitterness in the heart and scabs of the hurt, waiting to be scratched to make the old wound bleed all over again, think a little. What has actually happened?
Whither Goes Life?
A life has gone. Where? You never saw life in the first place when it was there in the body of the deceased. All you got to see were signs of life. You could not see where it went. Life was not a physical matter which could have disintegrated. Nor could it have been scattered away among wilderness or among the elements. To believe in such eventualities would be tantamount to demeaning life itself which had given you so much love and affection and enthralled you with manifestations of myriad marvels when it had been encased in its now-abandoned-body, or belittling the intelligence and wisdom of its Maker. Either life has gone back to where it came from or moved on in its itinerary of eternal journey. Either way, it had to happen. There is no holding back of life just as its encasement had to degenerate into tatters and perish sooner or later. That Life is transient and ephemeral is a given which humans find easy to understand but difficult to accept.
No Reason or Forewarning, Really?
Nobody dies without a reason or forewarning. Every one dies when the purpose of that person's life comes to a close. The death knell of a person is struck even as he is born, so far away that your faculties are not sound or sharp enough to hear it. Even as he rejoices the birth of his child, man conveniently forgets that he himself has moved on that much closer to death. Birth and death are two unavoidable epochs in a man's sojourn in this world, interspersed with events and occasions which are sadly mistaken for finalities of life in themselves. You may hope not to be born again but could neither wish away nor avoid death.
Given half a choice, would every one want not to be born again since dreadful death comes by sooner or later? No! Many would love to be born again, this time at the right conditions to the right set of parents at the right place, inherit all the gold of China, buy all material comfort, sow wild oats, experience sinful pleasures millions of times over, try to prolong living as much as humanly possible and maybe even have their body kept frozen to be brought back to life some time in the future when science and technology have advanced and progressed enough to make such things feasible. In short, man is so full of himself that he does not care about others beyond a certain limit; he is in love with himself to the extent of being narcissistic and insensitive to the needs, requirements and sensitivities of other living things. For one thing, if a certain serum derived from a certain animal or bird was potent enough to prolong the life of man, either that animal or bird would become altogether extinct from the face of planet earth on account of man's greed or be reared and forced to proliferate in game reserves or in laboratories for the soul purpose of benefiting man. In short, man would play God, without any qualm or compunction. And what a heartless and mean God he would be!
Purpose of Life
What is the purpose of a man's life? You may subscribe to some lofty theory or grandiose school of thought which would have you believe that you are a crucial link in a chain of important events and developments in makind's inexorable march to a pre-destined process of evolution. On the contrary, you may consider yourself nothing more significant than a mere bubble in a boiling cauldron of a life force which is doomed to burn out and become extinct at some point of time in the future. Whatever your pick, there is no knowing what the truth is. In any case, man's feeling of supremacy in this world holds good only so long as he pampers his self-esteem by attaching a spiritual fig leaf to his existence.
Man or Dog, Die You Must
Do you grieve more when a fellow human being dies than when death comes to a pet dog of yours? It is an awkward and pointless question. What happens when a priceless family heirloom is lost or stolen? What happens when your best friend betrays you? What happens when the person whom you loved most turns his or her back on you? What happens when a child is killed in a freak accident? Does any of these experiences entail a heart ache, agony or anguish, any gentler or smoother, than the death of a dear soul mate? Any loss which is perceived irrepairable makes the ground disappear from under your feet. Something in you gives in. You break a little, and you die a little in so much as you are not the same again. When people in your life die one after another even in the normal course, you feel lonely like a solitary tree in a denuded forest which has survived a forest fire. It makes you feel neither happy nor lucky. Life without your loved ones could be both meaningless and frightful.
A Million Deaths
Man is so ego-centric that even as he is aware that death is round the corner, he chooses to believe that the unwelcome visitor is his neighbour's and not his own. Man is never prepared or ready to die. There is always something more to be said or done. Man dies a million deaths even as he lives another day to tell a different story. The dawn of every day brings new hope. You feel reborn and are capable of taking on the world. Then you make the same mistakes, like loving and losing, scrounging and splurging, learning virtues and living sinfully, expect kindness from others and practise cruelty.... Human memory is short which is convenient enough for man to be oblivious of the litany of charges which could be held against him.
Flow of Life Undeterred by Death
Like love, life is indivisible. It can't be allowed to stagnate and degenerate into something puerile. If it were to happen, you would be the first person to remonstrate. It would be a futile exercise to confine love to a particular form or shape and try to own it. Even as you love, you should be prepared to give it all that you can, and then give up. So is the case with life. It keeps flowing like a mellifluos brook supported by the banks of birth and death. Stop not the brook and hope not to meddle with the flow. For you are only like a languid bird of fiery plume flying over a dreary flume. You have no control over the course of life.
© 2014 Kalyanaraman Raman