About living life and embracing death

According to the law of conservation of energy, energy is transferable to a different location or object, but it cannot be created or destroyed. Energy transformation, also known as energy conversion, is the process of changing energy from one form to another.

This is the key message that Lord Krishna teaches Arjun in the holy Bhagwat Gita when Arjun is forced into a situation where he has to fight a war against his own family members. It is only the physical body that gets shed off when a person is killed. The soul is in fact liberated and cannot be killed. It simply changes its physical form from the previous shape and form, free to choose another physical form in the next birth. The soul is the energy which is simply transferred. Hence, there is nothing to be sorry about this cosmic process which is destined to happen.

During the nine months of pregnancy for both of my children, as a dutiful-mother-to-be, I have read or heard the Bhagwat Gita many a time. The message from Lord Krishna has clearly and completely made sense to my logical and scientific mind. The sadness about somebody’s loss therefore for me has not been about the loss of their physical presence, but about the loss of their company. With people who have aged and left, it is easier to be able to accept their death as inevitable. There is time to prepare for the loss of their company. Hence, when the inevitable death has finally struck, it has been accepted without a lot of distress.

However, what is very difficult to explain to the brain is the untimeliness of death. How to explain when death appears suddenly, i.e. when you expect it the least. How to explain when a young person dies. Most of us have felt uncomfortable in handling this and the topic of death is a taboo in our societies, we have not known whom to discuss this with either.

The newly released Bollywood movie “The Sky is Pink” tackles this difficult question beautifully. Shonali Bose picks up the story of the real-life Choudhury couple who lost their first-born daughter when she was only one year old due to being born with a terminal illness. They also lost their second daughter Aisha who was born with an immunodeficiency disorder and eventually died after she turned 18 years old. The movie handles such a sensitive topic of loss with such grace that even though I was weeping throughout the movie, my heart did not feel heavy. I am very emotional even when I am watching a fictional play. The drama and the impact of the story always make me cry when I watch them either on the reel or on stage. If the topic is extremely sensitive, like women or children being tortured, I often end up with a headache after the movie due to my crying spree. However, Shonali chose to narrate her story through the lens of the victim herself, Aisha, who was facing her terminal illness with a smiling face and a fun-filled heart. Had Shonali chosen to show the movie via the eyes of the couple, I am not sure if I would feel so light-hearted after the movie finished. The movie lent a unique peek into the mind of those who are facing death. Contrary to what people around them imagine to be the case, the people who are on the death bed are actually not at all remorse, spending each day feeling miserable. Long or short, it is not the quantity of time that they have spent which matters to them, it is the quality of that time spent which is the most important of all.

The movie leaves a lasting impression that living each and every day is more important than living a certain number of days. Therefore, by corollary, the loss of somebody within a short number of days should not matter as long as they have lived a fulfilling life containing however many days. Those who have left us, have left their physical body to change its shape into another. The ultimate salvation or “moksha” is achieved when the energy is released finally into the cosmos without bindingly taking another form.

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