The importance of right perspective on life cannot be over emphasized. I am just returning from listening to the heart rending cries of a poor mother who has lost her ten year old daughter in an accident.
Death is not the end. We are all jivas who enliven this bundle of flesh and bones for a short period of time. As jivas, our existence spans well across birth and death. We have been around before the birth of this body. We will be around after the death of this body. The jiva is the real person and not the physical body. When we interact with people, we are actually interacting with the jiva. When the life term of a jiva in a body ends, the jiva will have to leave and take birth elsewhere. This end can come as natural death or “so-called” unnatural death. Any death other than suicide is natural only. When a death happens to our near and dear one, the best response is to bless the jiva and pray for the jiva that it gets a good birth next. All rituals in all religions associated with death help us only to understand and accept the continued existence of the person after death. The body is made of physical matter and it is consigned back into nature in the form of fire, earth, water, etc. The jiva goes ahead in its moral evolution.
The purpose of our life is moral evolution. By going through life after life, we need to make ourselves better people – more patient, less angry, less lustful, less greedy, less selfish, more honest, more loving, more helping, more giving, etc. We have the free will to decide our actions and we have the responsibility for them. What we face in life is the effect of all our past – both in this and previous lives. There is no escape from the effects of the decisions that we take. We will have to face them – in this life itself or in a future life. When the moral evolution reaches to near-perfection, then a new dimension of life opens up as a still deeper knowledge of our real nature as pure Consciousness.
The acceptance of this reality of life – as the jiva who exists after death and who is responsible for the decisions in life – is the best solution to two major problems in life, which can be put in the forms of two questions which every person asks at sometime or the other.
1. Where did I come from? Where will I go? What is death? What has happened to my near and dear ones who are dead? Where are they? How can I help them?
2. Why am I here? Why should I be good? What is wrong in cheating, stealing, taking bribes, etc? When I get something free, is it really free? Why do bad things happen to good people?
Most of the personal and social problems today are because of lack of the right understanding on this. With the right understanding, we will be able to face the ups and downs in life in a better way. We will have better human relationships. If more people in the society have the right understanding, it will make the society a better place to live in.
If only the poor mother had soaked herself with this understanding during the times when life was smooth, it would have given her more strength to face the events when life did not proceed as expected.