A man, fed up with his routine life, decides to go on a long religious retreat. His spiritual Master teaches him that human desires and attachments are the main causes of suffering in the world and that he should learn to detach himself from the luxury and comfort of the materialistic world in order to discover more about himself and achieve inner happiness. He is taught that life itself is one big illusion and everything he sees around him is nothing more than a dream. But despite all the efforts of his mentor to convince him that nothing is permanent in this world, he badly misses his wife and parents at home and requests if he could be relieved to go to see them at least once. His Guru finally consents to his request but offers to accompany him.
At home, his wife and parents are extremely happy to see him after a long time and everybody celebrates his arrival with great fun and laughter. But as his wife rushes to the kitchen to get him something to eat, he faints. Shocked and confused, everybody in the family breaks down and cries at the top of their lungs, desperately calling out his name. His Guru urges everybody to stop crying. He tells them that he has the power to resurrect him if everybody cooperates. He takes out a tiny bead of herbal drug from his bag and tells them that whoever eats it will die but the dead man will come back to life. He asks them if anybody is willing to make the sacrifice. The parents look at each other and try to console themselves that death is part of life and they should move on without their son. His wife silently thinks that she is still young enough to remarry and enjoy the rest of her life rather than dying for her husband. At last, everybody refuses to take the drug when offered. The Guru is left with no option but to take the drug himself in order to save his disciple. As he collapses and goes numb, the dead man regains consciousness and returns to life. His parents and wife embrace him with great love and affection and treats him with delicious meal. It is at this point of time that his Guru gets up from the floor and declares that nobody had been dead. He clarifies that it was only a drama to test how much he is loved at home. He turns to his disciple and says “I hope you now might have understood how much your parents and wife love you. This is also another new wisdom for you. The world is full of hypocrites.”
We know that death is inevitable, but we always find reasons to move on with life as though we are immortals. In the pursuit of happiness and comfort in the materialistic world, we tend to forget that we have been in this world just as guests. There is nothing on this planet which actually belongs to us. It is just an illusion that we think we own so much in life. The sad reality is that when we die, we have to go to our graves just as empty-handed as we had come when we were born. There is absolutely no meaning in accumulating wealth or indulging in worldly affairs since nothing is going to last forever. Even our children do not belong to us, because they are just independent beings born with their own future. We have only been chosen by Nature to give birth to them and bring them up until they are ready to face the world on their own. Similarly, our parents also do not belong to us because no matter how much truly we tend to love them, time does not keep us together forever. When the blessings that bind us together end, we must go our own ways. On the deathbed, nothing matters to us: not even the love of our parents and that of our children because no matter how much they claim to love us, they can never sacrifice their lives for us if they ever have to. With time, everybody in the family will learn to move on without us and the world may not even remember our names as days pass by. This is the saddest reality of human existence. Hence, it is important to detach ourselves from the materialistic world and learn how to be content with what we have. Let us always be good human beings so that we can be remembered at least for sometime after we are gone.
(The writer blogs at amrithdiary.wordpress.com)