Archive for the ‘death’ Category

My mother passed away in my arms on the 26th March,2000 at 5.15 in the evening. I was at her bedside when the end came. I knew it was the end and I burnt the incense and put her Guru’s photo at her head and took the Gita and started to read the second chapter which is all about life, death and life after. My left hand was on the right side of her face as she breathed her last coinciding with the end of the chapter as well. I quote the lines “This is the state, O, Partha of the man who rests in Brahman; having attained to it, he is not deluded. He  who abides in this state even at the hour of death passes into oneness with Brahman” It was for me the most amazing and the most spiritual experience – almost as if I was midwife to the entire process and transition that had happened. I was not afraid at all and there was no resistance from me as well. Only a great intimacy, perhaps stronger than I have ever had with my mother even during her living years.

.The 26th March was also her birthday and we had all gathered to sing Happy Birthday to her and everyone hugged and kissed her even though she was in coma. Then we all shared her favourite sweetmeat. I then left for the Ramakrishna Mission of which she was a dikshita and brought in the “charanamrit” which I fed her with. Five hours after that in the presence of all of us at the Chronic Care Center she left her body.

The entire experience was really very spiritual. All my life I had dreaded the thought of her dying. In my early childhood I had a recurring dream in which I would always see her dead and would wake up crying. The dreams stopped abruptly in my teenage years. Nevertheless it was always a fear.

She had been ill for a long time and sometimes I would even wish that she would leave this body and mind and “take on a new dress” as it were but deep within the thought also made me afraid to lose her physical presence for the rest of my living years. Around the same time I also felt that I needed to clear the past with her. Things that had caused tension between us and unresolved issues from our past especially that she had been a single parent and by the time I saw my father for the first time I was 21. So there was a lot of back log as one can imagine. Hence, I spent days when she was conscious clearing as many things from the past so she felt completely okay about everything. It was good for both of us.

My mother was like my child. Although she gave birth to me, as I grew up, I became her mother! Whenever we were together I was the one who took care of her all the time. It sometimes made me very angry. It is harder to give than to take. It takes a lot more to give to our parents out of conscious desire and not out of duty. Hence her passing away became even more significant to me.

Death comes to all of us but we see it as an end of life, not as a part of life. We learn that it is a transition from one state to another but we still fear it. For me the experience was unique – just the exhalation of the last breath and the “movement” had happened. From this life to life after.

Death of a parent is one of the most profound experiences in life. We almost take it for granted that they will live forever – and they do in spirit but in the body they do go just as anything else in the world. For the first time we are truly adult and grown up. Overnight we know we cannot be a child anymore. The umbilical cord has snapped finally.

During this trying time that I sat beside my mother’s bed nursing a person in coma for over 13 days I prayed a lot not only for the release of her soul but also a great deal for myself. Crisis has always brought my needs before God and I have ardently prayed for myself and my own state of mind and body and healing even as the catastrophe is happening. I must tell all of you that the Lord answered all my prayers and more.

He gave me immense strength to bear this all by myself. He gave me a new family and tons of friends who bore my pain with me. Much prior to this happening He gave me a friend and companion whose moral and emotional support was a source of great strength for me. He gave me stability in spite of what had happened and even as I completed the last rights, I knew He had healed me and if at times I do cry it is only because I am human.

Not for a moment have I any doubt that He is a kind and a giving God and He loves me immensely. And He shows me the truth and has gifted me with insight to see His Workings without a moments’ doubt. It is always so clear.

When I returned from the cremation grounds to the house there was a little baby our house help was baby-sitting. The baby was only three months old and her mother had died in childbirth. I thought of birth, life, death  –  and life after.

I quote from the Gita, chapter two,” As a man casts off worn-out garments and takes others that are new, even so the embodied one casts off worn-out bodies and passes on to  others new”

Click to Listen to The Bhagavad Gita Chapter Two


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