My friend Motahar passed away yesterday. He had cancer and suffered for almost 4 years. We lowered his mortal remains in a grave surrounded by lush green meadows, tranquility, serenity and silence. He will be there and in my mind as long as I live. Two days before his death he was delirious and lived in a subconscious world. From his hospital bed he told me that he was not going to die before he plays soccer with my 4 months old grandson. I silently shed tears and hoped he might do that. Whenever I face death I float into my own emotions. I see life in a much wider perspective. I experience love and affection from a closer corner. I find illusion more pervasive in our lives. In Indian philosophy our body is just a wrapper for our eternal soul which, it’s claimed, is indestructible.

The distance between life and is not much. It’s just a matter of one last breath and after that we belong to the eternity. In the crude physical sense matter is indestructible, it just changes forms. The person Motahar we knew is not among us anymore but to be practical he is still with us in another form. There we say that eventually in life everything merges into one and a river runs through. I wonder what is this river that takes us into its bosom when material world can’t see us anymore.

If life is an eternal circle we are never gone, we just change shapes and places. Our physical body does not mean anything when we can’t move anymore at our will. When the so called soul evaporates from our existence and our bodies immediately becomes disposable. This beauty, lust, passion and everyday toil for success all seem to be very temporary. When I was leaving the graveyard I stopped a few times to look back at Motahar’s grave nestling in the lonely solitude. His body still fresh in the wooden box beneath a deep mound of black earth.

I don’t know what eternity is because I will never have a chance to experience it in its whole. We just see a very tiny part of it but in death we become a part of it. We need to be done to do with it. A student of a sage asked his guru what eternity is. The sage told his student a story of a doll made of salt who wanted to fathom the ocean. The doll descended into the water, descended into the water and descended into the water and eventually melted and became the part of the ocean.

Akbar Hussain

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