“Grave is not the only Goal”- Evaluating the Meaning of Life

People carrying a dead body for cremation- Hindus.

It is a very well known proverb deployed by several life coaches that death is not the only goal of life. Fortunately or unfortunately, we fail to realise this truth of life.

This author had the opportunity of visiting the cremation ground recently, and attended a funeral also. As usual the one that departed, was remembered by people in different ways, for different reasons, though, not a single person had any idea what was the purpose that the demised served, yet, everyone was grateful for the presence of the soul for various reasons. The peculiar feature was the contributions the demised made in their lives. 

Well, that is not the topic that this author intends to delve upon. The purpose of this article is to assess why do high functioning people often fail to accept the fact that the only one life that we live, must be lived ‘as-it-is’, rather than busying ourselves with the perpetual bickerings that our life has to offer on every silly occasion.

Bickerings and more, Think!

The normal lifestlye of every human being on this planet is indulging in some activity that satisfies his or her wants and desires, even the ascetics satisfy their desire of communicating with the unseen. The pursuit of every desire, is in itself an indulgence. When we begin to acquire material satisfaction, the trajectory of the life that we lives becomes a pendulum between the two extreme states of mind namely- pleasure and pain.

Coming back to the dead, the person who dies, often leaves in the middle of something, and the survivors are left to deal with it (whether it offers pleasure or pain), rather, they often tend to reap the outcomes of the sowing done by the deceased. This is the way normal life functions, but, when one is at the cremation ground, the person sees only one thing, a burning pyre of a person (or the burial, or something that erases the bein from the physical world), who shared some space in their lives, at that very moment, any man who is contemplative enough, would hear the truth from within.

The truth is the one line reality of this world, ‘the being that comes goes, and the journey that defines his life, is a mere illusion’. This does not in anyway mean that grave is the only goal. But, walking the road of life, while keeping the fact that the uncertain happening of the unavoidable reality, that is death is imminent therefore one must live to spread wisdom if one is an ascetic, and pleasure if one is struggling in the materialistic realm. The definition of pleasure does not mean to attain pleasure for one’s own being, but rather for the ones around him, because when the end comes, every man who stands around the pyre/grave, must feel the immortal truth of this world, that death is the reality to this life, and be inspired enough to live in a way that defines the principles based on which many lives around all of us maybe made better. It is no rocket science, but following the basic tenets of human courtesy.

Grave is the goal.

The material purposes, are not being contradicted by this author, but to what ends do we live in this realm, when death is the actual truth, is what one must focus upon.

Spreading as many smiles as possible.

We must believe that there will be an end to every person, and an end for us, therefore we must try to offer as much as optimistic approach to others, in every dealing. The superstitious beliefs that devour our society, the divisions that create frictions, must be accepted to be as one of human origin.

There is one truth to bundle of matter, that is death, but it shall not be the goal, rather the goal must be to contribute to the survivors with something that they can hold on to and avoid the unnecessary pain, of the mind, of the body and the spirit.

This reminds this author of the approach to life as preached by Swami Vivekanand, Integral Humanism. The way a society should be as defined by Karl Marx, a classless society where there is equality, based on Bentham’s utility, must be our goal. These values will have to find a grip. This requires change, abandonment of vanity in the variety of identities a man uses to traverse the road of life.

Let us try be the change we want to see, then there will be a day, someday, known to be the utopian realist’s dream.


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