Mrityuna Grastamakhilam Namarupatmakam Jagat!
Brahmantattvam Parigyaya Muchyate Yogasanshayah!!
“Mrityu [death] swallows the whole world [the universe] made of Maya [delusion]. This [world] is, in fact, the subject of desolation; it is fully within the ambit of fatality. Knowing reality of the Super Element through the Yoga is the remedy –to win the Mrityu.”
The above-mentioned Shloka, which I have quoted a number of times as one of the best commentaries on the Kathopnishad1 is, in fact, the reflection of the Gospel of Death.
Further, this Shloka categorically divulges the reality of death. In other words, reveals the truth pertaining to death that is eternal on one hand and the manifestation of inevitable law of change on the other. It is a clarion call of realizing one’s own humanly duties and responsibilities in life. It is also an inspiration to each and every human being to discharge well her or his duties overcoming all states of darkness, falsity, fantasy and suspicion. Thus, it is a call of stepping forward on the basis of righteous acts to make the life meaningful and exemplary. That is why; it has always been said by learned ones that there is no reason of fearing the death as it has to come and it will come. Human beings2 are afraid of death and wish to delay it as long as possible. Rather, remembering it every moment is beneficial and welfaristic. The part of one of the Mantra [18:1] of the Rig-Veda in which it is desired from Mrityu to pursue a special pathway apart from that which gods are wont to travel3 is worth quoting here in this regard.
Mrityu is in fact an inevitable state of cessation of physical or biological functions. In other words, when vital bodily organs reach the state of non-functioning completely, death is declared. Despite this, the deeds of life, or work accomplished before death are never declared dead. None of them can be undone either.
Any work accomplished in life, irrespective of its nature –bad or good, could not terminate immediately with the end of the body. Rather, if deeds are carried out righteously, a personal worth is procured through them and that worth is utilized in larger welfare of one and all, they also become iconic of one’s life. They also become the basis and source of one’s glory, regard and reputation even after the cessation of body –death. Hence, the worth and immortality of life remains alive. It becomes exemplary and ideal for hundreds and thousands of years for generations to come. Coming generations follow it as legacy left for them and keep their work alive as ideal for long. It is for this reason that in one of the Richa of the Rig-Veda [7.59.12], the oldest treatise of the world and the basic source of Vedic philosophy, Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism, it has been desired, "Deliver me from death, not from immortality."
“Tryambakam Yajaamahe Sugandhi Pushtivardhanam Urvaarukarumiva Bandhanaanmrityormukshiya Maamritaat”
Thus, Mrityu, death is inevitable, but immortality is possible. It could be achieved on the strength of righteous acts, on the basis of deeds accomplished to make one’s own life valuable and exemplary on one hand, and for the larger welfare of fellow beings as well as all living beings on the other.
Hence, Mrityu is an unavoidable dimension. It compels us to realize that we have counted number of days, months and years to live in this world so we should make our life meaningful on the basis of virtuous deeds. It is for this reason that death is termed as a door where the assessment of one’s life starts from. Therefore, it is the duty of every individual to remember this ultimate reality of death, which is to embrace him sooner or later necessarily, so he must indulge in righteous acts to make his life meaningful. This is the only right and true way that has been recommended by all the learned men through the ages to tread upon. This is the essence of death, the Gospel of Mrityu.
1. By Swamipad [Datiyapeeth, India].
2. Even all living beings.
3. “Go hence, O Death, pursue thy special pathway apart from that which Gods are wont to travel.”