A young man called Ramaswami died an untimely death. His parents, wife and nine year old son were crying bitterly sitting next to his dead body. They all happened to be disciples of a holy man whom they called ‘Guru-ji’.
When Guru-ji learnt that Ramaswami had died, he came to visit the family. He entered the house and found the family wailing inconsolably. Seeing Guru-ji, the wife started crying even louder.
She sobbed saying, “Guru-ji, he has died too early, he was so young … Oh! I would do anything to make him alive again. What will happen to our son? I’m so helpless and miserable.”
Guru-ji tried to pacify the crying lady and the old parents, but the loss was too much for them to come to terms with so easily.
Eventually, Guru-ji said, “Alright, get me a glass of water.”
Guru-ji sat near the dead body and put the glass next to it.
He said, “Now, whoever wants that Ramaswami should become alive again may drink this water. Ramaswami shall come back to life, but the person who drinks the water shall die instead!”
There was deafening silence, after all the loud wailing and weeping that preceded Guru-ji’s words..!
“Come, did you not say that Ramaswami was the sole bread winner of the family? Who would die instead of him? It is a case of fair exchange, isn’t it?”
The wife looked at the old mother and the old mother looked at the wife. The old father looked at Ramaswami’s son. But No One came forward…
Then Guru-ji said to the old father, “Babu-ji, wouldn’t you give your life for your son?”
The old man said, “Well, I have my responsibility towards my wife. If I die who will look after her? I cannot offer my life for my son.”
Guru-ji looked questioningly at the old woman and said, “Amma?”
Amma said, “My daughter is due to deliver her first baby. She will be coming to stay for a month…If I die who will look after her and the newborn. Why don’t you ask Ramaswami’s wife?” Guru-ji smiled and looked at the young widow.
She widened her tear filled eyes and said, “Guru-ji, I need to live for my son…If I die, who will look after him? He needs me. Please don’t ask me to do this sacrifice.”
Guru-ji asked the son, “Well little boy, would you like to give your life for your father?”
Before the boy could say anything, his mother pulled him to her breast and said, “Guru-ji, are you insane? My son is only nine. He has not yet lived his life. How could you even think or suggest such a thing?”
She further continued, “Whatever had to happen has happened. Now that he is no more, we will somehow manage without him.”
Guru-ji said, “Well it seems, that all of you are very much needed for the things you need to do in this world…It seems Ramaswami was the only one that could be spared…That is why God chose to take him away. So shall we now proceed with his last rites? It’s getting late….
Having said that, Guru-ji got up and left.
“aatmaanastu kaamaaya sarvam priyam bhavati” (Everything or being is dear for the sake of the Self and not for the sake of that thing or being).
No one is indispensable in this world. Attachment to things and beings lasts as long as they appear to give some joy or benefit or it may last as long as that being is alive. The rest is only memories of happy times..!
Everything in this entire existence is temporary, impermanent or ephemeral except the Absolute Truth or the Pure Self. Attachment to anything that is impermanent or ephemeral will always result in misery, sorrow or grief. Grief may be expressed for a short while.
The mind should be freed from the past (which exists but as memory) and the future (which exists but as worry, a mixture of fear and hope). Only the present is. It is a present from God.