One fateful day in April, 1981, when a Delhi-bound train from Allahabad stopped at Ghaziabad, it was discovered to the consternation of passengers that one of their number had suffered a massive heart attack and had died right there in the train before medical aid could reach him. No ordinary passenger, it transpired that he was Mustafa Rasheed Sherwani, the noted industrialist and Member of Parliament, also formerly a famous freedom fighter. He was only 59 and in his prime. But this had not mattered. The time had come for God to take him away, and take him away He did.
Such events are commonplace. Everyday large masses of humanity enter the gates of death. Everyday tens of thousands of ordinary human beings set off for their worldly destinations, but are seized by God’s angels on the way.
We all dream of scaling unprecedented heights of honour and glory and build ourselves palatial houses as worldly symbols of our status in which we intend to enjoy a life of ease, comfort and pleasure.
It makes no difference whether they are in their prime, at the peak of their careers or are doing human service to humanity; their earthly journey is cut short, and they are ushered into their final abode.
We all dream of scaling unprecedented heights of honour and glory and build ourselves palatial houses as worldly symbols of our status in which we intend to enjoy a life of ease, comfort and pleasure. These are the material ends to which all of us strive. But sooner or later comes the realisation that what really awaits us is the grave. It is a cold and desolate prospect, and very far removed from our dreams of the immediate future. But we should not think of the grave as being the end of everything. It is certainly the end of our material existence, the reduction of our successes to so much dust, but it marks the stepping-off point for us into eternity. For those who have laboured only towards material ends, this is the most terrible prospect. For it can mean eternal damnation. But for those who have prepared themselves throughout their lives to meet their Maker, the prospect is one of eternal joy.
Every day God is carrying some ‘passengers bound for Delhi’ to the grave. But who pays any heed? People are still convinced that they ‘are going to Delhi’ and that while the grave may be the ultimate destination for others, they themselves are somehow privileged and it is not so for them.
When will the realisation come to them that the grave is the ultimate destination of all?