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Death

The lesson of death

From the moment a culprit hears his death sentence, he is as good as dead. It makes no difference whether his execution is to take place the very next day or weeks later. Life simply loses all meaning. He falls silent and his smiles fade. Those hands, which were so freely raised to strike the weak and vulnerable, fall limp and lifeless by his sides.

Everyone alive today is to be ‘hanged’ tomorrow. But everyone is lost in his today and blissfully unaware of his tomorrow. In this world, everyone is in some sense a culprit, but few pay heed to the fact that death can catch us unaware—it can even strike tomorrow.

Man lives in this world as an unthinking, pleasure-loving, materially ambitious creature, who enjoys having friends and riches. He revels in all this. Then a strange event takes place. Death comes unannounced, without his leave. He stops in his tracks. His eyes become sightless. In an instant, he is bereft of all his worldly possessions—all that he holds dear—and he is carried away to the solitude of the grave.

He would feel ashamed of having indulged in the idea of his own greatness because greatness that does not endure is of no value.


This event makes plain the reality. It wordlessly conveys man’s sudden fall from power to powerlessness, from light to darkness, from material repletion to nothingness. Before death he finds himself in a world where his will is his own. After death, he will be ushered into a world where he will be forced to bow to the will of another.

Were man to remember this reality, his life would be transformed. It would then appear inane to oppress the poor, hapless individuals in his clutches. He would realise that it is fruitless to oppress others if tomorrow he would have to come under the control of another. He would feel ashamed of having indulged in the idea of his own greatness because greatness that does not endure is of no value.

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