Is there a tomorrow?

These days I am dreading to receive a call, or open a WhatsApp message or look at social media posts in the fear of some news about near and dear ones, family and friends, some well-known persons succumbing to COVID. Life has become like a Marvel movie – Avengers Endgame – where the global villain THANOS would snap his fingers and half of humanity would disappear, including some superheroes. Words like “See you tomorrow”, “I promise, I will do it”, “my goal in next 3 years…” “let’s plan a vacation during next holidays” have all lost their meaning and sound hollow.

As Osho says, “For me there is no future, no past; all is present. To you I say, “Don’t think of the future,” because if you think of the future you will miss the present. I am SO rooted in the present that it is only the present that extends into the past and into the future.

Jesus used to say again and again: “Watch, beware! The Day of Judgment is very close by. In your life, this very life you will see it happening!” It has not happened up to now, but it was a device. Jesus was creating a situation in which people could become aware that time is very short, much has to be done, and we should not go on playing stupid games — money, power, prestige.

It happened in the life of a great mystic, Eknath: a very beautiful master and poet who lived in a Shiva temple.

A man used to go to Eknath for years. One day he went early in the morning when nobody else was there and he asked Eknath, ”Please forgive me. I have come early so that there is nobody else, because I am going to ask a question which I have always wanted to ask but I felt so embarrassed that I suppressed it.”

Eknath said, ”There was no reason to be embarrassed. You could have asked any question, any time. Sit down here.”

So in the temple they sat down. And the man said, ”It is difficult for me; how do I present it? My question is that for years I have been coming to you and I have never seen you sad. I have never seen you in anxiety, in any kind of worry. You are always happy, always fulfilled, contented.

”I cannot believe this. My doubting mind says, ’This man is pretending.’ I have been fighting with my mind, telling it that you cannot pretend for such a long time: ‘If he’s pretending, you try.’ And I have tried – for five minutes, seven minutes at the most, and I forget all about it. Worries come, anger comes, sadness comes, – and all pretense is gone.

”How do you manage this day after day, month after month, year after year? I have always seen the same joy, the same grace. Please forgive me, but the doubt persists that somehow you are pretending. Perhaps that seems to be the only difference between me and you.”

Eknath said, ”Show me your hand.”

He took his hand in his own hands, washed it, looked… very seriously.

The man said, ”Is something wrong? What happened?” He forgot all about his doubt and his pretense and Eknath.

Eknath said, ”Before I start answering your question, just by the way, I see that your lifeline is finished… just seven days more. I wanted to tell this to you first because I may forget. Once I start explaining and answering your question, I may forget.”

The man said, ”I am no longer interested in the question, and I am no longer interested in the answer. Just help me to stand up.” He was a young man.

Eknath said, ”You cannot stand up?”

He said, ”I feel all my energy gone. Just seven days, and I had so many plans… everything shattered. Help me! My house is not far away, just take me to my house.”

Eknath said, ”You can go. You can walk – you have come walking perfectly well just a few minutes ago.” Somehow he reached home.

His family was waking up; it was early morning. As he went to sleep; they all asked, ”What is the matter? Are you sick, not feeling well?”

He said, ”Now even sickness does not matter. Feeling well or unwell is irrelevant. My lifeline is finished– only seven days. Today is Sunday; the next Sunday, as the sun sets, I will be gone. I am already gone!”

The whole house was sad. Relatives and friends started gathering– because Eknath had never spoken a lie, he was a man of truth. If he has said it, death is certain.

But a strange thing started happening as he settled with the idea that death is coming and nothing can be done. “Why not use this time for the meditation that I have been postponing for many years? Eknath insists on meditating every day, putting one’s energy into discovering oneself, and I have been postponing it, because what was the hurry? I am a young man and these things, meditation and knowing yourself, belong to the old people when they have nothing else to do. Anyway they don’t have to work, they are retired. That is the right time to meditate and find out who you are. Right now you have to focus on many other things — money, power, prestige, respectability. This is not the time to waste on finding yourself. That you can do at any moment when you will not be of any use in life, and life will reject you by retiring you.”

On the seventh day just before the sun was setting – the wife was crying, the children were crying, the brothers were crying, and the old father and mother had become unconscious.

Eknath reached the house, and they all said, ”You have come right on time. Just bless him; he is going on an unknown journey.”

In seven days that man had changed so much; even Eknath had to make an effort to recognize him. Eknath shook him; he somehow tried to open his eyes. Eknath said, ”I have come to say to you that you are not going to die. Your lifeline is still long enough. I said that you are going to die in seven days as an answer to your question. That was my answer.”

And the man jumped up. He said, ”That was your answer? My God! You had already killed me. I was just looking outside the window for the sun to set and I would have died.”

And they rejoiced… But the man asked, ”What kind of answer is this? This kind of answer can kill people. You seem to be sadistic! We believe in you, and you take advantage of our faith.”

Eknath said, ”Except that answer, nothing would have helped. I have come to ask you: in seven days have you been fighting with anybody, have you been angry with anybody? Have you been going to the court? – which is your practice; every day you are found in the court.” Eknath asked, ”What happened to your business? In seven days how many times have you bothered with how much you have earned?”

He said, ”What are you talking about? I have not moved from my bed. I have not eaten; there is no appetite, no thirst. I am simply dead. I don’t feel any energy, any life in me.”

Eknath said, ”Now you get up, it is time. Take a good bath, eat well. Tomorrow you have a case in the court. Continue the business. And I have answered your question. Because since I have become aware that everybody has to die….And death can come tomorrow – you had seven days. I don’t have even seven days; tomorrow I may not see the sunrise again. I don’t have time for stupid things, for stupid ambitions, for greed, for anger, for hate; I simply don’t have time– because tomorrow I may not be here. In this small span of life, if I can rejoice in the beauties of existence, the beauties of human beings; if I can share my love, if I can share my songs, perhaps death will not be hard on me.”

I have heard from the ancients that those who know how to live, automatically come to know how to die. Their death is a thing of beauty, because they only die outwardly; inwardly the life journey continues.

Eknath said, “It does not matter whether you are going to die after seven days or seventy years. Once you become aware that you are going to die, it does not matter when.”

The awareness of death makes you live life as totally, as joyously as possible. Death is not your enemy. In fact, it is an invitation for you to live intensely, totally, to squeeze every drop of juice from every moment. Death is a tremendous challenge and invitation.

Without death there would not have been any Gautam Buddha, any Jesus, any Lao Tzu, any Tilopa. There would not have been any Kabir, any Raidas, any Mansoor, any Sarmad.

It is death and its awareness that makes you live as totally, as deeply, as consciously as possible. Before death knocks on your doors you should be able to see the eternal life within you. Then there is no death; death is a fiction. It is a reality only to those who have not lived, not lived in its completeness, in its entirety.

You have to make this opportunity into a great transformation of being. These few days that you will be here should be the days of meditation, love, compassion, friendliness, playfulness, laughter; and if you can do that, you will be rewarded by a conscious death. That is the reward of a conscious life.

An unconscious life comes to die unconsciously.

And life is absolutely just, fair. Whatever you earn you never lose it, you are rewarded for it.

Eknath said, “You are not going to die — get up! This was just an answer to your question. The day I became aware that death is, since that day my inner being has changed. How does it matter whether death is to come in seven days or seventy years?

Once you become aware that this life is going to slip out of your hands, it has already slipped! Then you have to prepare for the other shore, then you have to prepare for something beyond.”

Make all these days a celebration.

Osho: The Osho Upanishad: CHAPTER 8. THE CONSPIRACY OF THE MYSTICS Q 1 (Excerpts)
Osho: Be Still and Know Chapter #7 Chapter title: Thanks for the Compliment! Q 1 (Excerpts)

कम से कम मौत से ऐसी मुझे उम्मीद नहीं
ज़िंदगी तू ने तो धोके पे दिया है धोका …………………………..फ़िराक़ गोरखपुरी

kam se kam maut se aisī mujhe ummīd nahīñ
zindagī tū ne to dhoke pe diyā hai dhoka……………………… FIRAQ GORAKHPURI

At least I do not expect this from death
life, you have betrayed me repeatedly.

I am reminded of a song full of life featuring dashing super star Rajesh Khanna and charming dream girl Hema Malini from the film “Andaz” (1971).
(563) Zindagi Ek Safar (HD) | Andaz (1971) | Hema Malini | Rajesh Khanna | Superhit Kishore Kumar Hits – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBspOUwBHRg

15 thoughts on “Is there a tomorrow?”

  1. Beautiful article on current times l. It reminds me.of a song , AAGE BHI JANE NA TU, PICHE BHI JANE NA TU, JO BHI HAI BAS YAHI EK PAL HAI. ,everything is present.

    Thanks for articulating such wonderful thought provoking blog.

  2. Vishwas Mahajan

    Very poignant- Rajiv. The pandemic has certainly put a new perspective on death. Thanks for sharing and stirring 7 day thoughts

  3. archita trivedi

    This pandemic has shattered us. Still we have to be grateful that we have support of technologies to communicate with one another.
    A century ago when there was Spanish flew or Plague in India, if one’s family member lived in another town, one would know how the other one was.
    Yes I dread to open WA but at last open it as it is the place where Rajiv bhai has left a message about this nice article. You have nailed it as usual.
    Present is the Present and we need to enjoy it to the last breath, that is it.

  4. JITEN SATYEN VASAVDA

    ज़िंदगी…
    हम दोनों क्यों ख़फ़ा है एक दूसरे से,
    कल मैं उसे और वो मुझे समझा रही थी

  5. A good read. While it is tough to embrace the idea of impermanence of circumstances as well as relations and relatives, that seems to be the only way out. Unfortunately a lot of us are not spiritually inclined and the times are now forcing us to crash the learning curve and attain a sense of peace amidst the turmoil. Let us keep the effort of staying in the present and cherish a simple event of witnessing a new sunrise or tearing off one more page from the dread ful calendar.

  6. Shweta Nanavati

    Such a wonderful acceptance of death by Eknath.Whole life we prepare ourselves for that last moment unconsciously, by amassing material wealth for our children but we still fear to live fully in the shadow of death..how ironic! Thankyou Rajivbhai for sharing this wonderful write up.

  7. Happiness is how we tweak our mind to be – to think – to react – it’s not a destination – like reaching Bali!! This is why there is a big mistake people make when they use phrases like the “pursuit of happiness”. I say you can manufacture “happiness”! Yourself!! It takes just one thing to make that happen – personal choice!! You must 1st of all want to be happy! Howzat for a daily thought?

  8. Awesome, that was a great message, life to be lived to the fullest, kyunki zindagi ek safar hai suhana, thanks for sharing the message of life thru eknath, pandemic has created fear and fright, but as you said life to be lived in the present tense

  9. Lovely article as always. Came at a time when my mom in law is in icu and I’ve been dreading that call from the doc. It is not my own death that I fear,or perhaps fear less. It is the feat that I may not have done all I could for her to live for another few years. But the post put that in perspective

  10. A very beautiful read. Full of truth of life i.e. the death!
    Its a Jain philosophy that teaches everyone to live and lead life such that the next moment is last. This philosophy inculcates love and compassion.
    Loved this thoroughly!

  11. Dr Rizwan Ahmed

    Rajiv Bhai,

    As always, your writings contain real life lessons and experiences.

    But this article clearly stands out apart so that we all should realise harsh reality of “death”. And instead of living out life without purpose and goals, we should follow the advise given by Eknath all the times..

    Wishing for safety of everyone during these unprecedented times.

    With Regards,
    Dr Rizwan Ahmed

  12. Rajiv
    Only truths – change and death – very beautifully put

    “These samadhis that result from meditation on an object are samadhis with seed and do not give freedom from cycle or birth.

    On attaining the utmost purity of the nirvichara stage of samadhi there is dawning of spiritual light . In nirvichrara samadhi the consciousness filled with truth”
    Osho on his commentaries on Yoga sutra .
    Like you said, taking this moment as a celebration is the only way to be in pursuit of nirvichara in the midst of ignorance we live in.
    Pursuit of Nirvichara instead of pursuit of happiness gives the freedom too

    Thanks again for insights Rajiv

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