By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC
Mukthi Bhawan? I am sure many of you would have heard about this building in Kashi where people go to die! Why? One may ask. As per our own Hindu scriptures, if one dies in Kashi, the abode of Shiva, one attains Moksha [ultimate salvation]. No rebirth. So, many ailing persons, in their prime, come and stay in this Mukthi Guest House to breathe their last.
There is, of course, a rule for all residents of this Guest House. Accommodation is confirmed for only two weeks and in that period if one does not breathe his or her last, they have to go back to their own homes. Ironical, but truth is that one cannot just wish for death, it comes at its destined time.
Till date, nearly more than 12,000 people have used this home to breath their last. This home is managed by one Shukla from last four decades. He was recently asked by a journalist his opinion about this practice. He said, “I have seen many a deaths. Some violent and some calm. But one which moved me was the death of one Mishra.”
This gentleman after ten days of his stay went and asked Shukla to ring up his brother to request him to come here. Out of curiosity Shukla asked him the reason for this. Mishra said, “Me and my brother had a major quarrel over some land and have not talked to each other for nearly 40 years. Even the ancestral house where we stay, we have put up a wall in between dividing the house. Just as I was sitting and thinking about this, the futility of all came into my mind. When I am going to leave this world, I am not going to take away my land for which I had fought bitterly. So I wanted to meet him and ask his forgiveness. I do not want to go to the other world carrying the burden of guilt of not talking with own blood brother for 40 years over a trivial land row.”
Shukla called up his brother and talked to him. Reluctantly, his brother came over. Both of them hugged each other and suddenly Mishra, who was staying in the Bhawan, passed away with a peaceful smile on his face. This is one mantra Shukla tells all the inmates when they come to check in. Please resolve all your past issues, call your relatives, friends and all those who you have wronged. Talk over, resolve the issues and do not carry any baggage when your time comes to go away.
Everyone of us carry a baggage in our lives. Fight over land, property, money etc., is common. Every one in the twilight of his or her life thinks about ending all these conflicts but may not to be able to do it due to so many reasons. So why not try to end these conflicts much before our end so that one faces his or her end without a feeling of any guilt?
Greed and accumulation of wealth by all means, fair and unfair, is a part of this kaliyuga but when nearing and facing death everyone understands the implications of this and wants forgiveness. Saint or a thug, everyone wants Moksha.
Another stark truth, whether it is Ambani or any common man, when one is taken to the crematorium, everything is stripped, all the wealth is left behind. In the past, several kings of Egypt used to bury their wealth along with themselves in a mistaken notion that they could use it after their death too. But what happened. Their coffins were raided by thieves and wealth stolen.
In a recent kbc episode, a contestant from Orissa quotes his mother, “After death if at least 10 persons do not talk positively about you, your janma is a waste.” You visit any crematorium, for the first half-an-hour everyone starts talking very positively and then starts cribbing about the deceased man or woman. If after 30 minutes people still talk positively, he or she has had a good janma. Have you ever noticed for a good soul, people come all over “uninvited” to pay respects.
To conclude, resolve all your issues much before you are in the twilight of your life. There is a possibility that nearing the end of your life you may not be able to meet the persons whom you want to ask forgiveness. Why wait for the last moment? Take a decision early and do it so that you can depart with no regrets in your heart.