Tag Archives: Death

Premonition of Impending Death

Numerous books have been written on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of Indian nation. Latest in the series is the book written by Pramod Kapoor and is named “My experiments with Gandhi”. Each book tries to explore the different aspects of the life of great man. Some excerpts are given about the thoughts and happenings in the life of Gandhi.

The author cites a number of incidences in the last 48 hours of Bapu’s life which show that Mahatma has premonition about his death and he indicated this to his near and dear ones saying that he wouldn’t remain amid them for long.
For example, on the afternoon of January 29, 1948, the day before the assassination, an agitated member of a group of villagers who had been recently rendered homeless due to communal clashes, confronted Gandhi ji and claimed that he had done enough damage.

“You have ruined us utterly. Leave us alone and take your abode in the Himalayas,” the angry person had said.
This disturbed Mahatma very much. That same evening, while walking to his prayer meeting, he had confided to his grandniece Manuben, “The pitiful cries of these people is like the voice of God. Take this as a death warrant for you and me.”

A few hours later, that afternoon, a four year old Rajiv accompanying Krishna Huthee Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru’s sister and Indira had called on Bapu. Rajiv placed some flowers at feet of Gandhi to which he had playfully chided the little boy and said, “You must not do that. One only puts flowers around dead people’s feet.”
On January 30, Gandhi battled thoughts of death more than just once. Bapu was feeling unwell and had woken up at 3:30 am. He was ‘unusually disturbed with the ‘darkness’ that surrounded him. The darkness being, partition woes and infighting in the Congress. At about 3:45 am, he had surprisingly asked for a rendition of a Gujarati bhajan,

‘Thake na thake chhataye nhon/

Manavi na leje visramo/

Ne jhoojhaje ekal bayen/

Ho manavi, na leje visramo

which roughly translates in English to

Whether tired or not,

O man do not take rest,

stop not, your struggle,

if single-handed, continues.


Few hours later Bapu was asked to take some penicillin pills that his doctor had left for him to cure a bad cough. “If I were to die of disease or even a pimple, you must shout to the world from the house tops, that I was a false Mahatma. Then my soul, wherever it may be, will rest in peace. But if an explosion took place or somebody shot at me and I received his bullets on my bare chest, without a sigh and with Rama’s name on my lips, only then you should say I was a true Mahatma.”

Obits

The Times of India carries large number of obituaries every day. It devotes full one page for this purpose where bereaved people want to share with the world the loss of their dear ones. Generally, there is a photograph of the person who has gone up and then there are epitaphs some of which are simply exaggerations, but this is permitted because there are both flip and face sides to everything and everyone’s perspective is different.

Today, I saw a obituary which quotes a poem by Henry Scott Holland. It is reproduced below in Toto. It is beautiful poem exuding optimism and treating death as only a transient reality. It runs as follows:

“Death is nothing at all.

It does not count.

I have only slipped away into the next room.

Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.

I am I, and you are you, and

the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.

Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone.

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.

Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity.

What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.

All is well.

Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.

One brief moment and all will be as it was before.

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!”