“Whence we come and where we go” is the eternal question humanity is asking and trying to unrave, to seek the answer to the greatest mystery besetting the humanity. Religion as well as science is pursuing relentlessly to solve this riddle. Religion which does not have to give solid proofs for unsolved phenomena ascribes the genesis to the God.
For example, according to the Bible we come from dust and end up into the dust from which we are born. The God with magical wands and sleight of His hand created everything present on the earth. He created everything in a span of six days taking seventh day as the day of rest and scrutinize his work like an artist who watches his work from a distance detached from his creation. When the Adam and Eve were expelled to Earth for breaking the promise not to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge in the heavens, they were cursed to toil and do the labor to earn the food and bear great pain while delivering the child. This is the curse which we are carrying on us from generation to generation. Why did the God created the curiosity and dangled the apples before the first couple? He seems to be fond of testing His progeny.
According to the Christian burial service we are born out of dust and are returned to dust. The text for is as follows:
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
It is from Genesis 3:19 of King James version of the Bible. The same thing which we alluded to in the last paragraph.
In the 1662 version of the Book of Common Prayer, the manner and text of the burial service is described as follows:
When the body will be cast upon in the earth and earth shall be cast upon it, the Priest shall say,
“For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother here departed, we therefore commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.”
The almost similar feelings are displayed by Sikh Gurus when a person is cremated. The meaning of the Gurubani (Sikh hymn) can be translated crudely as follows:
“That God is like the Sun sending forth us in the form of its rays. It is called Atman. This means that our body which is made of the earthy elements is a chalice containing the infinitesimal element of the God, it is like a dead harmonium into which the life in the form of wind is pumped. So when a body is unable to hold the ray of life or Atman, the ray goes back to its source and merges with it. The person is said to be complete or whole as its Atman which is eternal meets the Maker.”
Kabir, the great Indian saint also echos similar feelings when he describes the Atman as Hamsa or Swan. When a person dies, his Atman or Hamsa flies away towards the God alone. No one, neither his relatives nor his friends accompany him. He is to go alone, leaving behind everything. All the earthy possessions which he had spent his life collecting remain here.
As for me, I don’t know whether we are born from the earth or not directly sprouting from it. It is indirect method. Someone, called mother has to hold the lump of mass which is born alive after gestation. It is true that composition of compounds forming the body is derived from the elements present on the earth. But even Earth has been given these in the dower by the Sun, which continues to play the life sustaining role on the Earth. We owe him everything that is present on this Earth. Yes, but I have seen, the body become ash when it handed over to Fire which licks it with wild flames. Only few obdurate bones remain. The ashes are scattered all onto a river like Ganga, and they flow to the ultimate that is the sea which is the biggest receptor on the Earth.