Death: To Celebrate or To Mourn??? An Outsider’s Take on Amma’s Journey to Bliss

Death is the door between two lives; one is left behind, one is waiting ahead. -Osho

Yesterday was undoubtedly a day to mourn for many, not to mention the sad demise of the iron lady of India Ms. Jayalalitha aka Amma. I guess things would have been different if I were in Bhubaneswar or in Bangalore at this point of time, but when you are in Tamil Nadu it is highly improbable you do not to take notice of the overwhelming emotions devoted to this extremely popular ‘People’s CM’. Hailed from a non-South Indian background, I refrain from passing any comment on the contemporary Tamil Nadu state of affairs or on the late CM’s controversial expedition. But as I witnessed Amma’s last journey towards bliss on 7th Dec,2016, I intend to come up with an outsider’s spiritual take on the whole scenario. 

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Last evening, while I was catching up the late CM’’s last journey live on Times Now, my phone was over flooded with messages and comments (thanks to my new WhatsApp groups) where a bunch of sensitive ladies were extremely DISTRESSED about how Jaya’s last journey has been an exceedingly lonely one. They were particularly concerned about the facts that

1) Amma’s best friend and soul sister Shashikala did not cry during her rite.

2) Amma was not accompanied by a single relative of hers during her last voyage (Thankfully, later on they came know that the one who performed the last ritual was her brother’ son which kind of pacified them) and

3) Amma was buried instead of being cremated even though she was a Hindu Brahmin.

Well, I was touched by the spilling over of their overwhelming anxiety, concern, sympathy and compassion towards this super woman but somehow I was wondering if it is PITY that tipping out in guise of these so-called empathetic emotions. It can just be a mere interpretation of mine and I might be totally mistaken in doing so but I could see the droppings of words like ‘how sad’, ‘how miserable’, ‘how wretched’ and was unsure if her achievement is truly being celebrated today or she is being judged for being a strong but a SINGLE woman. Of course I did not engage in that online WhatsApp debate (which I have given up doing long back :D) but it was something that kept on ringing in my head throughout the night.

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I kept on wondering that isn’t death is a lonely affair, an awfully lonesome experience?? Isn’t it how you are supposed to leave this earth at the end?? Haven’t we grown up listening to the ultimate truth that “We have come alone to this world and we will go of this world alone???” Then how can the presence of a mere family or a relative in a woman’s last ritual can certify the accomplishment of her life?? Or to be specific, how can the presence of a husband or a son can confirm the fact that you are not alone in this journey of life? I was immediately reminded of Osho who had said, “At the moment of death all your knowledge of the world will be lost into thin air. Only one thing will go with you, and that one thing is being constantly ignored — that is your self-knowledge, your self-realization. In fact, this is the only ignorance — ignoring yourself.” It seems so apt here, so authentic. Now that Amma has gone, who would answer if she has ignored herself and she has lived her life to the fullest. Who would clarify that if she has celebrated her life which she was supposed to do or she has led a miserable life, as labelled as these highly COMPASSIONATE ladies??

It is funny to notice that our so-called religions have never taught us to celebrate life. Rather, they have focused more on the life after death, a bribe to mould your life so that you can attain heaven or hell depending on your KARMA. But who knows if KARMA works after death!!! Who will affirm if one has been leading a sumptuous life with the angels in the heaven or being brutally fried in the hot oil in the hell?? I guess no one can!! The people who are desperate to know the truth are still alive and the one who can answer this question are already gone. And what they have left behind?? Some morons like us to judge if a person had a happy death or a lonely death based on people’s attitude around her, during her last rite.

Why a woman did not cry at the death of her best friend?? Common on!! The CM was hospitalized for the last 75 days. Everybody had anticipated something worse. Everyone knew she was dying, everyday, slowly, gradually!! Isn’t it the fact? And by the way why should tears be the parameter of anyone’s feelings for others? Why can’t we bid someone a silent goodbye? Why do we need drama in each and every level of our lives, not sparing even death?? Or one would agree that its death which needs the highest drama in our society. No drama, no love!! No drama, no emotion!! You are not an actor?? Then you are heartless!! Period.

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Let no one cry. Let her go alone. Let no one be her side; which of course did not happen. The whole of Tamil Nadu was crying for its Amma. Why can’t we accept the fact that it was she who had chosen her life?? It was she who had chosen the path she wanted to tread. It was she who had declared she didn’t need a family and the people of Tamil Nadu are her only family. How nice it does sound!! Isn’t it? But then what happens at the end??  Being the ultimate hypocrites, we are quick enough to conclude, pass our judgment, give our our verdict. How can we resist? We are so much in love with our own voices!!! Isn’t it?? She might be affluent, but she was lonely. She might be successful, but she was forlorn. Poor Soul, May god bless her. Bla Bla Bla.  But excuse me!! I may beg to differ. I guess she was not at all a poor soul. Was she blessed?? Well, of course. As a rebel and a rule breaker, it was her choice to cut off all relations with her immediate family. It was her choice lead a life of solitude. Here I doubt if anyone ever understands the difference between solitude and loneliness. Why is it so difficult to accept that one might fall in love with his/her own solitude, mind his/her own business and do their duties without being bothered about others?? I guess that’s Amma did and most probably fell sick while doing the very thing she loved the most.

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It was Amma’s preference to defy the Hindu custom of being cremated and therefore she chose to be buried next to her mentor, the legendary MGR. While leading a dubious life, our dual being refrain us from fulfilling our dreams while we are live, whereas it takes guts to challenge the societal norms and get your dreams fulfilled even when you are dead. I guess Amma knew ‘living a life you want’ is much more important that waiting for ‘a disillusioned life after death’. So this SINGLE woman made the whole world fall at her feet when she was alive. She loved herself, she loved her life, she loved her body, and she loved her existence, to the core. Yes my friend, it takes nerve to love yourself; accept what you are, without seeking approval from others. Most probably she had realized the fact that the universal love starts with self love. Self love is the first step; it has always been; since eternity. When your pot is filled, you start filling others pots. When you are happy, you make others happy. When you are abundant with love, you spread the fragrance of love. You become the epitome of care and compassion. You become the symbol of the universal motherhood. You become AMMA.

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When you go from this world, nothing matters. Who attended your funeral, who cried, who did not cry, if you were cremated, if you were buried or if your body is just placed in a Dakhma (as it happens in the case of Parsis) and left to be festered by the sun and foraged by the birds. What ultimately matters is if you have lived your life fully, if you have celebrated life, if you have celebrated love. If you have enjoyed your life, you will enjoy your death too. As Osho confirms, “Death becomes the ultimate celebration if your life is a celebration” and I guess Amma celebrated her life to the fullest and now as she is gone, we can celebrate her death without being judgmental and make her a triumphant empress, yet again. #SpreadLove

4 Replies to “Death: To Celebrate or To Mourn??? An Outsider’s Take on Amma’s Journey to Bliss”

  1. Subhashree Mohanty says: Reply

    The writing depicts ur emotions quite beautifully….I got so many lines which I will use as quotes.My fave part is when you talk about loving the solitude,loving the life…another part is how unnecessary are tears,and how dramatized! Good work,Dr.G…Glamorous

    1. Thank you very much Subu. Thanks for your beautiful words. 🙂

  2. Loved it! Beautifully written. I could relate to a lot of things you said as I am going through something similar in my life : learning to love myself, enjoying the life of solitude without having to feel guilty about it. This does sit back and make us wonder about the way we think about a lot of things in life. So thank you for this. I guess I sort of needed to read this; just for some self-affirmation. 🙂
    ‘Living a life you want’ is the quote I will take away from this piece. Will keep it in mind, will learn from it and will try and imbibe it in my own self.

    1. Yes Bhavesh. Thats how life it is. We are so concerned about a life after our death, hell, heaven, Karma that we forget the very fact why we are here in this earth. Not to die while waiting for a life after death but to live the life we have gifted with. Think about it. And yes you life is a successful one if you have lived “a life you want.” Thanks for the extremely thoughtful words. 🙂

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