Yield Gracefully to the New

By Ali Khwaja

Even the most efficient and productive machine is eventually phased out. A very nutritious crop is harvested, uprooted and mixed with the soil so that new seedlings can be sown and sprouted. The most ferocious animal who lords over the jungle one day crawls into a cave to die softly. That is the law of naturethe old must yield place gracefully to the new.

Then why do we humans think that we are invincible or immortal? So many of us find it very difficult to let goof our power, position, wealth, childrenand life itself. Those who claim to believe in the afterlife assert that death is like a change of clothes. Yet, they hang on to their tattered bodies and the assets these bodies own. They cannot visualize that their end must come sooner or later, their only choice is how they accept or revolt against it.

Some of us seem to think that death and end of life comes only after certain number of years are completed. (A friend of mine used to say, Old age is my current age plus 20). Death is no stranger to age since in a very real sense, life is a matter of a series of deaths as each act or stage is completed. Montaigne has suggested that in fact, Death is the moment when dying ends. True death is simply a running out of borrowed time. But time itself is meaningless when it contains the past and future in the present.

So many people teach us life skills. Can someone teach us to happily walk into the sunset when the time comes? Because the ultimate life skill is to know how to face its end.

(Dr. Khwaja is the Chairperson of the Bangalore-based Banjara Academy)


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