In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Finite Creatures.”
At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?
Is there not a certain satisfaction, in the fact that a limit is posed to our existence by nature, which makes it finite and work of art?
I feel I always had an inkling about it; especially since I read word ‘moksha’ in the dialogues between Yama(God of Death) and Nachiketa at an age of five years. But I feel a couple of events etched it into mind and made me think about mortality. Later on, this idea was replaced by immortality. Yes. Now I know it for a fact that I am immortal and only body is going to perish–which is alive only because I am inhabiting it. This realization of having no death came in 2008 and I have discussed about it in another post. Let’s focus about the realization of mortality of body and experiences of this mundane world.
I was about 7 years old. I was playing hide-and-seek with a few friends in the temple ground besides my grandmother’s house. As I was trying to climb up a small wall made of bricks to cross it off in order to move to the other side, as many other kids have been doing all evening, it collapsed. It couldn’t take my weight. Many bricks fell on my right knee and one of them had a stone or something which pierced right through a vein and it started gushing with blood. I was crying and lying there when my aunt came and picked me up and took me to our house. Soon couple of uncles from neighborhood came and took me to a nearby clinic on a scooter. The attendant over there suggested them to take me to the city hospital and they did so. There, I was taken to a room and the doctors gave me anesthesia and put seven stitches. When the doctor was doing stitches I was shouting overwhelmed by seeing the sewing of my skin. He scolded me and asked me to shut up.
I had to rest for about 9 days in hospital. Since I was in a general ward with my grandfather–I was overwhelmed by the sight of suffering all around me. So many people and so many types of sufferings. I can still not visit hospitals. I often wonder how people can stay so comfortably numb to the suffering of mankind after visiting hospitals. How can you stay happy after visiting a hospital and seeing so many people ailing and wailing? Anyway, that was my first stay in hospital and it overwhelmed me. When I was released I had to wait another 15 days for stitches to be removed and then I met a friend who was elder to me. I told him that I didn’t want to live in that body any longer. I told him that the body was a home of suffering and I wanted to move out. He tried to console me. That was one of the strongest realizations of mortality.
When I was 9, my grandfather left us suddenly in an accident and his dead body was brought home, all women were crying; I cried for a while and then started consoling my grandmother and other ladies. After a while in evening some food was brought from neighborhood because cooking in a house where death has occurred is prohibited among Hindus. Two of us–me and my brother were taken upstairs and fed. I was feeling guilty that while everyone was mourning the loss I was eating. But after a while I said to my brother–“though he loved me the most and he has passed away–life keeps moving.” One who has come has to go. Then we fell asleep.