I’ve seen it only once in my life many many years ago. I’ve been to a lots of funerals but there was only one dying person I’ve seen with my own eyes and it wasn’t pretty. I didn’t give it much attention back then but a few days ago the image and implications of being on a deathbed came back to me.
I guess some people go away peacefully but my grandmother suffered for weeks, bedridden and unconscious. In the beginning her agony was unbearable to watch, towards the end she was so shriveled and exhausted she had no power to toss around anymore, only moaned in pain. Her consciousness was never clear and she didn’t even recognize my face when my mom shoved me up front.
A few days ago I realized that I might die in the same way. By Krishna’s grace there could be devotees who would make sure I’m surrounded by objects reminding me of Krishna but if my death would be anything like my grandmother’s it won’t matter a bit – she had no awareness of the world around her anymore. I bet in this situation the mind is totally out of control, too and there’s only unbearable pain and suffering with to clarity or sense of control.
Even if I were to remember about Krishna I wouldn’t have facilities for it, my whole body, both gross and subtle, would be completely overwhelmed with either pain or pain medication. How would I be able to pray?
This is not how I normally envision my eventual passing but when did I ever get things go the way I imagined them to be?
Two of my other close relatives died in their sleep, or at least were found in bed in the morning. Maybe they woke up just before leaving their bodies but even if that happened they were probably shocked by the sudden experience and had no time to gather their thoughts.
Either way, a dying person is screwed, more likely than not I’ll be left completely and utterly helpless and without abilities to even properly pray. How am I supposed to remember Krishna that way?
What if before my death I will never have time to awaken and purify my spiritual consciousness? That would be the only instrument available to me at that time. Right now I judge it by how much I am aware of Krishna in deep sleep – nothing at all. It will be much much worse than sleep, in deep sleep my senses are not bothering me, on deathbed they will be screaming for attention.
The worst part is that my death might come knock on tomorrow and I’m completely unprepared for it. I prance around everyday on borrowed time and think I have enough years and decades to develop my spiritual consciousness. I even dare to teach others about illusion. People might live in illusion for they don’t know any better. My situation is called delusion, it’s far far worse, and even worse than that is that I don’t like to think about it.
Let this be a real lesson for me, a lesson I would remember at all times at every point in my life. My deathbed is waiting.