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Facing Sudden Death Of Son Or Daughter

Facing the sudden death of son or daughter is the hardest thing in this world. It can only be overcome by realizing The Supreme Truth. This Natural Truth, which we are, is blocked by ignorance. Nisargadatta Maharaj unravels this Truth.

Visitor: My only son died a few days ago in a car accident, and I find it almost impossible to accept his death with a philosophic fortitude. I know that I am not the first person to suffer such bereavement. I also know that each one of us has to die some time. I have in my mind sought solace from all the usual ploys by which one consoles oneself and others in such predicaments. And yet, I come back to the tragic fact that a cruel fate should deprive my son of everything in the prime of his life. Why? Why? I keep on asking myself. Sir, I cannot get over my grief.

Nisargadatta Maharaj – It is unavailing and futile to say that I am grieved because in the absence of 'me' as an individual there are no 'others', and I see myself mirrored in all of you. Obviously, you have not come to me for mere sympathy, which you surely must have received in abundance from your relatives and friends. Remember, one goes through life, year after year, enjoying the usual pleasures and suffering the usual pains, but never once seeing life in its true perspective. And what is the true perspective? It is this: There is no 'me', nor 'you'; there never could be any such entities. Every man should understand this and have the courage to live his life with this understanding. Do you have this courage, my friend? Or, must you wallow in what you call your grief?

V: Maharaj, pardon me, I do not fully understand what you have said, but I do feel startled and shaken. You have exposed the core of my being, and what you have said so pithily appears to be the golden key to life. Please elaborate on what you have just said. What exactly is it that I must do?

M: Do? Do? Absolutely nothing: Just see the transient as transient, the unreal as unreal, the false as false, and you will realize your true nature. You have mentioned your grief. Have you ever looked at 'grief' in the face and tried to understand what it really is? To lose somebody or something you have loved dearly, is bound to cause sorrow. And since death is total annihilation with absolute finality, the sorrow caused by it is unmitigated. But even this overwhelming sorrow cannot last long, if you intellectually analyze it. What exactly are you grieving for? Go back to the beginning: Did you and your wife make any agreement with someone that you would have a son — a particular body — and that he would have a particular destiny? Is it not a fact that his conception itself was a chance? That the foetus survived the many hazards in the womb was another matter of chance. That the baby was a boy was yet another chance. In other words what you called your 'son' was just a chance event, a happening over which you have had no control at all at any time, and now that event has come to an end.

What exactly are you grieving for? Are you grieving for the few pleasant experiences and the many painful experiences that your son has missed in the years to come? Or, are you, really and truly, grieving for the pleasures and conveniences that you will no longer be able to receive from him? Mind you, all this is from the point of view of the false! Nonetheless, are you with me so far?

V: I am afraid, I continue to remain stunned. I certainly follow what you have just said. Only, what did you mean when you said that all this was on the level of the false?

M: Ah! Now we shall come to the truth. Please understand as truth, that you are not an individual, a 'person'. The person, that one thinks one is, is only a product of imagination and the self is the victim of this illusion. 'Person' cannot exist in its own right. It is the self, consciousness, that mistakenly believes that there is a person and is conscious of being it. Change your viewpoint. Don't look at the world as something outside of yourself. See the person you imagine yourself to be as a part of the world —really a dream-world — which you perceive as an appearance in your consciousness, and look at the whole show from the outside. Remember, you are not the mind, which is nothing but the content of consciousness. As long as you identify yourself with the bodymind you are vulnerable to sorrow and suffering. Outside the mind there is just being, not being father or son, this or that.

You are beyond time and space, in contact with them only at the point of now and here, but otherwise timeless, spaceless and invulnerable to any experience. Understand this and grieve no more. Once you realize that there is nothing in this world that you can or need call your own, you will look at it from the outside, as you look at a play on the stage or a movie on the screen, admiring and enjoying, perhaps suffering, but deep down, quite unmoved.

Source – book titled ‘Pointers From Nisargadatta Maharaj’ By Ramesh S. Balsekar