What is the best way to find out the truth about life?
The Hindus believe that a person who breathes his last attains what they term “Kashi Labh,” or the karmic cycle of rebirth.
Birav Nath Shukla has an occupation that not many will envy, but it has armed him with a degree in the School of Life. He is the Manager of MuktiBhawan, a guesthouse that serves as a refuge for those near the ends of their lives. He has witnessed over 12000 deaths and shares the recurring lessons that he has drawn from his experiences.
Broaching the subject of death is not always touch-and-go.
How do you address such a sensitive issue?
One answer is to be brief. To do so means to keep comments short and on the topic. Everyone has the tendency to raise old or redundant issues. Focused communication works best.
Then, stick to the positive. While this does not mean being nice all the time, it does involve avoiding accusations, negative statements and name calling.
Let other parties know how you are feeling. Doing this can shatter the walls between you. Offer them comments that show your empathy.
15 Great End-of-Life Lessons from MuktiBhawan Show the Truth about Life
Though death is harsh, he is an excellent teacher. The End-of-life has taught Birav Shukla many lessons, which he is ready to expound.
1. Resolve All Conflicts Before you Pass on.
People haul unnecessary baggage throughout their lives and only realize that they need to unload it at the ends of their journeys.
The story of Sanskrit Scholar Shri Ram Sagar Mishir serves as a poignant reminder to resolve conflicts and embrace forgiveness before death. Mishir was the eldest of six brothers and closest to the youngest. A quarrel between them led them to build a wall to divide the house. The two brothers avoided each other for 40 years.
As he reached his last days, Mishir felt unsettled. He realized that he lacked peace of mind because of his lasting feud with his brother. Mishir wrote a letter asking his sibling to see him. He requested the younger man to bring down the wall, and for his forgiveness. Both brothers wept, and Mishir left this world enveloped in calm.
2. A difference in ideology can break ties
Differences in beliefs can cause people who were once close to stop communicating. You still have associations with that person, but move away because you wish to avoid a conflict. Understanding that you want to part with the person’s beliefs, and not him, will prevent vengeful feelings.
3. Embrace Simplicity.
Shukla shares that those at death’s door seldom indulge themselves with food. They come to an understanding, in their last days, that they should have lived simpler lives.
These people discover that spending less helps a person to live a happy, contented life, even without material trappings. Satisfaction with less is the key to attracting more.
4. Death Transforms You.
Struggle and loss are the raw seeds of transformation. They scar, but also result in growth. Death hurts, but there is always hope on the horizon. A huge truth about life.
5. Dying Makes You Self-Aware.
People go through their lives without expanding their awareness. They make poor choices without being conscious of why they did so. Death develops that consciousness.
6. Seek Help from Others.
While learning how to do everything on your own may give you a sense of self-esteem, it stops you from learning from others.
Shukla recounts an old woman who arrived at the hospital in the 80s. The people who had brought her there left without filling up an inquiry form. Shukla realized that they were renegade Naxalites when the police suddenly showed up. He lied to the police that he did not know who they were. When they returned the following day, he chided them for putting him in an awkward position.
The old woman’s grandson fell to his knees and begged Shukla’s forgiveness. He mentioned that the people at MuktiBhawan were the only ones who could help her attain religious salvation. He had turned to them because of his respect for their knowledge.
7. Beauty is in The Little Things.
To help the dying spend their final days peacefully, MuktiBhawan plays devotionals thrice daily. The residents admire the songs as if they have never heard them before. Their appreciation of simple bhajans made Shukla realize that people are often too preoccupied with seemingly less trivial matters to find real joy in life.
8. Live Your Dreams.
Another truth about life from dying patients often have unfulfilled aspirations. Necessity prevented them from pursuing their passions in the past. It is always important to do the things that bring fulfillment.
9. Take Risks.
Patients about to pass on often regret having lived a life of mediocrity. Risks may keep a person safe, but doom him to live an unfulfilled life without growth.
10. Forget a Person’s Bad Traits.
Every person has positive and negative traits. Instead of dismissing a “bad” person, it is essential to seek out the good in them. If you dwell on their positives, you may be able to love them eventually.
11. Practice Acceptance.
Shukla reveals is that the dying realize that acceptance frees them. Most people do not accept their situations. Rejection of one’s circumstances triggers the unhealthy emotions of avoidance, indifference, and denial. It also deprives people of the strength to find solutions to their problems.
12. Find your Purpose in Life and do Something About It.
One more truth about life is that many people discover what they are meant to do in life without ever addressing it. Having a purpose will allow you to set goals and move towards them. It prompts you to take decisive action to improve your circumstances.
13. Develop Good Habits.
People near death have taught Shukla that healthy habits enable the creation of good values. It is hard, for example, to attain the quality of kindness if you do not practice it.
14. Select Knowledge.
The number of things one has to learn is infinite, and it takes a lifetime to absorb all of them. Shukla advises people to learn the things that they value. Those at the ends of their days find themselves enriched when they learn what they want to.
15. Keep 10% of What You Earn for Goodwill.
The Hindu concept of Dharma, according to Shukla, is the idea of doing good for others. Approximately 10% of your income should go to performing charitable acts. Those who have the benefit of all-encompassing goodwill leave this Earth peacefully.
And here’s another truth about life: Being close to death teaches valuable lessons that a person does not necessarily learn in life.
By Michelle L.
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