One more thing !

Yama's Foot steps !

|| om tat sat ||

Yama's foot steps.

Both Kathopanishad and Bhagavatam deal with death , literally Yama in Kathopanishad , in their own way.

Both are a part of, and both were dealt with very elaborately.

But when death does intrude, as it does in taking away a near or dear one, it is not easy to set it aside and move on.

Passing away of a near one, or hearing Yama's footsteps, is always heart wrenching.

It is even more so, if it is that of one who is younger than you or say the youngest of the family.

If the possibility that you missed out on meeting that one in those last days is added , then it will be leaving a hanging sense of guilt.

All the lingering thoughts on that death will also be raising questions of what next , apart from looking at the unfinished tasks or the "bucket list."

While one may not be able to move on as if nothing changed, one may still look at the answers provided in our epics and Upanishads like Kathopanishad and Bhagavatam.

Bhagavatam starts with the question of Parkshit as to what should one do in the certain face of death. The answer was "read or hear the ennobling stories of God", and that is Bhagavatam. In that Bhagavatam we have the Dasama Skandha which is probably the most joyful book.

That is indeed the most practical answer even in these troubled times.

The object of reading or hearing ennobling stories of God is to generate positive feelings or spread good cheer. That is indeed what one should be doing. It is important for one to look back at the good things that happened and look forward to making more of that good happen. If one is reaching that part of age, where one is becoming more of a dependent, then one ought to realize the pleasures of practicing joyful detachment. Letting the next generation handle the tasks in their own way, and letting them know that you are happy when they handle it their own way, is the first step in that direction.

In Kathopanishad, the teaching of Yama was to the very young Brahmin Nachiketa. Yama teaches him the tasks that should be done. He teaches him the importance of "Om". He teaches him way to realize "Self". In that context teaching about the path to be followed, Yama teaches that one should choose the path of "good" over the path of "pleasant".

That is probably the single most important lesson.

That may look like an appropriate path or response in case of some who are still in search of things or in the thick of things, making things happen, making choices etc.. In making choices one uses the talisman of "good" Vs "pleasant ". But it is equally valid for one reaching that part of age where one is moving towards being more dependent. Here the "pleasant" is that part of not giving up attachment, and still trying to be part of a process which ideally should be left to the next generation. There is that wish to be of help and derive the pleasure of having helped. That is a selfish pleasure. To follow Yama's teaching, one ought to avoid that "pleasure". And choose the "good" which is walking away, practicing detachment and letting others handle those tasks. Practice joyful detachment.

So having heard the footsteps of Yama in taking away a dear one, the most appropriate response is indeed a detachment. Not a resigned detachment imbued with sorrow. But a positive or joyful detachment remembering that we had our innings and it is for others to manage. And that we too can contribute by being detached.

Yes, Yama's teaching is still the best.
Continue choosing good over pleasant.

||om tat sat ||