We are Judged by What we have
Given to the World

Author: S. Srinivasachar

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Our physical body is “Nature’s” gift. It comes with a deep-seated feeling of “I”, “my”, “mine” etc. it is home to all that we say or do during its life-time. It also comes with a hidden message that it should support and enrich the process of living. Its limbs are part of an architecture which is as beautiful as it is complicated. The ethical dimensions of the very process of living is beautifully expressed by Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds of modern times. I quote:

“Strange is our situation on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why; yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men—above all for those upon whose well- being our own happiness depends”.

When we are alive and when we are dead, we are judged by what we have said and done. Each one of us, however small or great are debtors to others. We are judged not by what we have taken from the world, but what we have given to it. A rewarding life is one which is lived without expectation of reward. Most of us have been lucky to be born with all our limbs and faculties in tact. As we grow up we have absorbed many things from the environment—some good, some not so good, and some distinctly bad. With education and innate empathy we have shaped our individual personalities to chase our dreams and ambitions in search of happiness for ourselves and our families. To the enlightened minds kinship does not end at that level. We start sympathizing with all those who are less fortunate than us.

The incentive to do good to somebody is often rooted in our desire to find greater happiness for ourselves. If a very well-to- do person donates a part of his disposable wealth for a charity, he seeks to elevate himself morally in his own view. This may be partly because of a feeling of guilt that he has accumulated wealth at the cost of someone or society; it may also be because he has realized that wealth by itself cannot give him the kind of happiness he secretly craves for. He enjoys the public adulation and social status during his lifetime. Reflect for a moment on the real worth of selfless service. I look at it as an aesthetic experience—the kind of joy that cannot be confined by words. When the body gets engulfed in irretrievable silence, where are the eyes to see, or the ears to hear? Does any religion or scripture help to retrieve life lost for ever? Where do we go, how and for what purpose? If we wish to, is there a better way than to see the world with our own eyes as they get implanted on the unfortunate sightless ones—or our other organs functioning in someone who has lost them? We shall not confound ourselves with questions of moral imperatives when it comes to disposing our lifeless body. Should we allow it to be consumed by fire, leaving behind ashes, or maggots to devour it in a tomb?

In life we may feel divided, but in death (being a leveler), we are all one. Tears have to be shed for those who die with this dilemma unresolved in mind.

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