A man who treats the joys and sorrows of life alike is one who knows no fear even at the time of death, said Suki Sivam. If pleasure is a part of life, then death is equally a reality too. How well a man has understood this truth is seen in how he faces death. A man shows through his attitude to death the sort of man he is. If we can accept joy, why not face death also calmly?
Once, a Zen master lay on his death bed. Zen disciples usually ask their masters for a last, parting word. So the disciples of this man sat around him and kept asking him for at least one word of advice. There was no response from the master. Then a disciple remembered that the master liked grapes. So he ran to the market and bought some grapes for his master. He gave the grapes to his master, who ate them with relish. Then, the master said: “These grapes are very sweet,” and having said that, he died.
This was an example of a man who had learnt how to treat both pleasure and pain. Even at the moment of death, he felt no sorrow, but was able to enjoy the good things of life God has given us. That he could experience sweetness even at the time of death was proof of his greatness.
Those who are constantly worrying about something or thinking whether others might deprive them of something can never know such an easy departure from this world.
There was a devotee who used to visit a sage every week. Once while he sat before the sage, meditating, some people arrived to take his blessings. The devotee was now worried that if the newcomers seated themselves before him, they would hide the sage from his view. No sooner this thought occurred to the devotee than the sage said, “What does it matter what happens? What does it matter who comes?” That became a principle for the man to live the rest of his life by.
Whenever he was transferred, he would take the transfer keeping in mind the words of the sage.
Earlier, he had been worried about the changes a transfer might mean in his life. Now he was no longer worried. For, he had learnt not to worry.