Help while you can

Updated - October 18, 2016 12:38 pm IST

Published - August 18, 2016 01:37 am IST

It is important that we love and serve people. But we neglect our parents and elders when they need our help, but observe all the rituals after they are dead, said Malayaman, in a discourse. Of what use are such rituals, when we have been selfish and unmindful of the needs of our loved ones? Saint Thirumoolar asks in one of his verses: “Does it matter if a dead body is pecked by crows? Does it matter if the body is referred to in abusive terms by someone? Does it matter whether you sprinkle milk on it or not? Does it matter if others praise the body? Once the atma has exited the body, what is the body but a mere bag of skin?”

But do we ever give a thought to this, when we are young and strong? It is only when death approaches that we begin to think of our mortality. We end up spending the last days of our life regretting our failure to do our duty, our failure to look after our family. We cannot turn the clock back, even if realise our mistakes. We might have lived happily all our lives. But don’t those last days or months of our lives count? Should we spend them looking back at our past and feeling sorry for the many things we failed to do? We can learn a lesson or two from the crow. If we place some grains out for the birds, and one crow chances upon it, it calls out to other crows to share in the food. That is the attitude we must have towards wealth- sharing it with those in need, and using it to keep our elders comfortable, instead of spending it entirely on ourselves.

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