The only news I know

The only news I know
Is Bulletins all Day
From Immortality.
The only Shows I see —
Tomorrow and Today —
Perchance Eternity —
The only one I meet
Is God — The only Street
Existence — This traversed
If other news there be —
Or Admirabler Show —
I’ll tell it You —
– Emily Dickinson

Last Days of Swami Vivekananda

Vivekananda3Swami Vivekananda was a close disciple of the great spiritual Master Sri Ramakrishna. After Ramakrishna’s passing, Vivekananda began a whirlwind of activity. He travelled across India, United States and Europe – giving lectures on Vedenta, philosophy and encouraging dynamic action – especially in India. Towards the end of his short life, his hectic schedule told on his health and he retreated to the Himalayas to spend more time in quiet contemplation.

In his final days, he became aware of his limited time left on earth; he was moved to practise more meditation and contemplate on the deepest spiritual truths.

“I am making ready for death. A great tapasya and meditation has come upon me, and I am making ready for death.” – Belur Math, 1902

As his final days came, Swami Vivekananda, a great Vedantist, reveals how his devotion to Mother Kali increased and he began to be more aware of the world beyond this earth of joy and suffering. Continue Reading →

The mystery of death

emily-dickinson-death-stop

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

Emily Dickinson


The mystery of death holds both fear and fascination. On the one hand we fear death – death of the body and death of the ego; to some, death is the extinction of all that we hold dear in the world.

But, if we live not only for worldly possessions, we come to feel that maybe there is more to life than this physical being. The Seers and mystics proclaim that death is but a transition: a chance for renewal and rebirth. Death is an end for the body; but for the soul, death is merely the process of discarding its worn-out garment and moving to something higher.


 

Death is not the end
Death can never be the end.

Death is the road.
Life is the traveller.
The Soul is the Guide

Sri Chinmoy


“They will come back – come back again, as long as the red Earth rolls.
He never wasted a leaf or a tree. Do you think He would squander souls ?”

Rudyard Kipling


 

 Sri Aurobindo on death

“Death is a stair, a door, a stumbling stride
The soul must take to cross from birth to birth,
A grey defeat pregnant with victory”

– Sri Aurobindo, Savitri

To understand the perspective of a Seer poet on death, I recommend the Debate of love and death in Savitri by Sri Aurobindo. It is a beautiful and thought provoking dialogue between Savitri and death – between human mortality and the divine.

References

[1] Because I could not stop for death

[2] Quotes on Death

[3] The Sack of the Gods R.Kipling

Single Object of Faith – Sri Ramakrishna

snowdrops

“A man began to sink a well, but having dug down to the depth of twenty cubits he could not find the least trace of the water-spring which was to feed his well. So he desisted from the work and selected another place for the purpose. There he dug deeper than before, but even then he could not find any water. So again he selected another spot and dug still deeper than before, but it was also of no avail. At last in utter disgust he gave up the task altogether. The sum total of the depths of these three wells was little short of a hundred cubits. Had he had the patience to devote even a half of the whole of this labour to his first well, without shifting the site of the well from place to place, he would surely have been successful in getting water. Such is the case with men who continually shift their positions in regard to faith. In order to meet with success we should devote ourselves entirely to a single object of faith, without being doubtful as to its efficacy.”

– The Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna

And death a spur towards immortality – Sri Aurobindo

loweswater

But Savitri answered to almighty Death:
“O dark-browed sophist of the universe
Who veilst the Real with its own Idea,
Hiding with brute objects Nature’s living face,
Masking eternity with thy dance of death,
Thou hast woven the ignorant mind into a screen
And made of Thought error’s purveyor and scribe,
And a false witness of mind’s servant sense.
An aesthete of the sorrow of the world,
Champion of a harsh and sad philosophy
Thou hast used words to shutter out the Light
And called in Truth to vindicate a lie.
A lying reality is falsehood’s crown
And a perverted truth her richest gem.
O Death, thou speakest truth but truth that slays,
I answer to thee with the Truth that saves.
A traveller new-discovering himself,
One made of Matter’s world his starting-point,
He made of Nothingness his living-room
And Night a process of the eternal light
And death a spur towards immortality.

– Sri Aurobindo,

Canto III – The Debate of Love and Death. Page 621

photo: Tejvan, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries.

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