|Photo of Ashok Malhotra, 1986|
A few days ago I chanced upon an old photo of mine dating back to 1986. I was thirty six years old then and I shared it with my friends on Face-book. Many liked it and guessed that those must have been exciting times. Those were times when I traveled extensively around the world for practicing my profession and it was exciting, but I kind of like it more perhaps now when I am sixty three, retired, and life is peaceful with the joy of being a quiet and reclusive resident of our wondrous planet. I recall that I had sent a copy of this photo from abroad to my mother. She liked it so much she had put it up on a wall. My younger brother who is Lt. General in the Indian Army now, was jealous and asked her to pull it down. But she refused and had it on a wall of her home for as long as she lived. Soon after she left this world my brother pulled it down.
In an earlier post it was mentioned that I was improving my diet for improved health, a kindly friend suggested that I will have very long life. That is what many people wish for I think but that is not my ambition. However, I do hope and pray that the health will be good for the years I do have this time around and that when I go it will be quickly and peacefully without much travail and trouble as some have in their last years and months, especially those who try to hang on to dear life or prolong it through compromised medical procedures.
I am all for legalizing euthanasia for the troubled. I see absolutely no point in prolonging life for a person who is well over sixty and does not have any children or aged persons dependent on him or her. I shall explain presently why I chose sixty as the age here but first let me mention that I am a firm believer in reincarnation; therefore I do not see this life as the end of it all and rather look forward to new ones in younger bodies when one is more energetic and enthusiastic about everything that life has to offer. For those who are unsure if anything like reincarnation exists, I would suggest that they explore this belief system so that at least they shall not fear something that is inevitable for all, if they come around to accepting that belief.
I often study ancient and modern texts on spirituality. An ancient one by Patanjali a highly regarded ancient sage – Yoga Darshan (Introduction to Yoga) – is one of my favorites. His essential message is that it is the purpose of life for all humans to evolve and eventually liberate themselves from the cycle of births and deaths by achieving unity with the Universe. I am all for evolving but not quite yet ready for liberation because I would like to see more of life as an individual, some this time, and more in future lives. One of the methods suggested by Patanjali for evolution is through the knowledge of dreams and it is one of the practices I follow.
Last night in a dream I saw myself on a chariot guarded by a beloved divine personality. The chariot was on an elliptical track in a large stadium or arena. There were demons on foot with fierce weapons moving on the track too coming to attack the chariot repeatedly but the beloved guardian angel would destroy them with merely a look from his eyes with a red beam of light. At one point I got off the chariot and began moving ahead of it on foot and discovered two demons with fierce weapons, one behind and one ahead charging at me. I was struck with fear but then I called out to the guardian angel and he destroyed the angel between me and the chariot so that I could return to the safety of the chariot again. I see the dream as symbolic of our lives. One full circle of the track is a full lifetime and we keep returning to the starting point in a new birth. During our lives we face dangers as symbolized by the demons and are protected from grave dangers by the Lord. When the going is good we tend to forget the lord but remember Him as soon as danger strikes as the ancient saint Kabir said in his poetic couplet
In sorrow every one remembers the lord, in joy none
Should one remember in joy, why should sorrow come.
I had mentioned the age of sixty as a significant age because one may divide a lifetime of a hundred years in five equal parts as described in an earlier post too. The first twenty years are analogous to the morning of normal work day when one gets ready for work i.e. receives education and training for a job and also plays some in the free time. The next twenty years to age forty are like the morning pre-lunch working hours when one is most energetic. It is the time to raise a family and to exert most at work although the wage compensation may not be very high at this time for many. The age from forty to sixty is the like the work afternoon when one is a little less energetic yet manages to achieve considerable conclusion of the days work. This is also the age when one should prepare for the fourth phase of life after sixty by building a home and shelter for retirement and save some so that at least one’s basic needs shall not be a problem later. The age from sixty to eighty are like the evenings when one is tired out, low on energy – the evening of life, a time to relax even entertain and to review the meaning of things in quiet reflection. Beyond eighty is like the night, a time to sleep, early or late. One may even go to bed in late evening because as they say,
Early to sleep and early to rise makes Jack healthy, wealthy and wise.
I hope the Lord makes me emulate Jack besides the Ikarians whom I began to emulate as mentioned in my previous post. Perhaps that island shall be my place of birth in the next life. It does have a culture that is the average of my cultural experience of this life between the east and the west.