Monday, May 7, 2012

Inevitability of Death and Hindu Mythology

Death, the word brings fear to many, ease to some with terminal illness, and lack of time to the under acheived. Though humans evolved 200,000 years ago we still don't have any solid idea about what happens after death and why it happens. People in all  parts of the world has tried to crack the mystery of what lies beyond that. People from time immemorial has tried to stop the phenomenon of death.

Ayurveda traditional medicine native to India, claims to have a  treatment called Kayakalpa ( meaning: body rejuvenation). It is said that by purification of the body, the old is rejuvenated to young. The practice is continued even today. ( the news of kayakalpa treatment carried out is heard even to this day).

It is very interesting to read stories from Hindu mythology about people who tried to overcome death.
 One such story is of Hiranyakashipu, an Asura ( meaning for easy understanding : A Demon). He prayed to God ( Penance). The Lord Brahma (one of the three main Gods) became happy with his penance and granted him a boon. Hiranyakashipu asked him something close immortality as immortality cannot be asked as a boon directly.
 He asked for a boon that he should not be killed by a  human, not an animal, not during the day, not at night , not inside the house ,not outside, not on earth,not on the sky, not by a living or non living thing. The boon was granted.
Hiranyakashipu became overconfident and started doing bad deeds on a large scale.
Lord Vishnu (one of the three main Gods) had to act. He took the form of Narasimha ( Nara- Human, Simha- Lion). Not a human, not an animal, he took him to the threshold of a courtyard( not inside , not outside the house), placed him on his thigh ( not on earth, not on the sky), and killed him with his nails ( as nails cant be said for sure as a living or non living weapon) at twilight ( not during the day, not at night). So death is certain how hard the conditions laid against it.

Another story is the death of Lord Krishna ( One of the incarnates of Lord Vishnu). In puranas it is seen that sages are given  much importance , even by the kings or incarnations of God .
One such sage was Durvasa. He demands lord Krishna to smear  Krishna's body with his leftover food (Kheer/Payasam a sweet dish). Krishna obeys , that he becomes pleased and grants him boon that Krishna will not be harmed at any of the places which was smeared with the dish. Unfortunately his leg was not smeared. ( Krishna gave respect to that food without touching with his feet).
His leg became his weak spot (Like Achilles heel in Greek Mythology). Death happens to Krishna by an arrow which strikes his foot. The arrow was from the metal recovered from the mouth of a fish. It was the last part of the cursed  Iron pounding pestal, which was powdered to save the people from the curse. The lst part was flung to the ocean. A fish ate thinking it as food and the fish was caught and was bought by the blacksmith. The last piece of the pestal became the fatal arrow that killed Krishna.

Its interesting to see how it strikes, no matter how hard people to try to escape from it.
There is no escape, end is always sorrow at least to near ones,but lets hope that the path tread be a good one.