Prepare for old age or else...
There are various ways to connect with God: Meditation, reading scriptures, preaching, and writing on spiritual topics, writes AJIT KUMAR BISHNOI
Why am I am sounding this warning? Because there are a few choices which a modern person makes or is forced to go with and all of them have some fault or other associated with them.
See for yourself. Let me begin with the best of the lot in the eyes of the most, i.e. to remain useful till the very end of one’s life. This compels doctors, lawyers, accountants, business people, etc. to keep going. However, this is not as simple, as it appears, to achieve. Ageing has its own drawbacks and some of them can be quite severe. Some disease or other raises its ugly head, and if the ailment is a major one, then, remaining useful becomes a real challenge. I agree that some do manage but only a small percentage is that lucky. Do you realise how much attention has to be paid to health in order to retain health as the old age advances? It is a lot. How many are that disciplined and lucky?
The next group is of people who live in joint families. This is nice but its challenges are no less daunting. The only person, who is willing to give company, is the spouse. Grandchildren will only be attracted when they are small kids. Later they get too busy with their studies, etc. Children are already too busy. Wives also prefer company of their children, especially if they are living in nuclear families elsewhere. This leaves the man quite alone.
The third group consists of people who are left by themselves with the passing away of the spouse; the rest of the family having moved away much earlier. And loneliness hurts because human beings are essentially social animals. Now a new system has come into vogue, i.e. of old age homes, where one can find people of similar age. This is nice except it costs money to obtain this facility and essentially it is passing time till the end.
The last two groups are the worst affected. Stricken with a major disease and bedridden, one becomes a liability to family members, who after the initial enthusiasm begin to leave the person mostly alone in the company of servants, if they could be afforded. And the last group is worst placed; these are admitted to ICUs and left to die there if the family can afford it. This is catching up in India fast.
I am sure you will not want to be in any of the above situations barring being useful till the end, which is a long shot. Then, what should one do?
For that, we go to the old times. People beyond the age of 75 were supposed to leave home and go to the forest for doing ‘tapasya’ (austerities) as per ‘varnashram dharma’. They took ‘sannyasa’. This is not practical anymore, therefore, now a new system has evolved in India, whereby some people settle in dhams. This is very good as they enjoy the spiritual potency of places like Rishikesh. However, this is ‘kaliyuga’ and even dhams are not immune from blatant commercialisation, whereby sense pleasures in plenty are on offer in these places also, which are hard to ignore.
Then, what should a spiritually inclined person do in his or her old age? The answer has been provided by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita verse #5.21, wherein he guides, “A person, having consciousness unattached to external sense objects, enjoys that happiness within, (which is extraordinary). He, having consciousness linked to the Brahman, experiences eternal bliss.”
Now that we know what to do, there are number of ways to link with Brahman (God) in our homes itself. Meditation is the most common and popular method these days. Then, there are other processes like studying of scriptures, preaching, writing on spiritual topics, hearing spiritual discourses, worshipping God, chanting mantras, discussing about spiritual matters with like-minded people, etc. Choices are many; we can pick as per our inclination, suitability, etc.
God is and can be the only shelter, especially in old age. All the other avenues are either passing time, painful or degrading. By God’s mercy, one can have enormous mental peace and unlimited happiness irrespective of the condition of the body. Modern saints have shown this by example.
Bishnoi is a spiritual writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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