Sometimes, reflecting on Life’s true nature, from inspirations around us, can help. Yesterday I was grappling with an imponderable. I was totally clueless on how I was going to be able to handle the situation on hand. And so, as I often do, I decided to go on a long walk.
I had to drive a short distance to beat the maddening crowds and traffic, before I could get down from the car and walk. A famous song playing on a FM station caught my attention and got me thinking during my drive….It was from the Tamizh movie ‘Paada Kaanikkai’ (1962, K.Shankar, starring Gemini Ganesan, Savithri and Asokan). The song was the unforgettable and haunting number….‘Veedu Varai Uravu, Veedhi Varai Manaivi, Kaadu Varai Pillai, Kadaisi Varai Yaaro…Kadaisi Varai Yaaro….?’ Written by the legendary poet Kannadasan, and sung by the venerable T.M.Soundarajan, with music composed by the genius duo of Viswanathan-Ramamurthy, the lyrics mean: “(When you die)…all relationships end at home…the wife (or husband) accompanies the body to the street (according to most Hindu customs, women must not accompany the dead to the cremation or burial grounds)…the son accompanies the body (until he sets it afire or buries it – again per most Hindu customs the oldest son of the bereaved only can perform the last rites) to the cremation or burial ground…but not beyond…so, wonder, who is with you, the dead one, on your journey onward and till the end (that no one has seen)….” The song is a stark reminder of the impermanence of Life. It tells you coldly that you too will perish. That you will be dust soon. That all relationships, including that with your spouse or offspring end, at best, at the graveyard, and you have to journey along…depart alone…just the way you arrived here on this planet!
When you put your Life in the context of such irrefutable truth, the reality awakens you. It makes you step aside from any situation and analyze, with complete objectivity, the frivolity of all your worrying. Because, as the song points out, in the end, you are to go away with nothing – none of what you conquered goes with you, none of what you lost matters and none of what you aspired for is relevant anymore! So, why agonize? Why grieve? Why suffer?
As I walked for over an hour, the song’s essence and my reflections, healed me. I was still clueless about dealing with what I was faced with. But even the wee bit of anxiety that had surfaced, before the walk, had evaporated now. Thanks to Kannadasan’s wisdom seeping in, it was replaced by a benign calm. There was an unconditional acceptance by me that, in the end, nothing, not even an entire lifetime, will matter to you!