Death & the Hereafter

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

Those huge masses of ice, which we know as ice­bergs, found float­ing in the seas of the North and South Poles are amongst the most de­cep­tive and, there­fore, most dan­ger­ous phe­nom­ena of na­ture. Their de­cep­tive­ness lies in the fact that no mat­ter how huge or won­der­ful in con­fig­u­ra­tion, what we see of them amounts to only a tenth of their enor­mous bulk.

What lies be­low the sur­face of the ocean, spread­ing far and be­yond the vis­i­ble perime­ter, poses tremen­dous haz­ards to the un­wary. In some ways, our lives are sim­i­lar to those float­ing moun­tains of ice. The part we spend in this world — about a hun­dred years or less — is like the part of the ice­berg that is vis­i­ble above the sur­face. We can see it, touch it and feel it. We can take its mea­sure and deal with it ef­fec­tively.

But the part that comes af­ter death is like the sub­merged one: vast, un­fath­omable and fraught with peril. It de­fies the imag­i­na­tion but must nev­er­the­less be un­der­stood, for that is the part of hu­man life that God has de­creed should be eter­nal and, as such, in­eluctable.

We are fa­mil­iar with the facts of our ori­gin and the course that life takes from womb un­til death. But at the end of our life­span, whether it ter­mi­nates in youth or in old age, our fa­mil­iar­ity with the na­ture of things comes to an end. It has been sur­mised that death means to­tal and fi­nal an­ni­hi­la­tion. But this is not so. Death is sim­ply a means of con­sign­ing us to a new womb, to the womb of the uni­verse it­self. From that point, we are ush­ered into an­other world: the Hereafter.

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