Imagine a hale and hearty person having a fun time with friends and family - the last thing on anyone's mind is death. But suddenly he is gone. His heart stopped beating. What happened to this person? He was here and now he is gone. That is all the one's left behind know. His wife, children, grand children, relatives and friends are left wondering how and why this happened and how life is going to be from this moment forward. At first there will be much to do to deal with the formalities but then there will be this void that will pronounce his absence with a lot more force. With time we will all adjust to one less person in our midst and cope with the loss - each in our own way. All of this I understand. I have seen it happen and have dealt with it first hand in the past and will deal with it again. The question that I am confronted with this time is - where did this angel of a man go? He was my uncle - my father's brother. I had the privilege of spending some great times with him as a teenager. His presence always brought a lot of joy. He had an infectious smile and a laugh that shook his whole body. In his presence one had to feel loved.
Over the last little while I have realized the place of Oneness in my life. I feel the presence of my father in my life even though he passed away almost 35 years ago. I feel him not in the sense of missing him but more as the impact his presence in the worldly body made on my life. The impact was not made by his physical presence though - it was something deeper and more subtle. This presence never leaves us. That is the importance of this worldly living to me. That is why service towards others is so important. That is why being kind and compassionate and caring is paramount while we are living. I have always wondered why people talk so highly of people who have passed on even if they had not done so while they were living. I understand now that souls touch only at the level of virtue. Egos are indiscriminate. When the physical presence is gone all that is left is the presence of the virtuous soul and it is impossible for the ego to feel any fear from this person and it conveniently forgets the negatives. When we project the virtuous soul into the world when we are living we become love, incapable of causing fear for others or for ourselves. That is how we overpower ego and let spirit rule our life.
Death is the absence of the soul from the body that it had taken on to enjoy the experience of worldly life. Death is the continuation of life without the form. Death comes when we no longer need the body to express the virtues of the soul. Death is an awakening that is supremely blissful. If we open ourselves to the Presence then we do not suffer the pain of absence. The soul is peace personified and so I refrain from saying rest in peace. My eyes may miss his smile, my ears may yearn to hear him laugh but I will always feel his presence for he has always been in touch with my soul and will continue to do so. His love will stay on with me as it will with all those who knew my Shankar Kaka.