Life and Death

Recently things at home have been a bit stressful as my daughter Charanjeet moves into a new stage ("talking" and SCREAMING! It’s a mixture of joy and pain!). Lately she has been doing this high pitched scream, much of the times as a result of her brother Narayan picking on her or doing something to her (not always Narayan’s fault though). It’s so challenging trying to discipline them and keep sanity. It’s definitely a different picture with two kids.

Earlier today at Gurdwara I was shocked with the news that two people I knew died. One of them was a Sikh youth who lived here in Espanola and another older Sikh from Norway. Their deaths were totally unrelated other than similar timing. It struck me hard as I sat there in Gurdwara already feeling bad from fighting off a sore throat. I knew both of them well, though they were not close friends that I interacted with very often. However, the suddenness of it and having someone you knew personally made it a shock…and I felt a sadness. During Ardas the sangat chanted long "Akaaaaal" five times in prayer to help their souls move on. I couldn’t get myself to chant it until that last time as I was feeling so emotional as tears rolled out of my eyes.

It’s always times like these when you have hardship, feel bad, or are in some low period that you remember that life is short and you never know when your time will be up. In the Siri Guru Granth Sahib there is so much written on this topic of how life is short and we waste the time caught up in Maya. There is a certain laziness that that always wants to take hold. It’s this feeling that "I’ll live forever"….and "I’ll do something tomorrow". In reality though, for most people tomorrow comes too late. It’s only when your life is over or ending that you wish you had done something differently. This is the case also for change (personal and social). Sometimes things have to get so bad that people WAKE UP and make a change. I guess most of us are motivated more by wanting to get away from pain (when you are in it)….than our interest to prevent pain.

So as I look at my life, the daily challenges with my own spiritual discipline, and raising my children, these deaths are a reminder to me of how short life is….and how suddenly death can knock at your door. I often ask myself the question…"If I were to die right now…would my mission/goal on this earth be done"? The answer for me always is "No"….since I feel like I have much still to do. However, I could die tomorrow….whether I am ready or not. So, this is another wakeup call for myself and hopefully you, to not delay. We may not all be able to live each day like it might be the last, but we can all do more than we are and take small steps to become better people, and work on developing that spiritual discipline and the connection inside each of us. You can’t tell when your life will end, but what you can do is make a conscious choice in how you live each day.

My love and prayers go to those friends who have moved on…..and to the families who are still here. May the Guru comfort them in this transition. 

6 Responses to “Life and Death”

  1. singhu says:

    True…Khalsa Jee i knew how you are feeling coz recently in our local sadsangat some gursikhs also passed away but it’s all under his hukam. Only naam (bani) will go with us after we die. May satguru con’t bless us chardikala jeevan and con’t uplift khalsa panth.


  2. Partap Singh says:

    Dear Gurumustuk Singh Ji,
    Although I’m an avid reader of your blog, I’ve not previously been motivated to post a comment. This one, however, got my attention.
    This year, I was divorced, and diagnosed with & treated for prostate cancer (the same disease from which Sardar Singh of Norway died the other day). Sometimes the meanings of Life/God are so subtle they are as the fragrance of single flower carried on a soft breeze, and at other times they are as a thunderbolt that directly strikes you. My current situation has fallen into the latter category and I can attest to the intensity of the wake-up call I’ve received.
    The good news is that such an experience re-focuses one spiritually. I awake each morning with a deep gratitude for being able to chant with the sangat and to enjoy the simple things of life. There is a delight in serving others that is hard to describe. Sometimes when I am doing my rehab, I sense the ghosts/spirits of my friends who have died in the past few years urging me on, to keep up as long as I am corporeal. Carpe Diem, indeed.
    One of the central themes of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib is precisely to treasure each breath as an opportunity to do simran, to meditate on God. However, it is so easy to get caught up in the vicissitudes of this human experience. Facing one’s mortality is a wonderful cure for previously being hamstrung by Maya. It is the Grace of God as we age.

    Sat Nam,


  3. Wahe Guru. When I heard the news of Deva Singh’s passing I was startled to say the least. Being only 23 and such a graceful and radiant young man I was very grateful to have been able to have spent some wonderful times with him in his last few days.

    Here was a young man who had turned his life around dramatically from substance abuse through Yoga, meditation and immersion in Wha-he Guru. He was like a beautiful flower. And I wanted to be sad but I started realising his blessing. He had been given the time to transform his life into a pure one. How many people can do this? He became a son of Guru Gobind Singh and a beautiful member of our Espanola Sadh Sangat. I know this because the last week of his life he worked with us at our home painting and helping us fix up the place.

    He was so bright and beautiful and we had some fun moments and I am happy that Akal Purkh showed him his own purity and grace and gave him some years to live as Khalsa and die as Khalsa. Rather than the many other possibilities that could have ocuured.

  4. amar says:

    Look Khalsa ji , this situation and time has bought so many good thoughts and concepts fore,within you and in general , about living a PURPOSEFUL life . GET WELL SOON KHALSA JI .

  5. Gurmastak Ji,

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

    Though, clearly pointed by Gurbani that- Marna(death) Sach(Truth), Jeevna Jhooth(False) but still we are so much engrossed in the vicious circle of maya that we knowingly deny this ultimate truth. Incidents like this when someone near/dear does Akal Chalana it reminds us of this……..”So din avan laaga, Mat Pita Bhai Sut Banita kaho koyu hai kaka”

    Thanks for reminding us through your touching post.

  6. Kelvin Singh Panesar says:

    I would like to thank Gurmastak Singh and all the bloggers for your help. I fell under the traps of Maya years ago and I’m working as hard as I can to come back to the Guru. It’s a very hard road but it gives me a peace that I have not felt in some time. The death of two of our brothers serves as a reminder why we must continue to serve and learn from the Guru. This will continue to remind me why it is important to press onward to become the Guru’s Sikh. Again, thank you for reminding us why it’s important to keep Waheguru on our minds constanly.

    Kelvin Singh