I was talking to my mother the other day about the concept of ‘death and beyond’.
An incident flashed in front of her eyes. She told me she witnessed someone having a Near Death Experience kind of episode when she was young. I was awestruck when she said NDE.
I have never heard her talking about her biji before. Biji was my mother’s maternal grandmothers’ mother, basically my great great grandmother. Biji was 103 years old at her time of death. She was a religious worshipper her entire life-- a person full of virtues, morale, and wisdom.
It was the summer of 1993 when my mother visited her grandmother’s house for a vacation.
One afternoon, her grandmother received a phone call saying that her mother has been still in bed with her eyes closed for the last two days. She did not even wake up to eat, they said. My great grandmother took my mother along to biji’s house. They realized that her pulse was so slow that it was as good as none. The doctor said that she was taking her last breaths-- "At any point from now, you can hear the news. I suggest you prepare for her death ceremony."
With great sorrow they lit the Diya, spread a white sheet on the floor, and just before they were about to put her down, she whispered “My time hasn’t come! Abhi mera jaap baki hai.”
(Translation: I still haven't said my prayers.)
Everyone left the room. They watched her from a distance in case she needed any assistance. Biji completed her chants, she stood up to take a bath and fell into a deep sleep.
She rested in peace exactly after 29 hours. It was as if she knew that she was given a couple of hours to complete what was left to do in this life, and that those would be the last.
art: ira welankar