I wanted to experience Cambodian countryside so I decided to take a bus from Phnom Penh to Siam Reap (Home of Angkor Wat temples). The city outskirts are still raw and basic with continuously changing landscape, not much affected by urbanization. The journey proved to be a refreshing experience for the soul!!
I met Mr Tan, a businessman from Malaysia whose seat was next to mine. He was also visiting Cambodia for the first time to do some sightseeing but mainly to explore new business opportunities. He was a Chinese Buddhist and must be in his 50s.
I was doing Japa meditation since it was an early morning bus. Some time later I opened Bhagavad Gita and immersed into it as the feeling of gratitude overtook me. What have I done to deserve this? To be fortunate enough to be in a strange, new land surrounded by people from different countries, all on their own journeys but still sharing a common bond!!
If I were to add one more word to the above list, it would be “satisfaction”; that too “Deep Satisfaction at Heart”. But these are usually not the emotions that one would experience in case of closest family member’s death.
I try to observe (or rather evaluate) every major event in life from both the angles: Material and Spiritual. I’m doing the same here i.e. in case of my father’s death. It is not a deliberate effort but something that comes naturally. A calling that makes me share this experience, to express what I feel.
It is my choice: I can be very upset, depressed or sad by sudden departure of my father. But instead I’m looking at this moment in light of Hope and as a result, I see the positives only. The death is inevitable, key is how one leaves this world. Easier to understand is the Material aspect.
Now that my father had arrived home, entire family was at peace. There is a huge difference between the atmosphere at home and of the hospital; anxiety and sadness rules ICU waiting area. The patient’s family, relatives and friends are usually confused, depressed and frustrated. On an average, few deaths a week seems to be a common routine.
Back home, I could see that my father had calmed down a bit. Though he was still unconscious (to a certain degree), his body and the subtle consciousness seemed to have reacted favorably to homely atmosphere. Now we could prepare his meals that were first offered to the Lord in a prayerful mood. I knew this might be my last chance to serve and take care of my father. Rest of the family felt same and all of us gave our best.
My father had been in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for last two days. We met doctors the same morning that we arrived in India. The timing was perfect as they had enough time to review my father’s case during this period.
He was brain dead, half side paralyzed, his heart was working at about 15% of its capacity and he was put on ventilator. The doctor briefed on his condition: there is no chance for his survival, it is just matter of time.
But the family wanted to wait, to see if a miracle can improve his health.
Steve Jobs used this term in his 2005 Stanford commencement address. It is worth reading. If you haven’t, please do so. Here’s the link.
He says “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Instead of “…Life, Karma, whatever”, I call it “Lord’s hand in everything”. I’m sure all of us have observed this phenomenon in our lives. Though at times, it becomes very difficult to believe in it especially when we face adversity and there doesn’t seem to be any hope.
I can recall many incidents related to this phenomenon ever since my elementary school years. Here is the most recent one.
Fall season was around the corner and it was time to visit Europe again. It is my most favorite time of the year as Summer crowds are gone and weather is just perfect..60-80 (F) degrees. I spent about a month planning this trip. It had to be a different place, different culture that we haven’t had experienced yet. The final itinerary looked like this: spend two weeks in Rome, Florence, Venice and one week in Istanbul.
The trip was going great, no flight delays or unexpected travel hassles. Every day was a beautiful sunny day in Rome. To make the most of our vacation, we don’t carry a phone while traveling international and limited internet access is good enough for us.