We came to this earth with cries, but while leaving we have to smile and express joy in our face.
“During our life time, if we are blessed to smile, that it self is a great achievement and how can we guarantee our smiling while we leave this earth, the time which is not under our control?” – That’s a genuine question.
We have the life of Swami Vivekananda that gives us the necessary guidance to prepare for ourselves for the joyful journey. All through his life, Swamiji tuned every event as preparation for his ultimate journey.
In the year 1898, Swami Vivekananda during his pilgrimage to Amarnath, had received a boon from Lord Shiva not to die until he himself should choose to do so.
Sri Ramakrishna had said about Narendranath that ‘when he realizes who and what he is, he will no longer remain in the body’.
Hence, as a village boy, who had never seen an aero plane on the earth and who had been told that he would be taken in an air travel next week, would eagerly await for the golden day of his air travel, so also Swamiji was waiting to take up his eternal flight to be boarded by him on July 4, 1902 the day which was chosen by himself. Here below are a few events on his last day of physical existence.
· On July 4, 1902 during his 2 hours morning meditation in the shrine of Ramakrishna, he had the doors and windows closed, while he was accustomed to meditate only in a well-ventilated room. Coming down from the shrine, he had a walk in the courtyard. While walking he spoke to himself in a half-audible tone: “If there were another Vivekananda, he would have understood what (this) Vivekananda has done! And yet,-how many Vivekanandas shall be born in time!”
· He had his noon lunch along with all, which was again quite unusual, since owing to his ill health he used to take his meals in his own room. On that day he ate full meal and remarked humorously,” two days before, owing to my fast for ekadasi on Wednesday, my hunger has greatly increased. I ate full meal but left the cups and plate (without eating them up) with great difficulty.”
· After a short rest, Swamiji took class on Sanskrit grammar to young brahmacharins for three hours and made the class so interesting that no one felt any monotony.
· During his evening walk along with Swami Premananda he expressed his desire of founding a Vedic college at Belur Math. Premananda asked him,”What, Swamiji, will be the good of studying the Vedas?” for which Swamiji replied, ”It will kill out superstitions”.
· In the evening after the prayers, he sat for meditation. After an hour’s meditation he called his attendant, lying down on his bed with the rosary in his hand. He asked him to fan his head. After another hour or so, his attendant noticed that Swamiji’s hand shook slightly; then he took two deep breaths; the gaze became fixed at the eye brows and the face lit up by an extra ordinary radiance and smile. His head rolled to one side and then all was silent. It was seen in the next morning that the eyes were bloodshot and that a little bleeding had occurred through the nostrils and mouth.
Lord Krishna says in the 8th chapter of Gita, “At the time of passing away whoever fixes his prana between his brows and meditates on the Ruler of the world, reaches the Supreme Truth.” Swamiji’s physical death is a yogic Samadhi as stated by Lord Krishna. Swamiji raised his coiled – up spiritual power and made it to pierce through the mystic centres in the spinal column and the head and thrown away the body like a worn-out-garment.
When one is attached to the body and his possessions, death is terrible, but to one who had disciplined his body, death has no threats or no secrets.
Normally, we relate death with sadness, inauspiciousness and fear.
But, it is quite possible to make the event filled with joy, auspiciousness, hope and strength.
God-men like Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda and others had thus shown the way to us.
It was Swamiji’s last message to the world – “Welcome the death calmly and boldly.” For Swamiji, death means just getting out of the physical body. As a spiritual force he continues to live and work with us and that is why he said, “I shall inspire men everywhere, until the world shall know that it is one with God.”
July 4th is thus a day of great joy, hope and strength to all followers of Swamiji. His Master chose to leave His mortal coils on 15th August in the year 1886, knowing well that after 61 years that India would get freedom from foreign rulers. And our Swamiji chose July 4, the day of America's Independence. Though these are occasions for rejoicing country's political freedom, these God-men have chosen to leave the physical frame thus symbolising that death is not a sad event but a step towards eternal freedom and bliss.
Let us prepare ourselves from now on to face that great moment filled with happiness, strength and absolute freedom.
nishthatmananda of muzaffarpur