In fact, death is such a difficult thing to deal with because it leaves a void. That person is no longer here – he is not going to be seen in the future, all the way down to ‘eternity’. You are not going to see that same person in the same form. That is very disconcerting. All the way to the end; of time you are not going to see that person in that form again. It’s a void we cannot handle. Though that person is gone, the position of my being a son or daughter or spouse remains. That doesn’t go away. Even if he is your ex-husband, still, you are stuck being an ex-wife. That position doesn’t go away. Since the position remains, when the person because of whom you got that position is not there, naturally, all the omissions and commissions will rush to your head. As long as the person was there, you could settle accounts with him or her. Now, that person is not there to settle accounts with anymore. And therefore, your own omissions and commissions come to the surface. “Why did I do this?” “Why did I not do this?” It is called the affliction that comes after the fact and it is unavoidable. Here we ask, why I did not do the right thing, why I did do the wrong thing. This is what really makes a person sad. That sadness is deep because you cannot do anything about it – you are facing a void. Ultimately, that sadness is because you cannot accept a void.
Void is not acceptable because there is no void at all. There is no such thing as a void, as total non-existence. Even at the absence of a thing, or its non-existence, you are conscious of. That I don’t have a pot in my hand, that I have no horns on my head you are conscious of. When you appreciate that, the appreciation implies the presence of you, the presence of an existent conscious being. Therefore, total decimation doesn’t exist at all. Total absence, does not exist. Certain combinations, like a man with horns, also do not exist. A man exists, a horn exists, but the horn of a man does not exist. The man is there, and you are appreciative of the man at a given time, but at the same time, you are also appreciative of the fact that his horn does not exist. Similarly, in my hand there is no pot. My hand exists and the pot exists elsewhere, but on my palm, there is no pot. That absence implies presence, the presence of you, naturally.
No human being, self-conscious human being, can visualize and accept a future decimation. Therefore, there is a love to be. That love to be, YËgÕavalkya says, is because you love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, then why would you love to be? If you hated yourself, you would not love to be. But you do love to be. The love for son, wealth, etc., is all for the sake of the self. Wealth includes home, vehicle, etc., including the contents of the home, like your carpet, your Persian carpet. People have a great value for all these things.
I remember when I once went to meet a swami who was staying in a particular house in Madras. The house was facing east and had two floors, a ground floor and a first floor, or as you say in America, the second floor, where the swami was staying in one room. And there was a covered area where I and another person were waiting to meet the swami. He was in his room and we were waiting, sitting on a carpet—a nice carpet, perhaps a Persian carpet. As we were sitting, one of the employees of the house came and asked us to get up and sit on the chairs. We sat on the chairs. And he rolled up the carpet. I thought that he was taking it to be used for a better purpose, perhaps. But then, he rolled up the carpet and kept it there, right in our presence, in one corner and left. That’s a very interesting thing to me; so naturally, I was not going to keep quiet. The next time he came to where we were sitting, I asked him, “Why did you do this? Why did you just roll up this carpet and keep it in the corner?” He said, “Amma [the lady of the house] is down in the kitchen and asked me to please roll up the carpet and keep it in the corner.” I asked him, “Why?” “Because, now it’s eleven o’clock in the morning, and the sunlight will come and fall on it.” Remember we were in a covered but open area with no window, so the sun would fall straight on the carpet and the colour of the carpet would fade. Really! She is down in the kitchen. Her heart is where? Her heart is in the carpet. Not even in the carpet—in the colour of the carpet. This is how people live their lives—you don’t know where the heart is. It is all over—in all these antiques, in so many things there is a little bit of heart.