Human life is the most precious thing in this universe. Also, it is so complex that many have been studying its various facets since time immemorial. There is an ocean of wisdom dealing with human life but still there is very little known about it. Perception about human life differs from person to person and they live according to their individual perception. In a way, this makes the world a beautiful place to live in by the sheer variety of human beings. A truly wise person accepts this variety with equanimity and considers it as a part of the evolution process.
One interesting aspect of life which is usually debated is ‘what happens after death’. Hindu philosophy believes in the theory of rebirth while there are some which do not believe in rebirth. I am not going into the merits of such a belief or disbelief but am touching upon an allied aspect of this. Recently I read a book called Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf, a very interesting book written by a young professor of English in Andhra Pradesh. The book consists of letters written by the author to his loved ones on different occasions. Each letter is full of wisdom and indicates the spiritual depth of the author. In one of the letters, the question of life after death has been raised. The author has said nothing about his belief in this matter but has seen the issue from a totally different viewpoint. I greatly appreciated his approach and am sharing it here. The author mentions that many people ask him the question, “Is there life after death?” and instead of giving any reply, he poses a counter-question, “Is there life before death?” Now the significance of such a response is to be understood carefully. The issue here is which of the two, ‘life after death’ or ‘life before death’, is more important. Naturally, the answer would be that ‘life before death’ is more important and we should first live it well before we think of ‘life after death’. The intention is not to curb the tendency to question but to give a positive message about the life we already have.
In today’s world, most of us are not living even in our present lives. We waste time on trivials without caring about the precious nature of life. For such persons, the question of whether there is life after death is meaningless because they are dead even in their lives before death. The relevant question, therefore, is how to live before death. And if we really live well before death, perhaps, there will be no life after death. Thus, in both the situations, the question ‘Is there life after death?’ becomes irrelevant. The only relevant question is whether our ‘Life before Death’ is ‘living’ in the true sense as morally and spiritually enriched human beings, well on the way to the goal of self-realisation and harmony with oneself, other people and the universe.