Be at peace for a while and meditate on why most people believe in some religion. It is simply because they are sure on the cause and effect theory and that their deeds should be answerable in the after world. Everybody wants to assure their safety. A Christian looks for heaven and a Hindu yearns for moksha – I don’t know which is more comfortable. Same is the case with Muslims too, who ask for a place with all earthly comforts. One way or the other, everyone looks for eternal pleasure or freedom from the chains of karma.
For a devout Hindu, going to Kashi literally means leaving the material world and he/she is not likely to come back. So is Kashi… a very holy place. The freedom Kashi offers is beyond washing in the holy river Ganges. There are around 2000 temples in Varanasi, that’s Kashi. People believe that a death in Kashi is a bliss in every sense.
In Varanasi, there is a house called Mukti Bhavan exclusively for those who are at the verge of leaving. At a time only 12 persons are admitted there and that only for just 15 days. They promote no mercy killing or suicides of any kind. In case nothing happens to them within the specified time span, unless special permission is granted, they have to vacate the room. All facilities are there which includes a small temple and a priest to perform the last rites. Every year, many hundreds come there and many die too. Bhairavnath Shukla, who has been the warden there for long 44 years is said to have witnessed more than 12,000 deaths.
I saw a video done by one Deepak and it was an interview with Bhairavnath. Bhairavnath said that he has some unforgettable moments also for sharing. He shared an outstanding episode. The story says that there was a Sanskrit scholar called Ram Sagar Mishra. He was the eldest in the family, who kept a very intimate relationship with the youngest in the family. A small misunderstanding that crept in between some days, ended up in a life-long clash. Eventually, a wall was raised in between their houses. One day, this Mishra came to this Mukti Bhavan with his supari box, as he had reserved room no 3. He told them that his death is to happen on the 16th day.
On the fourteenth day, he said that he wants to meet his brother, whom he had not met for forty years. He also wanted to settle the quarrel for ever. The first thing he asked his brother was to remove the wall partition dividing their homes. With folded hands, he begged his young brother to pardon him for all wrongs he has done. They hugged each other and wept. In between, Mishra stopped talking. A heavenly peace descended over them… and in that speck of time Mishra attained mukti. He fell down dead.
Bhairavnath Shukla said, “Deepak, this is what happens with many thousands around. They run with loads of unwanted burden on their back. Many people wait to unload everything until their last hour.” After a pause Shukla continued, “Never go to sleep with any sort of differences with anyone.”
Deepak concludes this video saying that the good news is that you are still alive and the bad news is that we are not sure how long…
What I have understood from the words of Mukti Bhavan warden is that real mukti happens the moment we are released from all worldly ties and burdens.