Art of Dying Art of Dying_Volume III_joomag | Page 24

Feature 12 Life Lessons From A Man Who Has Seen 12,000 Deaths BY DEEPAK RAMOLA • PROJECT FUEL Rooted in the hearts of many Hindus is the belief that if you breathe your last in Kashi (Varanasi) you attain what is popularly known as ‘Kashi Labh’ or ‘the fruit of Kashi’— moksha or “release from the cycle of rebirth impelled by “Ask my estranged brother of 40 years to come see me. This bitterness makes my heart heavy. I am anxious to resolve every conflict.”  A letter was sent out. On the 16th day,his youngest the law of karma”. brother arrived. Mishr held his hand and asked to tear guesthouses in Varanasi where people check in to brothers wept. Mishr stopped speaking. His face became Kashi Labh Mukti Bhawan is one of the three die. Established in 1805, Mukti Bhawan is well-known throughout India. Bhairav Nath Shukla has been the manager of Mukti Bhawan for 44 years. He has seen both rich and poor take refuge in the guesthouse as they await death and hope to find peace. Shukla hopes with and for them. He sits in the courtyard, on a wooden bench against a red brick wall, and shares 12 recurring life lessons from the 12,000 deaths he has witnessed: 1. RESOLVE ALL CONFLICTS BEFORE YOU GO Shukla recounts the story of Shri Ram Sagar Mishr, a Sanskrit scholar. Mishr felt closest to down the wall. He asked his brother for forgiveness. Both calm. He was gone in a moment.  Shukla has seen this story replay in many forms over the years. “People carry so much baggage, unnecessarily, all through their life, only wanting to drop it at the very end of their journey. The trick lies not in not avoiding conflicts but in resolving them as soon as one can.” 2. SIMPLICITY IS THE TRUTH OF LIFE “People stop eating indulgent food when they know they are going to die. The understanding that dawns on many people in their final days is that they should have lived a simple life. They regret that the most,” says Shukla.  A simple life, he explains, can be attained by spending the youngest of his five brothers until after an less. We spend more to accumulate more and thus create a wall. having more.  ugly argument, they partitioned their house with In his final days, Mishr walked to Mukti Bhawan carrying his little paan case. He was sure he would pass away 16 days after his arrival. On the 14th day he said, 24 | ART OF DYING more need. To find contentment in less is the secret to 3. FILTER OUT PEOPLE’S BAD TRAITS Shukla maintains that every person has shades of good and bad. But instead of dismissing “bad” people outright,