IN this self-help book on spiritualism, the author, who lives in Colorado, presents an inspirational tale that looks at death and dying as a spiritual adventure.
The protagonist is an old man, who leaves his ancestral home after the death of his wife and faces hardships while wandering over the country pathways and through small villages of northern India, before finding salvation.
As he travels from one place to another, though the noise, dust and pollution overwhelm him, he feels he is not getting enough of the sights, smells and sounds of his mother country. Even in the chaos, his eyes delight at the glimpse of “school children shining with promise as they slipped to school” or the village girls’ chatter as they carry their produce to market, while the serious businessmen wearing suits and black pants walk with “detached purpose through the noise, colour and dust of the crowds”.
On the way, the old man on seeing a maimed beggar or a holy man waiting for the will of God to provide, thinks to himself, ‘Isn’t that what we are all doing? Waiting for God, whether we know it or not. What do we know of the next day, or the next hour? We are helpless before what is to come.”
As seeker of God playing his part in the symphony of life, the old man harbours love for the people of his country and who seem to be part of his journey while viewing “the piquancy of infants, the impending passing of the elders, the illusions of the rich and the struggles of the poor, the temporary happiness of lovers and the sorrows of those who had suffered a loss.”
After some time, when the spires of a temple appear “through the misting sky”, he hears the surging crowd let out a communal cry. The old man sinks to his knees as he nears the temple, wondering how he has become a part of this living throng.
It is a very beautifully and touching narrative on how a man on reaching old age finds himself lonely and of no use to anyone in the house and longs for death, the Ultimate Truth.
(Akshaya Prakashan, 208 MG House, 2, Community Centre, Wazirpur Industrial Area, Delhi-110 052; www.akshayaprakashan.com)