When a God-realised person meets with death

Lahiri Mahashoy had two sons, Tinkori and Dukori, and three daughters. The middle daughter, Harikamini, was eighteen years old. She had been married at the age of sixteen to a very wealthy man. She was visiting her parents' house and she happened to develop cholera. Her case was very, very serious.

Lahiri Mahashoy's wife begged her husband to cure his daughter. So Lahiri Mahashoy gave his wife some mustard oil, chilli powder and a few other things. He told her that if she gave these to Harikamini, she would be cured.

Alas, the wife had no faith in her husband's 'medicine'. She said to herself, "If anything happens to my daughter after giving her this kind of silly thing, then her husband and his family will blame us. My son-in-law is so rich. What will he say when he hears that we gave her mustard oil?"

So the wife did not give her daughter Lahiri Mahashoy's medicine. She called in a real doctor, but to no avail. On the following day, Harikamini passed away. The mother and a few relatives were upstairs with the daughter's body and on the ground floor Lahiri Mahashoy was giving a discourse on the Bhagavad Gita. He had a few disciples by that time.

Lahiri Mahashoy was going on expounding the Gita and his students could hear Lahiri Mahashoy's wife and relatives crying and crying so pitifully upstairs. Finally, his students said to him, "Can we not stop, at least for today?"

Lahiri Mahashoy said, "No, we do not have to stop. Why should we stop? They are lamenting. They are doing their job. We are here praying and studying the Bhagavad Gita. We should do our job."

But his students continued to plead with him and finally Lahiri Mahashoy stopped his lesson.

Lahiri Mahashoy's brother-in-law noticed that Lahiri Mahashoy appeared to be very stone-hearted. His precious daughter had died at the tender age of eighteen, but the Master did not show any signs of grief. So this brother-in-law asked Lahiri Mahashoy, "What is the difference between a God-realised person and an ordinary person when they meet with death?"

Lahiri Mahashoy replied, "It is very simple. You know that when a ball strikes the ground, the ball comes back to you. It bounces and comes back. When somebody dies, because of his attachment to that person, an ordinary person's suffering increases and increases. Like a ball, it comes back to him again and again. But, for a God-realised person, death is not like that. A God-realised person does not have worldly attachments. You can say that for us, the ground is very, very soft — like water or clay or mud. So when we throw the ball, it gets stuck. You suffer for a very long time when somebody dies in your family. In my case, as soon as my daughter died, just for a fleeting moment I suffered and then it did not come back. It was not the way an ordinary person suffers for a very long time; it was only for a very short time. The ball entered the ground and it got stuck. So this is the difference between a spiritual person and an ordinary person."

Spiritual commentary

Without the sanction or tolerance of the Supreme, no human being can die. So if we have faith in the Supreme, if we have love and devotion for the Supreme, we will feel that the Supreme is infinitely more compassionate than any human being, infinitely more compassionate than we who want to keep our dear ones. Even if the dying person is our daughter, or our mother or father, we have to know that she is infinitely dearer to the Supreme than she is to us. The Supreme is our Father and our Mother. If one member of the family goes to the Father and Mother, the other members of the family will never feel sad.